Hey folks. If you remember a couple of weeks back, my buddy Pat posted a piece about why he kinda sorta digs Nickelback (and I second that emotion). Now, he’s back, defending the indefensible once again. While everyone can get behind Boston’s smash debut and its’ hit single “More Than a Feeling”, it’s a bit more difficult to come out in support of the band’s third album, “Third Stage”. For those of you having trouble remembering the album, it’s the one with “Amanda” on it. Unfortunately (for Pat, I guess), I can’t get behind this one, since I remember “Amanda” as being perhaps one of the worst power ballads of the decade. Ah well, we’ll always have “More Than a Feeling”. And hey, different strokes for different folks, right?

Take it away Pat…

One of the joys of the music website Pandora is not only the ability to listen to your favorite types of music, but the chance to discover, or in my case rediscover, songs that you’re not as familiar with.

In case you’re not a Pandora fan, the process is simple: type in the name of a band or singer, and the site will pull music from that genre into your own little commercial-free radio station. While you’ll usually hear music you’re familiar with, there’s a good chance you’re going to discover something new and exciting for your listening pleasure.

Such was the case when I decided to build a station around the band Boston. Any classic rock aficionado most likely has Boston’s hugely recognizable debut album, appropriately titled “Boston”, in their music collection. If you’re a big fan of the band, you most likely have their extremely successful follow-up, “Don’t Look Back”, in there as well, but that could be where your Boston tunes end. It would be a shame, because as I’ve discovered, Boston’s third album, titled “Third Stage”, belongs in there as well.

It’s easy to think why “Third Stage” wouldn’t sound recognizable. “Third Stage” was released in 1986, a whopping 8 years after “Don’t Look Back” and 10 after “Boston”. Many reasons plagued the long delayed album: band member changes, lawsuits, and record label shifts. But at the time when other 70s rock bands such as Heart and Fleetwood Mac were finding new success in the pop-power ballad movement of the time, Boston sounds as if it never missed a beat from its mid-70s success. It’s no surprise to learn that Boston founder Tom Scholz worked for years through all the difficulty the band was experiencing to produce this album.

And what an album it is. Starting off with the immediate Boston classic “Amanda” and following with another Boston staple, “Get Ready,” the album shows a continual growth and confidence from its earlier work. “The Launch” and “Cool the Engines” fire off a journey of looking ahead, not worrying about the difficulties that have plagued your past. They show their tender side with “To Be a Man” and “Can’tcha Say (You Believe in Me)” before closing out with “Hollyann,” a song that bookends the album with the opener “Amanda.” As “Amanda” seems to be all about looking forward, “Hollyann” is a quiet reflection of one’s past with that special someone.

It wasn’t until listening to “Third Stage” that I really felt sadness about lead singer Brad Delp’s suicide. While a success, this album didn’t achieve near the popularity of the band’s previous two. Regardless, even though it’s 23 years later, it is worth a listen.