Straight Up (Remastered)
Badfinger’s third album, from 1971, is one of the greatest in rock ’n’ roll. It’s a tragic anomaly that two band members later committed suicide, and subtle sadness permeates much of the band’s songwriting here. There’s a kind of dark beauty in even the brightest and sweetest songs (especially on “Baby Blue,” “Take It All," and “Money”). The outright ballads (like the soaring “Name of the Game”) are, therefore, real tearjerkers. That said, not everything here is mopey greatness: “I’ll Be the One” and “I’d Die Babe” are classic English R&B workouts with Lennonesque vocals, while the mostly acoustic “Sweet Tuesday Morning” is a bittersweet and reassuring song about renewal. The perfected arrangements and balanced production belie the fact that this album was haphazardly recorded. An early version of Straight Up was produced by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick and rejected by the band’s label (The Beatles’ own Apple Records), so George Harrison stepped in (his slide on the lovely “Day After Day” is simply majestic). Harrison soon left for other obligations, and Todd Rundgren finished the job.