An Album a Day: Approved By the Motors

June 18, Approved by the Motors by The Motors

Genre: Rock
Year:
1978
Runtime:
48:53
Total tracks:
12* 
Songs you might know:
– “Airport”
– “Forget About You”
– “Sensation”
– “Today”

*This includes two tracks  that according to Wikipedia, were left off the original vinyl album. From my understanding “Picturama” and “Day I Found a Fiver” were originally B-sides for other singles on the album, “Forget About You” and “Sensation,” respectively. Both Apple Music and Spotify tack these two tracks onto the end, bringing the total number from 10 tracks to 12.

My prior relationship with this album: I had literally never heard of the Motors before. However, for the week of Father’s Day, I thought it would be fun to let my dad pick all my albums for the week. For the most part, his strategy for the week was to pick bands I wouldn’t know, so here we are.

My impressions this time around: Of the seven albums I listened to during Dad’s Choice Week, this is the one I was most excited to listen to over and over again. This is also why it’s the first one I’ve gotten around to reviewing.

What really makes Approved by the Motors stand out from some of Dad’s other choices was its ability to experiment with so many different sounds of the era while still feeling like a cohesive vision. “You Beat the Hell Out of Me” is a relatively simplistic Ramones-esque track.  Some of my favorites, “Soul Redeemer” and “Forget About You” lean a little more to the pop side, with strong keyboards and harmonized group vocals. “Airport” has some ELO vibes. “Mama Rock ‘N Roller” is a blues-y rock track while “Do You Mind” is a darker rock track, with lyrics I could hear Alice Cooper singing.

And yet despite all this, most songs still feel like they belong here. The album isn’t disjointed or confusing in spite of its variety. The rock songs are “pop enough” while the pop songs are “rock enough” for the whole thing to come together quite seamlessly. The only real exception to this is “Day I Found a Fiver,” which is one of the tracks that was initially left off the album. It’s mostly instrumental, which is kind of a shame since I found the vocal harmonies to be a real high point of the rest of the album.

Ultimately, I’m really glad I found this album. It’s exactly the kind of discovery I was hoping would come out of Dad’s Choice week/Album a Day in general. I have yet to explore more albums by The Motors, but I hope to get around to them before the year is out.

Who would enjoy it? I think this would be a really good pick for fans of ELO, or really anyone who likes rock music that toys around with instruments outside of the guitar-drums-bass model.

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