by Kristin Battestella
I’m not totally sure, but Life in a Tin Can must be the shortest Bee Gees album! With only 8 songs, this 1972 quickly forgotten release has little material to digest. Along with the unreleased follow up A Kick in the Head is Worth Eight in the Pants, Life is considered to be one chunk of not so good Gibb Material.
Saw a New Morning begins traditionally enough. The vocals and music are similar to To Whom it May Concern, but what are they talking about here? Is it a bar fight gone bad? A Jailbreak? Somehow a woman in involved? Maybe its just me, but singing along to silly lyrics that make no sense is always a plus ;0) Besides, the harmony is superb.
I Don’t Wanna Be The One starts off slow and with a Trafalgar feel. You’ll notice I’ve referred to two previous albums already. If any of these songs were mixed in with other albums maybe they wouldn’t seem as bad. However, a lot of things here seem a bit of a rehash. I like I Don’t Wanna Be The One though. It has that churchy gospel feel packed into a booming harmony chorus. The Harmony on Life is great as always, so again I mention the necessity of Maurice, even though he is without a lead vocal again.
South Dakota Morning is a bit of the same again. Even the titles are running together a bit. Didn’t we just see a new morning? And the next song takes place in Chicago? A nice little ditty- to go to sleep to. Living in Chicago is another head scratcher for me. Are they talking about being crazy? That where you live is just a state of mind? The harmony and trade off between Barry and Robin are great, but the story doesn’t make much sense, or not enough sense to stick with it. Especially for more than five minutes. This one goes on too long for me.
Wispy Barry starts off While I Play slowly. At first you almost sigh as if to say, how many slow songs can they do here? But the song picks up quickly. It’s touch of outback twang changes the pace and turns this into a sweet listen. Although I still have no clue what they are talking about.
Everything here is slightly different, but My Life Has Been a Song contains the same slow singer songwriter blah as the rest of Life. The echoes here are a bit much, and yet they still get stuck in my head! Maybe this is why the boys called the next album Kick, because you just want them to kick it up a notch! Just a notch! Please?
Come Home Johnny Bridie even has a confusing title. Sometimes the Bridie is listed as Birdie, I think. I’m not sure exactly what this story here is about either, but the chorus is such an up beat refresher on this album. It’s a nice twist to have the ‘bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks who is really good’ song be upbeat. This one sounds like a really good piece of country music.
Method to My Madness is the best track here. The other songs kind of have odd stories and great vocals, but the music is very mellow and sleepy. Madness however, has the booming music needed to keep the lyrics and voices interesting. The competition between Robin and the music here sounds like madness, but I guess there really is a method going. It worked for this song!
Life in A Tin Can was not a critical success, or a fan success for that matter. Perhaps everyone involved grew tired of the changing mellow and experiment styles the Brothers found themselves in. After Kick was deemed unrelease-able, the boys kicked things up and began the slow return to stardom with Mr. Natural and Main Course. Is Life in A Tin Can a good album? Probably not. Was it meant to be good? Probably not. The discovery of falsetto was just destiny! ;0)