This controversial album was a turning point for the band, and it also marked the end of another chapter of awesome tunes from this hit machine. Most fans know that Chicago 16 in '82 starts another chapter, so Chicago XIV from 1980 holds a special place in the hearts of many who have followed the guys this amazing ride.
Chicago XIV comes eleven years after the debut album. The late 70s was a tough period for the band for many reasons, as "Hot Streets" and "Chicago 13" did ok, but not as well as all Chicago records from approx 1970-77. It was back to the Roman Numerals we love for this release, and after this they went to solid numbers for quite some time until around XXV with the Christmas Album in '98 and XXVI (Live) in '99.
In this reviewer's opinion, over half of the songs are great...which usually shows that you have a winner.
The Good: "Hold On" should have been released as a single, and I think it would have become a huge hit. This is by far the best song on the album. 'Overnight Café,' 'Thunder and Lightning,' 'Upon Arrival,' 'Where did the Lovin' Go,' and 'The American Dream' follow as the best songs. Of the bonus tracks, the two previously unissued songs are great (Live it Up, Soldier of Fortune.)
The bad: 'Song for You', 'Birthday Boy', 'I'd Rather be Rich', and the bonus track 'Doin' Business.' SFY and BB are really bad but the rest of this record makes up for it. 'Manipulation' is adequate but should not be considered their #1 song from this album.
Stories swirl about how Columbia mistreated this record, how it was barely visible on the store shelves back in 1980, and about how the band wasn't promoted properly. It only reached #71 on the famous Billboard list, a far cry from what Chicago was used to. There are great liner notes in this Rhino Reissue, and a picture of the guys unlike in the original album release. Chris Pinnick, who took over for the departed Donnie Dacus, is NOT pictured even though he is listed as an official member of Chicago from 1980-84.
Give this album a try if you haven't already. There are some really good songs on here, even though this is considered by many to be the LEAST favorite or popular of all the albums to date.