Many Mike Oldfield fans frown upon this album simply because it's a pop music album with no extended instrumental piece. I think it's unfair to judge "Earth Moving" against Mike Oldfield's other work. If you take this album for exactly what it is, I think you'll find it has a lot going for it. I'm not ashamed to admit this is my personal favourite Mike Oldfield album (although it's worth mentioning I'm mainly a fan of his songs as opposed to his other compositions).
The standard of the songs is very high throughout, with just a couple of exceptions. Mike Oldfield writes lyrics are as creative as he usually did in the 80s, with no bland love songs in sight. There's always a depth to the lyrics, or a theme that other songwriters rarely touch upon. And it's certainly above and beyond any of Stock Aitken & Waterman's mindless dirges that plagued the top of the charts at the time.
"Earth Moving" is a strong power ballad that many people see as the highlight of this album. I think its ok, but not one of the best tracks on offer here. Still, it's the only single to reach the Top 100 in the UK (scraping in at #100 for 1 week I think).
"Innocent" was another single, and my personal favourite from the album. A simple, yet uplifting song written about childhood innocence, inspired by his daughter Greta, and sung by Mike's partner Anita Hegerland. Anita gives an excellent performance as usual with a sparkly vocal that compliments Mike's uniquely bubbly track perfectly.
The theme of parenthood reoccurs on the album with "Far Country", the most low key track on the album, and probably the most timeless. A song about Mike's feelings for his children when he's away from them.
"Blue Night" sees Mike reunite with his early 80s vocalist Maggie Reilly for one final song. The track is typically dreamy, which you'd expect when you pair up Mike and Maggie. The song is about someone dreaming about a character in a book. A bizarre choice of topic you may think, but Mike carries it off with style. Lines such as "Misty path in the night is endless / she could be a queen or a desert princess / Hero takes her hand and leads her through / who knows what this night will do?" could only have been written by Mike Oldfield, and could only be sung convincingly by Maggie Reilly.
The weakest point of this album is "See The Light", an unnecessary attempt at hard rock that feels out of place on the album. It's not clever, it's not creative, and it's not catchy.
All the other tracks are of a high standard, and I cannot recommend this album highly enough for Mike Oldfield fans with an open mind, or fans of 1980s adult orientated pop in general.
One final note about this release - As with all of the currently available Mike Oldfield remasters, there are no bonus tracks. If you want to hear the 12" version of "Innocent" or Earth Moving (Disco Version)" you can find them on Mike Oldfield - The Platinum Collection. Unfortunately, the 7" version and 7" Remix of "Holy" are currently unavailable on CD, although neither improve on the original to be honest.