It's really not cool to like ELO is it? Even now, after various film directors have used their music for soundtracks and admitted that they, like they really dug them all along, it's not going to do your street cred any good admitting that you think "Wild West Hero "is a wonderfully poignant song about the power of dreams or that "Turn To Stone" makes you so giddy with delight that you would kiss your Grand Mothers whiskery chin if only she was still alive. Guess what? I lost my rarely tangible grasp on any pretensions to street cred years ago so I feel quite secure in proclaiming that I think ELO are fantastic and that this album is a pretty good overview of their career.
That said it misses some real gems out. No "Can't Get It out Of My Head" or "10538 Overture" (The bands early years are sparsely represented here) or no "Ticket to the Moon". It's not a definitive collection by any means. There are far more complete over views of their career available. "Light Years" or "The Ultimate Collection", both double CD, s spring to mind. But for a single album this doesn't do too bad a job of representing what a terrific singles band they were, particularly in the mid 70,s, and showcasing what a superb and under rated songwriter Jeff Lynne was.
He was capable of writing some right clunkers though and it could be argued and I would certainly be up for the challenge, that one or two of the songs on this album hardly represent the band in their best light (No pun intended) No song that has rock n, roll in the title should ever be allowed to pollute the airwaves and The annoyingly jaunty "Rock And Roll Is King" with it's gibberish vocals is no exception. Summarily "Xanadu" is way too slick and polished, lacking the heady organic grace of their earlier material and signalling a transition to a more synthesised sound that would lead to the "Time" album. Though that did have some decent songs on it.
I loved the punk and post punk period; I love innovative challenging music or exciting fresh bands. But mainly I just love great song writing. Jeff Lynne wrote great songs and the band performed them superbly. I think there are better encapsulations of their output available, but this isn't bad and will hopefully lead to an overdue reappraisal of this most maligned of bands.