Before you read this review, stop right here and go read my interview with Robert Berry first. You need proper context before you go any further. I’ll wait here. CLICK HERE: https://progressivemusicplanet.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/interview-with-robert-berry-about-3-3-2-and-his-dear-friend-keith-emerson/
Go read it…
OK, did you finish? I’ll know if you didn’t. Now you have an idea of how important this album is to the artist AND to me. In 1988, I wore out my copy of “To the Power of Three” by 3. And while I understood why the band split, I still wanted more. I was thrilled to have some proposed 3 tracks on Robert Berry’s album “Pilgrimage to a Point” but now I finally have a new 3…er 3.2 album. It’s just so incredibly sad that Keith Emerson isn’t alive to be a part of it.
While “To the Power of Three” was more pop with prog flourishes, “The Rules Have Changed” is the flip of that. This is without a doubt a strong prog album with Berry’s pop sensibilities keeping the songs on track. And yes Berry does channel Emerson many times throughout the album. It’s down right scary sometimes too. “One By One” is an over-the-top killer lead off track that serves notice that this is NOT going to be a walk in the park.
“Powerful Man” sounds more like the first album than perhaps any of the songs on the album. Yes there’s a nod to 80s pop but that’s a key ingredient to the music and was from the start of the band. Lyrically, Berry pays tribute to Emerson more than once on the album. “Our Bond” is the gut punch and “Your Mark on the World” is the hopeful optimistic closer.
My favorite track is probably “The Letter” because it starts out acoustic and stripped down before it just takes OFF! But each track on here is great because they are all so unique and that for me is the mark of a great album. It’s not an easy album either for the same reasons. You need to pay attention and listen more than once. Remember, this is prog.
It’s a shame that Keith Emerson took his life. “The Rules Have Changed” is a wonderful tribute to him by his dear friend. It’s nice to hear music that he was working on before he left the world too. “The Rules Have Changed” is a testament to not just the talent of Emerson but even moreso the underrated brillance of Robert Berry. I’ll take a 3.3 album if he ever wants to make it.
1.One By One
3.The Rules Have Changed
5.What You’re Dreaming Now
8.Your Mark On The World
Label: Frontiers Music