(I’ll begin with an apology due to my having caught a rather nasty head cold this post is coming a week later than I’d anticipated.)
I’d like to use this space to make a nod to the past. On February 21, 1992, Chris Bell’s album, I Am The Cosmos was finally released.
For those not familiar, Bell was a founding member of the early 70’s band Big Star. Big Star’s work was seriously overlooked at the time but has since gained a rather rabid following. Bell left the band after their first album, #1 Record (they went on to make two more albums, both increasingly odd and both really awesome).
After Big Star, Bell suffered some serious mental health challenges, struggled with addiction, and eventually found solace in Jesus. Throughout the mid-70’s he recorded the tracks that make up Cosmos, but other than a couple singles they never really went anywhere. In 1978 Bell died in a car accident at age—rock-&-roll fans will know the number well—27.
It took nearly 15 years for the release of this album. I Am The Cosmos sounds enough like a Big Star album for the connection to be obvious, but also has plenty of uniqueness to stand on its own. The song’s are full of spiritual yearning as Bell’s voice strains beyond its capacity, reaching out beyond himself. I’m not a music-writer and won’t waste time except to say: it’s a great album, one certainly of-a-time but also substantial enough to be a great listen today. You should check it out.
Cosmos also features what is, to my mind, one of the better opening lines you’ll ever find on any album:
Every night I tell myself, I am the cosmos, I am the wind. But that don’t get you back again.
So thanks, Chris Bell. Even though you weren’t around to know it, some of us are still digging what you did.
I Am The Cosmos:
You and Your Sister: