Album Review: Of the three fairly well known albums Supertramp put out before their popularity exploded (with the release of the hit-stuffed Breakfast in America), Crime of the Century is the best—a very nice balance between progressive and pop, between accessible and exploratory. The album starts off with "School," which nicely balances progressive and jazz-rock elements. It begins poignant and ends haunted, bridging in the middle with
solid rock. Next up is "Bloody Well Right," one of two songs on Crime of the Century that were hits (sort of) back in the day. "Bloody Well Right" is a fat, grinding dirge about class attitudes in Britain, with an effective, if rather silly, hook. The second "hit" was "Dreamer," a perky little number that you may be initially tempted to dismiss as feckless
pop tripe—but won't, once it sweeps in with its lush reinforcements to win you over. The delicate, melodic track "Hide in Your Shell" competes with the album's title track for "Best Song on the Album" honors. It effortlessly moves back and forth between graceful verses and its sweet, eye-closing, head-nodding hook. The album closes with the epic "Crime of the Century." It's half song, half Wall of Progressive Sound, with the two
halves melding together perfectly to entrance the listener. People who are familiar only with Supertramp radio hits like "Goodbye Stranger," "The Logical Song," and "Take the Long Way Home"—and only want more of the same—will find only smatterings of that here. But listeners who appreciated Supertramp's efforts to blend pop and progressive should most definitely lock up a copy of Crime of the Century.