Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy

Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy

As wild as Brian Eno’s 1974 debut had been, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)—released at the end of that same year—was even more ambitious. Working with his former bandmates in Roxy Music, as well as a team of forward-looking adventurers that included Phil Collins and Robert Wyatt, Eno apparently had the goal of packing an album’s worth of ideas into each individual song. This was a notion that resulted in many of his peers making bloated and obtuse prog-rock, but Tiger Mountain remains impressively lean despite its kaleidoscopic concepts. Above all, it’s great fun. Eno gave many rock listeners their first taste of the avant-garde, but “Burning Airlines Give You So Much More,” “The True Wheel,” and “Mother Whale Eyeless” are proud pop songs—eccentric and sometimes elusive pop songs, but pop songs nonetheless. While Eno’s music often had a cheerful glow that was missing from most self-serious early-'70s rock music, it should be noted that Tiger Mountain incorporates passages of menace and rage. He forces you to experience the danger of “Third Uncle” and “The Great Pretender” before being rewarded with the tranquility of “Taking Tiger Mountain.”

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