The Bengal's Purr
Anderson continues "Thick as a Brick" storylineThursday, May 17, 2012 By Kevin Dillard
“Jethro Tull” frontman Ian Anderson kept waiting since 1972 for the followup album to “Thick as a Brick”, “Thick as a Brick 2: Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock?” (TAAB2). The original concept album, “ Thick as a Brick ” , follows the life of Gerald Bostock, a young man whose parents lied to him about his age. “ Jethro Tull ” released the album March 10, 1972 originally, with a 2009 remastered release. The album held a single 43-minute song with a pause in the middle where the listener flipped the vinyl to the other side. America instantly fell in love with “ Thick as a Brick ” at its debut. Anderson recorded TAAB2 only after Derek Shulman's urging in early 2010. Shulman motivated Anderson to modify a number of his current, unreleased songs to form the basis of TAAB2. Shulman's poking and prodding finally warmed Anderson to the idea of a new album, and he began writing pieces such as “From A Pebble Thrown” and “Give 'Till it Hurts”. Lyrics such as “Ripples from a pebble thrown make tsunami on a foreign shore” force the listeners to think about their actions and how they affect other people and entities. The cheery tone, yet slightly dark content created a conflicting theme throughout the album. In “ Give 'Till it Hurts ” , Anderson sang about religious corruption. Reverend Bostock told the congregation that the coffer contained nearly no money, but the faithful flock stood by, as he prepared to shave the needy and bereft. Anderson continued the album through the mind and life of Bostock, which went through the events proceeding the defrocking of the Reverend. An unknown firm employed Bostock as a banker, during which he embezzled millions. The government found out, and Bostock, who owned no home after serving prison time, dredged out a living as a homeless man, found love, and sought a civil union with his male partner. Anderson brought up the issue of homosexuality several times throughout the album in “ Swing it Far ” , “ Confessional ” and “ Old School Song ” . Bostock confessed his homosexuality to his disapproving parents in “ Swing it Far ” , in which Anderson implied criticism for the intolerance for homosexuals in society today. Bostock's bitter words about his father displayed how such intolerance tore families apart and created hate and havoc between people who normally love each other. The audio reminded the listener of the preceding album but refused to directly copy it. Anderson took the light flute and heavy rock organ sound straight from his earlier days in “ Thick as a Brick ” and “ Aqualung ” , which provided the older listeners with a reminiscent smile. The dark insanity that bored deep into the human soul, and the lighthearted tone of the album provided an insight into the truth of human life and death; the frailty of the mind, with insanity and depravity that loomed overhead and waited to devour the mind and soul. The sorrow, love, hate and happiness in this album provided the listener a short ride into another person's life, earning Anderson, and TAAB2, 5-out-of-5 stars.