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  • Time
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4.8 out of 5 stars116
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 21 February 2005
This album is one of ELO's later creations, and by this stage they had dropped their two cello-ists, (?), and violinist, (the brilliant Mik Kaminski), and instead relied on the heavy use of synths to create their symphonic sound. This gives the album a very electronic sound, but still the 'full' sound that ELO have allways had.
While I preffered the strings, this works particularly well for the futuristic theme of the album and the fantastic arrangement is still there. I like to think that ELO started off Orchestral, (Eldorado), and gradually became more and more electric, (Balance of power).
The songs are varied, from the very mellow 'Ticket to the moon', to the incredibly upbeat 'Yours Truly', (full of futuristic bleeps and swooshes), and 'Hold on Tight'.
For me this album has a deeper meaning, on the one hand I think it's a fun album about the future, but on the other hand I feel that there's a sadness to it focussing on how time changes everything. The future painted is often a sad one with the protagonists of each song feeling alientated or lonely. The inclusion of the bonus track, 'July Don't Live Here Any More' seems to add to that theme. I think that this album is about change, and this could be due to the changes Lynn was going through at the time. This was to be their live swansong.
Ultimately though, the album ends on a very positive note with the hit rocker 'Hold On Tight', which is all about holding onto your dreams - a more positive aspect of the future!
ELO deserve a lot more credit than they receive, and this fun, ambitious album demonstrates that.
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on 1 April 2003
ELO has many great albums, sadly they are now regarded as a singles band, hence a plethora of Greatest Hits Packages. This album combines classic ELO (Rain is Falling) with a new harder electronic sound. The result a brilliant album. For those who hated Discovery and Xanadu this was ELO back to form. This is probably in my top 3 of ELO albums with practically no weak tracks (apart from the pointless Another Heart Breaks). This cd brings with it the brilliant When Time Stood Still which should have been on the original album, as well as two other strong b sides. Sound wise this is a vast improvement on the previous cd version and is the definitive version of this great album. Highlights include Hold On Tight, Twilight, 21st Century Man (could have been written by John Lennon), From the End of the World, Here is the News (years ahead of its time with sampling etc) and Ticket to the Moon.
Many of these songs are for some reason not on many of the Greatest Hits packages so it is well worth buying for that reason alone. Along with Eldorado this is ELO's most thematically linked album. The concept is that of a B science fiction movie and it works - brilliantly.
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on 8 November 2001
It is difficult to form rational opinion on music heard for the first time so long ago, and at such an impressionable age. I was 12 when my parents got Time, and so the music always for me resonates with memories from that vanished 1981 era.
On buying this newly remastered version of Time two things jump out: just how well the music and the sound has stood up over the past 20 years; and how the music is unlike anything else in the ELO canon.
Commercially, the band were on the slide bigtime. Artistically the sense of cohesion created by the theme of time travel, combined with the ever-present focus on melody and a heavier-than-normal dash of moody introspection, results in an album that has dated marginally, if at all. The sense of sadness that runs through the album is - with hindsight - a deliciously overt signal of the underlying tension within ELO at the time, and for me is always linked with reminders of the general crapiness of the UK back then (Toxteth, Brixton, Bristol et al).
Buy this album and listen to it as a whole, not a batch of singles a la Out of the Blue or Discovery, and enjoy.
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on 3 May 2007
I've bought this album four times now (in three formats over 25 years!) and for one tiny but compelling reason, this is the most satisfying of them all. It's not the extra tracks, although they're actually the most interesting of the extra songs on the reissued ELO CDs - not that that's a great achievement; it's not the remastered sound, which was pretty clean before - although I've noticed a few extra details like the sonorous pedal bass in the Prologue; and it's not Lynne's sleeve notes, which are perfunctory, to put it mildly.

No, the reason to buy this reissue is what's been taken out. Time works best not as a collection of songs but as a single, continuous whole to be savoured at one sitting. (This is why the bonus tracks have no more than curiosity value to me.) The tracks flow one into another, right up to the emotional pivot of the whole album, the final `tomorrow' of Twenty-First Century Man, where the music sweeps aside the feelings of loneliness, fear and alienation and clears the way for an exuberant conclusion in Hold On Tight. Between these two tracks is a linking passage of distant, wordless voices, which are then interrupted by the bumptious opening of Hold On Tight. Only, on my early-90s CD, there's a jarring two-second silence here that spoils the flow - a CD artefact that isn't present in my cassette and LP editions; this reissue restores the continuity, and that's the reason to have it.

You may think I'm obsessive - and maybe I am - but I should state here that Time is not only my favourite album by ELO but my favourite album, full stop. Some dismiss it as `electro-pop' and suggest it doesn't match up to Eldorado or Out of the Blue but that's unfair: in a period when some were using electronics to disguise their lack of musical ability, Lynne and Tandy merely take the opportunity to show off their creativity and musicianship to even better effect. There's no feeling here of `I could have done this just as well myself'. Yes, it's a change of style, but an entirely appropriate one, and it deserves to stand on its own merit - and if you want strings, they're still there, notably in the most techno-themed track of all, Yours Truly 2095. If you love this album, this edition removes the last obstacle to your enjoyment.
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on 1 July 2001
I bought this album when it cam out in 1981 despite a truly awful review in Record Mirror which drew comparisons with the Royal Wedding. This reissue is welcome as it reunites two B-sides from the singles which lyrically and musically belong on the album. I guess if cds had existed at that time then they would have been included. The sound quality on this reissue is superb and Jeff Lynnes comments on the tracks quite interesting. The standout track for me is 'The way lifes meant to be'; Sadly a flop single. If you like ELO then you'll like this. It's nothing you wouldn't expect.
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on 25 February 2006
My favourite ELO record and it still sounds incredibly fresh. All the original tracks are good but Yours Truly 2095, Rain is Falling, From the End of the World and When the Lights Go Down are particularly stunning. Two of the three additional tracks included here are also excellent, infact it's amazing that Julie Don't Live Here Anymore was excluded first time around.
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I generally prefer ELO's earlier albums, A new world record and Out of the blue, but this is an interesting, if unusual, concept album. With spaceships on the album covers of those two great albums, perhaps it was inevitable that ELO would record a space-age album. Recorded in 1981 but supposedly set in 2095 when they expect space travel to be common, the album sometimes harks back to the time in which it was recorded. The overall feel of the album is mellow, with no up-tempo rockers – mid-tempo is as fast as this album gets.
The best-known songs here are Hold on tight, a catchy, radio-friendly song that was a big UK hit, and Twilight, another fine mid-tempo song. The rest of the songs here work well together in the overall concept of the album. Highlights among them include Ticket to the moon, The way life's meant to be and Rain is falling. Although this is a little different from ELO's earlier albums, it should still appeal to fans of those albums. Another reviewer suggests that there is a Queen influence on some of the tracks. I'd never thought about that, but he's right. As somebody who also enjoys listening to Freddy Mercury's group, that's no bad thing.
If you are a science fiction fan, you may want this album for that reason alone. Otherwise, this album is probably not the best place to begin a collection of ELO – try A new world record or one of the hits collections if you are new to their music and you're not into science fiction. But if you are already familiar with some of ELO's music, this album is definitely worth a few listens.
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on 15 March 2007
SO MANY people have slated ELO for moving away from strings, but listen carefully to this album and you can still find them tucked away in dark recesses (take the bridge leading onto 21st Century Man for example).

The album was just natural progression for Jeff Lynne - we're in the early 80's, Thatcher was in control of the UK and attempting to move Britian out of the dark ages, so it was fitting that this was such a futuristic sounding album...and herein lies ELO's problem, they were SO FAR advanced musically, that the music trends caught up with their music LONG after their singles/albums had disappeared!

The album tells the sad story of a man longing for more, obtaing the dream, but at the cost of his loved one. The b side to the Twilight single (when there was such things as singles) was "Julie Don't Live Here" and in some respects it was the missing track that closed the album.

In my opinion (and it's just an opinion), this was ELO's finest album. Whilst Secret Messages, Balance of Power and Zoom were all equally brilliant, Time stands out from them - if only for the Hold On Tight video and the promo poster "The Waiting Is Over"
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on 17 August 2004
I am 24 and heard of ELO and there song 'Mr Blue Sky' thought it was a good song so i bought this album because it was cheap I am so glad I did, this album in my opinion is the finest colection of songs ever made by an artist. From the haunting digitised speech of the first track this album reached out and grabbed me. This album contains innovative manic electronics and string music to the most anthemic and lushious melodies all on one album.
Buy it and listen to it but do not dismiss it as just being rubbish the first time you hear it because i made that mistake and it sat on my shelf for ages. Give it a few plays and take the time to realise the total musical genius. Jeff Lynne the most underrated person that has ever walked the face of the earth. I hope soon he will get the recognition the man totally deserves.
Quite simply the finest album Ive listend too! Each album they made is so different I would recommend buying them all. I cannot understand why ELO have been forgotten because it is a tragedy.
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on 5 July 2005
When this album was originally released in 1981 ELO were at the end of their period of immense popularity. However, the music was as good as ever and this album duly topped the charts unlike a couple of its more celebrated predecessors 'Out of the Blue' and 'A New World Record'. In fact, the previous outing for ELO was the hugely successful Xanadu Soundtrack which gave the band even more exposure.
Time is a concept album. You either love 'em or hate 'em. I happen to love this one despite one track, 'Yours truly 2095' containing some of the most excruitiating tongue in cheek lyrics ever written by Jeff Lynne; e.g. "She has an IQ of 1001, she's also a telephone".
The album kicks off with a distorted voice telling us that it has a message from another time. We're then into the big sound of the opening barnstormer 'Twilight' which was the second single taken from the album. Other highlights from what was side one of the original album are the wonderful space ballad 'Ticket to the moon' and 'The way life's meant to be' which sounds curiously like Lobos 'Me and you and a dog named Boo'. An instrumental 'Another heart breaks' follows before another of Jeff Lynnes songs about rain - 'Rain is falling'. The next track is 'At the end of the world' which is one of the weaker songs on the album. The ahead-of-it's time 'Here is the news' follows containing its plethora of radio jingle sounds (I SWEAR I can hear Kenny Everett somewhere in the mix....). '21st Century Man' follows and it's quite wonderful - almost like cruising above earth of the future in a slick, soundless space ship. ELO never sounded better - that drum sound is just so distinctive.
Getting to the close of the original album sees the mega-rocking hit single 'Hold on tight' pumping out the chords and Jeff sings a couple of verses in french. Finally, we're done and with a brief reprise of '21st Century man' the sound ends as if its been washed down a sonic plug hole.
We're now left with three bous tracks which were all b-sides. 'When time stood still' and 'Julie don't live here' backed 'Hold on Tight' and 'Twilight' respectively and both are firmly rooted in the 'Time' concept of the future. Both show the depth of quality of the songs that Jeff Lynne was writing and are really better than the average b-side. The final extra track, 'The Bouncer' is a rocky number that did not see the light of day until a few years later when put on the b-side of the 12" single 'Four little Diamonds' from the 'Secret Messages' album. Again, a great song.
ELO were priceless and this album released under the 'Niceprice' banner is an essentail purchase for the sound quality, extra tracks and sleeve notes with Jeff Lynnes brief commentaries on each song.
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