Chicago, “Hope for Love” from Chicago X (1976): Saturdays in the Park

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When Chicago’s Columbia albums were remastered by Rhino Records about a decade ago, most of the re-issues included unfinished demos as bonus tracks for their fans to enjoy (or not). Unfortunately, “Hope for Love,” the last song from 1976’s Chicago X, is a finished product from the original LP that sounds like one of those demos: It doesn’t feel as if a lot of work went into Terry Kath’s sad ballad about a man looking for love.

The bland arrangement is dominated by Robert Lamm’s piano, Kath’s acoustic guitar, and the rhythm section; the composer’s plaintive vocal is the only attribute of the song worthy of honorable mention.

Kath showed a smidgen of lyrical effort early in the song: “Here I go again. Why does the ghost of love still haunt me? It’s all been cried about before.” However, the track appears unfinished, because of a repetitive mid-section that makes the listener believe Terry Kath was either victimized by writer’s block or was just plain lazy. The lines “I don’t know, no I don’t; don’t I know, no I don’t, I don’t know” were perhaps the worst lyrics ever written by a member of Chicago – until Lee Loughnane came up with “America” for 2014’s Now: XXXVI.

As with most of the tracks on this underserved set, “Hope For Love” had potential but the group never applied any of the details or the devotion their marvelous pre-Caribou records received. Their hunger was gone.

It’s hard to believe Chicago X was rewarded with a Grammy nomination for album of the year. That was another nail in the coffin of the awards show I have the least respect for.

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

Charlie Ricci

Charlie Ricci

Charlie Ricci maintains Bloggerhythms, where he talks about music, concerts, and a wide range of other musical topics. In August 2008, his site placed at No. 87 on a list of the Top 100 music-related blogs according to Alexa, a web ranking service. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
Charlie Ricci
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