Chicago, “It Better End Soon” from Chicago II (1970): Saturdays in the Park

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Politically speaking no one would ever mistake my politics with Robert Lamm’s. That being said, Chicago’s more topical material happens to be some of my favorite from their extensive catalog. As a student of history, I appreciate their more political work and see it more as musical chronicles of historical moments in time.

“It Better End Soon” is a musically brilliant chronicle of the anti-Vietnam sentiment of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Anchored by a tight rhythm featuring some of Peter Cetera’s best bass playing of his entire Chicago tenure and Danny Seraphine’s tight drumming, the song chugs along with a slow build to an intense crescendo after giving Walt Parazaider a chance to show his chops on the flute (the live version from Live at Carnegie Hall features Walt’s best flute solo EVER bar none, but I digress) and also gives Terry Kath an opportunity to soulfully preach.

While the version on Chicago II is exceptional and thoroughly enjoyable, the aforementioned live version of “It Better End Soon” from Live at Carnegie Hall kicks it up several notches. Walt’s flute solo borrows from “Dixie” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”; it’s majestic and sweeping in scope. As such, I consider this version from Chicago II to be the foundation. When performed live, “It Better End Soon” was on a completely different level than the studio version.

It’s unfortunate that as the years wore on, the political material grew more sparse as I believe it’s where Chicago truly excelled. The lyrics made grand statements and the music captured some of the prevailing moods of the times. Perhaps what makes Chicago’s topical fare a bit more enjoyable/accessible than similar material by other artists/musicians is that even when it’s being preachy, it doesn’t feel like it’s being preachy.

It doesn’t hurt that musically some of their most political material, “It Better End Soon” included, is extremely catchy and listenable. So, even though I might not always agree with the politics of Chicago’s lyrics, I find myself saying to myself, “This is pretty damn catchy!”

‘Saturdays in the Park’ is a multi-writer, song-by-song examination of the music of Chicago. Find it here on Something Else! each Saturday.

Perplexio

Perplexio

Perplexio also maintains a stand-alone blog called The Review Revue, where he explores music, movies and books. He spearheaded 'Saturdays in the Park,' our weekly multi-writer, song-by-song series focused on the music of Chicago. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Perplexio
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