Bay City Rollers-It's A Game


By 1977, the Bay City Rollers had been playing the teen idol game for most of the decade. The group's members were understandably itching to break out of their teeny-bopper pop straightjacket and attempted to make such a change on It's a Game. Sadly, the group lacked the clout to make a full stylistic turnaround, so this album, half-penned by outside writers, represents an uneasy compromise between their classic pop/rock sound and the more AOR-oriented music they aspired to make. The most notable example of this stylistic schizophrenia is their cover of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel," which goes for a steamy rock & roll sound with its squealing guitar solos and psychedelic backup vocals but cleans up the lyrics to make them palatable for the group's predominately teen audience. "Love Fever" goes for a similarly adult rock atmosphere, but is undermined by bland lyrics and a snarling Les McKeown vocal that overpowers the song. A more successful attempt at AOR is "Dance, Dance, Dance," a song that sets a surprisingly sophisticated lyric about a romance gone bad against a carefully orchestrated disco backdrop. The album's strongest tracks are the ones that became its hits: "The Way I Feel Tonight" is a lush ballad that benefits from a rich string arrangement and one of Les McKeown's most heartfelt vocal performances while "You Made Me Believe in Magic" is a disco-inflected pop song that became the band's last big American chart success. Overall, It's a Game is too diffuse and uneven for casual listeners, but hardcore Bay City Rollers fans will no doubt find it to be an intriguing listen.
AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco
Date Added: 12/25/2019 by R.
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