By the time Loggins & Messina released a follow-up to their biggest record yet, 1973's FULL SAIL, there was some pressure on the pair to repeat their success. They hadn't stumbled yet, but one can sense from their grim expressions in the cover photo that the mood has taken a turn for the darker.
Nevertheless, the record begins on a bouncy, ear-friendly note, with the lite pop of "Growin'," a Loggins tune that shows the beginning of his maturation toward the adult pop of his later solo work. Messina shows he is still the downcast one of the duo on the wistful back-to-nature ode "Be Free," the middle section of which shows off his expert mandolin chops. The record's finest moment is the accomplished musical stew that is "Changes," the record's biggest FM radio hit. The song is an amalgam of some of the most popular styles of commercial pop of the day, combining the smooth jazzy pop of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers with the sense of foreboding and rock-star ennui of vintage Eagles. And for good measure, a Stevie Wonder-style clavinet provides a touch of '70s funk.