The critics never forgave America for "A Horse With No Name". Aping Neil Young was bad enough. Knocking the real Neil Young out of the #1 singles chart with a Neil Young sound-alike was nearly criminal. Having lyrics like "the heat was hot" in that song was apparently unforgivable. The Rolling Stone Album Guide still gives all of America's studio albums one star ( "Disastrous") ratings and the most recent edition complains of thin production and sums up the band's discography in this way: "Without exception, all America's records are lame.
That really isn't fair. First of all, I think Dewey Bunnell really does share Neil Young's reedy voice. And America wasn't the only band trying to hit it big using the Crosby, Stills and Nash formula. As for thin production, Homecoming opens with a perfectly engineered single in "Ventura Highway". "Only In Your Heart" shares the the piano-based do-it-yourself feel of an early Paul McCartney solo album.
In fact, only Dan Peek's Come-To-Jesus single "Don't Cross The River' could really be called "thin". How bad could America be when the band eventually attracted both George Martin and Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick?
If you're ready to give America a second chance, Homecoming is the place to begin.