Jefferson Starship – Freedom at Point Zero (1979)

Starship_FreedomPointZero4.5 out of 5 Stars!

After the band released its rather disappointing, “middle of the road” Earth album in 1978, Jefferson Starship revamped its lineup in the wake of both Marty Balin’s and Grace Slick’s exits, hiring the dynamic Mickey Thomas (The Elvin Bishop Band) as its new lead vocalist and also recruiting ace drummer Aynsley Dunbar (Journey/Jeff Beck/Frank Zappa). More importantly, instead of continuing on in the same musical direction, the band smartly hardened its sound and released one of its best albums.

Freedom at Point Zero included the mega-hit “Jane,” along with the pounding and straightforward “Rock Music,” the beautiful ballad “Fading Lady Light,” and the kick-ass AOR gems “Just The Same” and the almost-proggish “Awakening,” which all showcase Mickey’s exceptional, breathtaking vocals. Incidentally, I also found it quite impressive that, in many respects—especially when the band employed its trademarked “Jefferson Airplane-ish” gang-vocal singing style on songs such as “Girl With the Hungry Eyes,” “Things To Come,” “Lightning Rose,” and the title track (which strongly reminds me of the band’s previously released “Ride The Tiger”)—Mickey Thomas, with his wide range, sounds almost exactly like Grace Slick, making her absence less “stinging” overall for longtime fans of the group who missed her presence.

Be that as it may, this album thankfully rejuvenated the band and became the first in another series of highly successful albums (with Grace happily returning to the fold on the next release). Both this album, as well as Modern Times (released two years later), are probably my favorite albums from the group, no matter its various incarnations.

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