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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Third/Sister Lovers

Big Star

1978

Wikipedia

Third/Sister Lovers

Rating

2.82

Votes

3175

Reviews

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5

Third is a record that has only grown in my estimation over the years. While previous Big Star records represent the pinnacle of 70s power pop, Third deconstructs their approach amid the band's disintegration. Third stands on its own, but lands much better in context of the band's previous work. It's loaded with the cynicism of a band with so much unmet potential ("Thank You Friends") and yet contains so many moments of broken beauty ("Big Black Car", "Nighttime", "Take Care"). This tender/caustic tension is at the heart of this record's power. Its influence is evident on artists from REM to Wilco and Yo La Tengo. In fact, I often think of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as a spiritual successor to this record. Their similarly fraught creation and off-kilter production follow much more pop-oriented efforts by each band. Favourite songs: "Big Black Car", "Kanga Roo", "You Can't Have Me", "Blue Moon", "Nightime"

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5

I've always loved this, and this love has only deepened over time.

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4

Man, Big Star is that traditional rock band that you HAVEN'T heard of. Once you click, however, you'll stick.

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3

Big Star were a fav among college friends. Mostly #1 record and radio city though. This one is a bit too sloppy and unfocused for me.

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1

“Third/Sister Lovers” by Big Star (1978) Never heard this album nor this group, although I loved lead singer Alex Chilton’s #1 hit “The Letter” (1967) with the Box Tops when Chilton was only 16 years old (and I was only 12!). For an album produced in 1978, though, the recording and mix is not good. Too little separation, and primitive, unimaginative mixing. But musically, it is inventive. One can only imagine how much better this would have sounded if it were produced at Abbey Road, or The Hit Factory or even Muscle Shoals. Lyrics lack depth and originality. The suggestion is out there that “Thank You Friends” is a sarcastic condemnation of how badly Big Star was treated by the recording industry. Listened to from this perspective, it’s much better than if heard as a straightforward expression of gratitude. “Jesus Christ” is listed, but not playable, on Spotify. What’s up with that? The lyrics suggest a hymnic reflection on the singing of angels at the birth of Christ. It would be nice to hear it. One can get a taste of it in the twenty second sample on the iTunes Store. It’s not that impressive, chiefly because of the poor production. Too bad. “Femme Fatale” provides a good example of the band’s musical skills, and they are so-so. Alex Chilton’s simple lead vocal shows that he struggles with pitch at the softer end of his dynamic range, and the backing vocals (including his girlfriend Lesa Aldrege?) are even worse. Bass playing by Jim Dickinson is really good. His contribution to the band’s sound is probably a main reason for whatever success they had. “Holocaust” uses the systematic murder of six million Jews as a metaphor for the feelings of a woman whose mother just died a natural death. Yuck. This kind of pretentious appropriation is what gives much popular music a bad name. “Stroke It Noel” employs backing strings which are very poorly performed, and even more poorly recorded. I have keep reminding myself that this album was released in 1978. It would be a bad recording even if it had been released ten years earlier. Anyway, the lyrics on this song, the chorus of which is based on (uncredited) Bobby Freeman’s 1958 song “Do You Wanna Dance?”, are trite. The lines “Keeping an eye on the sky/Will they come, oh the bombs?” is anachronistic. By 1978, the fear of nuclear war was very much diminished from what we experienced in, say 1963, thanks to the U.S. effort in the Cold War, which is largely unappreciated today. (Full disclosure: I participated in the Cold War for the four years prior to this album’s release. But no hard feelings [smirk].) A pattern emerges here. Big Star takes hugely important issues and reduces them to triviality. This was ok in the 1950s and early 60s, but they seem to be lacking self awareness and compositional maturity in 1978. And for a band to call itself “Big Star” when it was anything but is, well, sad. Overall, I’m not sure why this is considered a cult classic, but cult defies justification anyway. Coulda died without this one. 1/5

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4

Saved Prior: None Saved Off Rip: Stroke It Noel, Blue Moon, Till The End Of The Day Cutting Edge: None Overall Notes: Despite the fact that I didn't save a lot of songs, this was a cool listen. It puts the disintegration of a band and of a man front and center and you can hear that in the music. Is it for casual listening? Absolutely not. This is another album that I'll be returning to over the summer when I can really immerse myself in the world of the album. As it is now, I'll give it a 4 and keep it saved to my albums on Spotify.

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4

Big Black Car Femme Fatale Blue Moon Nature Boy Dream Lover

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4

This was great power pop - both catchy and twisted. Reading the history of the band alongside is fascinating. Is this the definitive version of this album? What even is a definitive version? The production sounds so fresh.

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2

Very meh.

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2

Meh

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2

Meh

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2

Easy listening but easily forgettable too

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2

When this album started, I thought I was going to enjoy it. However, I found it a bit durgy and nothingy. I can't say it really.kept my attention

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2

When there are 1001 albums on the list, there are bound to be several albums that I won't be able to explain why they are on the list. This was a first listen to a band I've never heard of. This isn't the worst album I've heard so far, but it didn't even make it to "okay".

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2

Left little impression. Not for me

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2

forgettable

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5

Hindsight is a funny thing. Big Star's Third wasn't readily available to the public upon it's release, so it gained a big of a mysterious quality to fans, especially considering this record's defining quality was the disintegration of the band. What happened to make this the last Big Star record, and what made Alex Chilton abandon his band's signature sound only to wander the deserts of underground musical genres for the next 15 years. The production, while rough and borderline unfinished in places, have a real magical quality in the context of the band's history. They achieved pop perfection with songs like "September Gurls", but here we get a look behind the scenes, at the raw emotions Jody Stephens and Chilton were feeling. Their music had remained in the shadows, and that hurt and anguish is felt through an album that feels like it's being stitched together before your very eyes. I agree with Nick about this record having a huge impact on bands like Yo La Tengo, REM, Wilco, the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, etc. etc. I'm not always in the mood for the depths and tension in this album, but it's a masterpiece by my account. Fav tracks: Kanga Roo, Thank You Friends, Blue Moon, You Can't Have Me, For You, Big Black Car

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5

4.5

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5

I have to say, I'm surprised seeing how few 5 star ratings there are for this album, but I guess Big Star doesn't resonate with everyone. I've been obsessed with Big Star since discovering them in 1992 when Rykodisk put out the Live album and the Jim Dickinson version of this one. I'm not sure what it is that made them so magical - some combination of the music and the story I suppose. Of the material that they released, which was unfortunately not a lot, this is my favorite. The songs are incredibly beautiful, strange, dark, and fragile. They feel as if they could fall apart at any moment, and in some cases they do. A reflection of Alex Chilton's mental state at the time I guess. "Get me out of here, I hate it here," from Nightime breaks my heart every time. Since I already know this album inside and out, I took the opportunity today to listen to Complete Third, the 2016 Omnivore release that includes all the demo versions, rough takes, and ultimately the masters. It's 3 hours long, so it's a lot, but it's a treat to hear how beautiful these songs already were at the demo stage with just acoustic guitar (or piano in a couple of cases) and Alex's lilting falsetto, and then how they were fleshed gradually with strings and other instruments. It's also a treat hearing some of the cover versions he chose to play around with, in particular the Velvet Underground's Femme Fatale and the Beach Boys Don't Worry Baby, which can only be found on the Complete release. His voice was a beautiful fit for those songs. It's a shame that Alex turned his back on the type of music he was making at this point in his life. I've never been a big fan of his solo work, but he was who he was, and that's partly what makes him great. A musical genius for sure, and this album is the best evidence of that. 5 stars.

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4

Wonderful album

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4

Enjoyable but not really near classic status for me.

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4

As much as I love Big Star, I don't listen to this album enough. I enjoy so much about it. In some ways, I really like that this album sees the band getting a little weirder, but that creates some inconsistency and uneven moments...minor complaints for an album I still love.

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4

Extremely good. A solid album, and that cover of "Femme Fatale" is to die for!

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4

These guys are great. Wish I'd heard of them sooner.

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4

This is fantastic. I've listened to Matthew Sweet and the dB's, which likely are closely related descendants. Til the End of the Day is wonderful blistering and the rest of the album is both strong lyrically and musically. Really enjoy the somewhat haphazard energy and delivery.

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4

Most of this was enjoyable, I like the shoegazey before shoegazey was a thing-ness of Kangaroo but the happy-clappy Jesus song and the absolutely abysmal Velvet Underground cover? Not for me Clive.

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4

Can really see how it influenced bands like the Replacements. Or specifically the Replacements. A little more moody esoteric than my preference but still good to listen to and culturally relevant.

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4

I love to hear the origins of my favourite genres, and this is such a good example of early alt rock and power pop. Loved it, will likely listen again.

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4

In my mind, Big Star are a new wave band from the mid-1980s so it consistently blows my mind that their peak creative period was actually the '70s. This album, be it Sister Lovers or Third, doesn't sound like a product of the late 70s. It has a much crisper sound, no doubt signalling how ahead of its time this band was. And behold the pop stylings!

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4

Enjoyed this- too many songs and too long but great song writing. 4/5

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4

Pretty good heartbreak album

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4

This was good

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4

Enjoyable gentle rock.

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3

Different from what I expected, and im not 100% sure how I feel about it yet. Ill probably end up coming back to it. Surprisingly sad

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3

Eight different versions of this album have been released. Eight! The book tells me that the 1992 edition is the definitive track listing, and I couldn't find that one in Spotify, so I had to create a list with all of the tracks in the correct order in order to listen. I'm not sure it was worth the trouble. The lyrics read like they were scrawled on a wrinkled piece of paper during lunch right before they were due in 7th period, and the instrumentation doesn't really elevate them enough for me. Chilton's voice is poppy and pleasant, and I suspect this is why this album has developed a following. Best track: O, Dana.

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3

Eerst wat opvalt is de mastering, alles clean en niks overheerst. Muzikaal ook interessante compositie met diverse instrumenten, die ook nog eens lekker in stereo zijn gemixt. Niet helemaal mijn muziek smaak, maar kan het wel waarderen.

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3

meh, not for me

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3

Interesting background but the music didn’t stand out to me, Especially for late 70’s

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3

Not bad, I knew the song "Holocaust" which is probably my favorite but... calling someone a Holocaust is maybe a bit much in respect to the actual Holocaust. 3.5 down to 3. I kinda like the singers voice but it doesn't go beyond that for me much.

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3

Pretty good not really memerable

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3

Not all on Spotify

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3

This mag be unfair but these songs sound like they are trying to be deep and profound but it sounds insincere or inauthentic to me. Was surprised to find out they are American, they sounded super British to me. Given the timeframe they were ahead of their time in terms of the Britpop and Altrock stuff that became super prevalent in the 90's. Reading that this album was shelved due to its lack of commercial appeal and released years later makes me a little more sympathetic knowing they were underdogs.

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3

Not really my thing, but you can hear the influence they had on a lot of later bands

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3

Nice but nothing really stood out

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3

Pausado. Relajado. Sin grandes estridencias. Buena voz y melodías

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3

Nazwa plyty badz bandy nie przynosi mi nic na mysl, slychac rokowanie, ktore stara sie byc przystepne dla sluchacza, wiec taki rokowy pop, discog okresla albumik jako power pop, pop z moca gitarek rokowych, brzmi calkiem solidnie, pierwsze zaskoczenie to czwarty track, zatytulowany jesus christ, brzmi jak przykladowa piosenka chrzescijanskiego roka, ale skad ona sie wziela na tym albumie w takim miejscu, nie jestem w stanie tego zrozumiec, sprawdzilem czy album nie byl wypuszczony na swieta, nie bo w marcu, rozwiazalo to kolejna zagadke czemu brzmi tak wczesno rokowo, choc to 78 wydanie, ale nagrywane od 74, tylko z wypuszczeniem plyty byly jakies klopoty, nastepny kawalek kolejna niespodzianka, femme fatale, czyli cover klasycznego velvet undergroundowego kawalka, calkiem przypadl mi do gustu ten trak z meskim wokalem, bo jednak niko nigdy nie byla najlepszym elementem welwetow, z kolejnych numerow rowniez czuc inspiracje velvetami, traki na plejliste to wspomniany cover i thank you friends

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3

Is this the second big star record on here? I'm not sure I understand that. This album is ok, but certainly not worthy of ALSO hearing in 1001 alongside #1 Record. But it was good pop rock. The Femme Fatale cover was nice, nighttime was touching, some other charming moments. could see this being a favorite had I grown up with it. maybe 10 years down the road I will, idk

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3

Interesting old unheard album.

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3

I think I should have heard of them? I haven't and maybe their influences are all known to me from others. But this album didn't move me.

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3

Bibelmusik meint meine Frau. Inhaltlich nicht gecheckt aber irgendwie hat sie schon wieder recht

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3

Ganz cool!

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3

Pretty good if you enjoy rock 'n roll. Not a favorite of mine though.

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3

ok better be good cause its the longest album i got so far lol. reissue is not on spotify but og album has all songs minus the bonus track so i could look that one up on youtube if i care enough. its whatever so far. dont hate it yet. its nice enough bg music at least, there's enough variety in sound and song themes that im not bored yet. im surprised im okay with it still 8 tracks in. no standout songs though, maybe stroke it noel. nature boy, till the end of the day, dream lover was a nice 3 song streak. looked up the bonus track on spotify it was on a different comp album or something. its the most different song to the others i actually prefer the album without it. i kinda liked the album overall? not sure id go back to it but i did save the tracks i mentioned.

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3

3 1/2

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3

Started a little odd, wasn't vibing with it too much. Suddenly I'm 10 songs in and tapping my foot along, not bad.

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3

(3.5)

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3

I love these weird albums. The vocals and echoing instruments draw me reminscent of psychedelia. My favorite track is "Kanga Roo" but there are several highlights like the "Femme Fatale" cover, "Stroke it Noel", and "For You" . My problem is that the album just isn't weird ENOUGH. As in, the ideas feel raw. With a good production team, you could make an album that sounds just as amazing as Pet Sounds. But without it, there's too much pressure on the vocals, which I find to be a bit monotonous.

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3

Rock clássico agradável, mas sem empolgar.

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3

Fun if somewhat slight power pop. Really elevated by the lyrics though.

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3

I didn't like all of the songs, but the songs I did like were very enjoyable to listen to. I can't say I'd really ever revisit this album again properly, maybe just a couple of songs. 3/5 stars.

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3

Solid, simple album.

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3

3.8 - Given all the acclaim surrounding this album I was expecting so much more. I enjoy some of the slapdash swagger that's underpinned with sumptuous orchestral arrangements. At times it sounds like the band is about to implode and can only move forward with the support of backing studio players. It's like they hired a string ensemble at great expense and the players arrived to the studio on time with their instruments tuned and their parts well-rehearsed, but the the band itself was visibly absent. Several hours later the band finally shuffles in, still clearly loaded from an all night bender, smelling ripe and needing a shave. They announce that they're ready to start recording and proceed to noodle through the first verse before nodding off into the chorus. Their cover of "Femme Fatale" is particularly confusing - it sounds like a mike check? "Holocaust" is like something from a high school talent show written and sung by that one girl who cuts herself. To its credit, there's a roiling, unsettled atmosphere the likes of which I've heard on no other record. I certainly cannot write it off but having listened to it twice today just to torture myself to write these words on what I think I just heard, I don't foresee returning soon.

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3

Some of this album sounded a lot like classic '70s rock - the Byrds, Bread. But other parts sounded like less instrumentally complex DeVotchKa or REM. While listening certain parts of songs reminded me both of bands that probably influenced Big Star and bands probably influenced by Big Star. I can understand why this was included despite not having heard of the band.

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3

Reading up on this album made it a more compelling story, but I still didn't care much for the sound outside of the more experimental tracks. 6/10

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3

Didn’t particularly care for anything about this but it wasn’t offensive 5/10

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3

It's interesting. Like, is it good? I don't know. It seems like a critique of music of the time maybe? As it goes on, it becomes folkier and more melancholy. The sleeper hit of the album is the much less whiny Nature Boy with its melodic piano and haunting vocals. Good - Til the End of the Night, Blue Moon, Nature Boy Art - I like it, but it's also weird that there's the two images in different resolutions.

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3

Hørte ikke lige det hele..

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3

Reminds me of Dylan, T-Rex and Bowie. At times is its own thing too. Can be heartfelt at times. Like Blue Moon, etc.

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3

OK

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3

Aquí no hay grandes aspavientos y las canciones son sobrias pero bien enfocadas. Las mejores son las de ritmo lento. Destacan las cuerdas en varias de ellas, como el chelo de “Holocaust”, que crea un ambiente denso y brumoso. Un disco íntimo para escuchar en soledad.

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3

Third.

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3

This album is at best, an okay album making it difficult to appreciate as an album necessary to listen to. There are some emo elements, which while not exactly a turn-off, does not warrant any particular endorsements as a result. Perhaps this wide-range of pop-rock mixed with the aforementioned is where this album can be acknowledged for having shaped a genre. Add to the rotation for when not feeling the urge to pay attention, Big Star makes good music and the listener is likely to feel indifferently okay about it. That is not a bad thing, and perhaps on a different day that mood will be more favorable.

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3

Very pleasant, but then it stopped and at the end, I'm not sure if I remembered listening to anything at all.

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3

Listenable enough, started well with a cool 70s rock sound but ended up a bit dreary

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3

I've heard a lot about Big Star over the years, but never really listened to them. Interesting album with its own sound

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3

So, I'd never really listened to much of this band. A few songs here and there. Idk if this album will change that, it's really depressing.

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3

I've never heard of Big Star at all! I don't particularly enjoy this type of singing voice. I know people like that kind of imperfect rough raw voice where it almost sounds a bit strangled sometimes trying to hit some notes. It actually puts me on edge a bit. I really like this track Nature Boy, aside from my previous comment, the piano is lovely and the lyrics are interesting and unusual. I like the minor key melody too and vintage bluesy/jazz feel. I also really enjoy Till the end of the Day. This has a strong Beatles vibe, I love the bassline and the fun guitars in general. Apart from those two tracks I found the rest of the album pretty dull and that meant the voice grated on me. I did listen to the next album which popped up after and it sounded wayyyyy better. This album just isn't really for me so much.

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3

read a bit more about big star, cult following, etc. etc. this album was... solid?

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3

Fine, but not my favorite.

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3

I hated the vocals of this album at first but it got better as it went along. Missing some songs on spotify but the ones I did hear were fine

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3

I skipped because half he songs were greyed out. Decided to be generous rating wise.

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3

Bom.

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3

interesting album tbh, its a shame the other songs arent on spotify.

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3

Will need another listen, first go through sounds like it had potential for good folksy morning music.

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2

Didn’t really do it for me

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2

People really talk up Big Star and their stature, but I just don't get it. It's... fine?

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2

Kinda cool 70s/80s type rock vibe

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2

En Spotify no está completo y tal cual lo enlaza la lista tampoco está en Youtube Music, así que lo escuché mezclando canciones de las dos plataformas. Big Star es uno de esos grupos del que todos los entendidos hablan y que en general nunca tuvo éxito. Este disco supongo que es un buen ejemplo de ellos. Está bien, tiene canciones bonitas pero no termina de ser gran cosa. Lo siento pero para mí es un disco normalito.

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2

Discovered a song from Mouling Rouge, which was cool, the rest was meh though.

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2

Sin pena no gloria

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2

Actually listenable. Different sounds/styles, not great though, almost 3 star

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2

Mediocre 70s Garage rock and balladeering. Not special.

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2

Ganske lite minneverdig poprock.

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2

Based on when this album came out, I can hear how it is part of the continued evolution of many sub-genres of rock. It's got a late 60's rock sound to it but also sounds a bit precursive to some "alt-rock" styles. Very talented band, but I'm not a fan of the vocals and this is not the kind of music I would like to listen to regularly.

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2

I liked the song that was in Moulin rouge but not really the others.

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2

Pretty unmemorable

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2

Eh.

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2

Nope

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2

This is the third album from Big Star and it's a pop album that documents the decline of the band. This album became far more popular - a cult classic even - years after release when it was re-released multiple times. It is beautiful but haunting, personal & experimental, but also erratic and impassioned. Critics described the album as the sounds of a band sinking and slowly falling apart, which I agree with. It makes a great "heart break" album. The album is not horrible, but you can tell something was off during recording.

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2

I'd rather die than listen to this again

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2

What a mess. Apparently there are two similarly named albums? It's listenable, but not memorable. It's one long... expansive album.

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2

I was not familiar with any of the songs. I was familiar with the band. Some decent songs. Some songs were just meh.

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2

Wee bit disappointed. No real grinders to be had here

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2

I want to feel you deep inside. Given the names of some of the songs (Holocaust), I was expecting more than soft rock pop. If it was a sexual experience, it'd be premature ejaculation followed by uncontrollable weeping and deep shame.

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2

A lot of drivelers. This sort of vocals in particular are not too appealing

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2

4/10. Based on the first song, this album is not worth the additional hassle of not being on spotify and having different song orders for several different releases… Overall, I don't love the singer's voice, and while the music is not as boring as it could have been for an album of this length, it is not really pleasant to listen to either.

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2

Það er einhver kaos tilfinning í þessari plötu. Áhugaverð, en þarf ekkert að hlusta aftur.

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2

Nothing exceptional. Voice didnt do it for me.

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2

Some interesting textures and ideas here and there, but not nearly enough to unify these scattershot tracks into a cohesive whole.

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2

Not a bad time but nothing wowed me.

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2

#1 Record is a good album. This is not. I tuned out when they started singing about Jesus.

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2

Kinda dull, I don't get it. Femme Fatale was a nice track, which surprised me, so I googled it and it turns out they didn't even write that one

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2

"Kizza Me" is really fucking bad. But from there on it's ok. I always loved "Nature Boy" but they don't quite do it justice on this one. Eh ok, but I need a little more time.

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2

I found it a bit underwhelming. The singer does not sound very confident in himself I probably could enjoy a couple of these songs on their own, but as a collection it's just a bit too much Also what a lame cover of Femme Fatale lol

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2

I just found this a bit dull, nothing much going on. Sometimes I like that really simple, stripped back rock ballad stuff but usually it has to come as a one off amongst so really good stuff and this didn't have enough good stuff.

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2

This hasn't left much of an impression on me and I've attempted to get through it a few times. Confusing really. I think just a bit beige rock.

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2

Low key bland indie.

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2

big star gets two star on thars

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2

Disco muy raro, de esos que no tienen sentido de estar en la lista. El sonido es a veces de banda setentera y a veces de alternativo de los noventa, pero en definitiva nada memorable. Next!

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2

Genre: Pop Rock 2/5 Big Star, led by guitarist/vocalist Alex Chilton, who in his own right was a figurehead amongst many who succeeded in the 80s rock scene, made this album we have here. This particular release is a deluxe reissue, with some bonus tracks thrown in at the end, I guess as some sort of treat for us listeners. Unfortunately for us listeners, this thing is a mess. And not in a cleverly produced, well-written, White Album kind of way. The album, which is sequenced slighty differently than it was upon its initial release, jumps between soft, gentle ballads to erratic, unfinished-sounding jams at the flip of a coin. There are moments of tranquil and beauty here, For You and Nighttime stand out, and moments where the instruments go on much more interesting tangents than what the song was originally doing, like You Can't Have Me, which had some great drum breaks. But the overwhelming majority of the songs sound like Chilton is just not giving a shit. Bad singing, inconsistent songwriting, and a project that even without the bonus tracks feels too long. Days of Future Passed is not in this book. Albums like this remind me of that fact.

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God this was boring and whiny. I did not enjoy this album at all.

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1

So boring

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Am behind. Listened to some of this, but it was doing nothing for me.

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Eh, didn't really like this

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Not all that compelling, but then again I didn't listen very closely. Might come back to it, but if we're being honest, probably not

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ah não, muito triste, pelo amor de deus

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1

Just awful.

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Just...what? There's no defined sound for this album and none of them work particularly well, not to mention half the songs aren't available on Spotify. Gonna say no thanks.

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1

Quite forgettable

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some generic 70s crap with the high pitched voices. i could barely listen to this through the first time, i think its safe to say there won't be a second.

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1

1.5

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Ah it was crap

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wow um bad i didn’t like. it doesn’t feel like it’s worth one star but i can’t give it any more sorry x

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Kann ich nix mit anfangen. Ich weiß nicht, was das soll.

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