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Thursday, September 3, 2009

10cc: Ten Out Of 10

10CC: TEN OUT OF 10 (1981)

1) Don't Ask; 2) Overdraft In Overdrive; 3) Don't Turn Me Away; 4) Memories; 5) Notell Hotel; 6) Les Nouveaux Riches; 7) Action Man In Motown Suit; 8) Listen With Your Eyes; 9) Lying Here With You; 10) Survivor.

The band was once again "stripped down" for this release, with Gouldman and Stewart exclusive­ly sharing all the songwriting and most of the playing credits (for the American release, several songs were replaced by collaborations with American singer-songwriter Andrew Gold). However, essentially this is just a bit of trivia: in spirit, there is no significant difference between this record and the few ones before.

Except for the sad fact that there is no spirit whatsoever on Ten Out Of 10. In fact, it may be the first 10cc record that has absolutely no reason for existing; I do not have the vaguest idea of the kind of serious music listener who could be satisfied with it. It's just a bunch of mid-tempo, mid-volume, mid-relevance, mid-everything mid-pop songs written by two mid-aged gentlemen that seem to be but mid-knowing what they're mid-doing. Someone like Paul McCartney could proba­bly allow himself to get away with it from time to time; but, after all, Paul's gift for melody has always been more generous than Gouldman's, and Paul's vocals have always been lovelier than Eric Stewart's (a debatable opinion, that, but I'd probably be supported by the masses here), and even then Paul did not always get away with it — and it is hardly a coincidence that Paul's least satisfying record, Press To Play, was but a matter of several years away from 1981, and would be representing the pitiful results of his collaboration with none other than Eric...

...but I digress. Although, frankly, I'd rather digress a while than speak about these songs. As usu­al, they fall strictly into two genres: sappy ballads, only saved from the ultimate depth of fall by slightly above average lyrics, and limp pop rockers that crumble into reggae every now and then, as if that still mattered in 1981. 'Don't Turn Me Away' stands out as an okay representative of the former, and the biting, but toothless social critique 'Les Nouveaux Riches' stands out as an okay representative of the latter; both were singles, and both deservedly flopped — of course, they didn't flop because they were bad songs, but rather because they sounded so miserably outdated against the background of 1981's hit material, regardless of quality.

I have encountered several critical opinions on the record stating that it was really a creative re­bound for the band or even a true "return to form" after Look Hear? I have no idea what that meant, and I have no idea how or why in between two really weak records they could have mana­ged to place a true artistic winner. My feelings and thoughts on Ten Out Of 10 are in full agree­ment with each other: it's just one more step down the ladder from two guys who continue to go on making music because it's their professional duty and for few, if any, other reasons. And if the album title is indeed a shameless psychological trick (after all, if you simply state that something is good, there'll always be someone who'll believe it without questioning), it's just one more rea­son to hand this a certified thumbs down resolution.


  1. UUUGGGHHHH! Why the heck am I still listening to this "band"? What am I gaining? NEGATIVE TIME, OF COURSE!
    "Don't Ask" is moderately cool. Funky. Catchy. Whatever. "Don't Turn Me Away" sounds just like Paul McCartney times Styx divided by good. "Memories" is just bad bad bad- even though the "We didn't care what the future would bring, we didn't want to know" is SUPPOSED to bring tears to your eyes (and it does, but for the WRONG REASONS) it's cut down once again by the really stupid ska chorus with that dorky idiotic synth and it just makes me sad. "Notell Hotel" is lyrically interesting (the only track on the album that is; it's sort of a cross between "Hotel Hell" and "Psycho") but the groove it's based on is this sort of really slow reggaeish thing that's stupid. "Les Nouveaux Riches" is one of those songs that would make anyone turn and go "What is this CRAP?!" because it's so stupid. (I realize that my use of the word "stupid" is increasing. Hmm.) "Lying Here With You" did not have to be so bad- get some different lyrics (preferably actual SAD ones), a different singer (Paul McCartney, or Elton John himself), and cut out the freakin' strings section. AAACK! "Survivor" is decent, but they still need a different singer.
    Why am I even commenting on this? Why do I comment at all? I guess I just want to express myself. But seriously, though, this album DOES NOT MATTER. It. Does. Not. Matter. At. All.

  2. Exactly when was it when they became completely serious? On Look Hear there was actually a bit of humor/weirdness left, but what happened in translation?