5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2007
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2007
Mike Oldfield fans sure have been dragged through the mud over the years, not unlike the man himself. This was the album where plenty of them gave up. I remember (as a teen fan with little money) eagerly buying this from Woolworths the first hour it was released, getting home, and nearly weeping when I heard it. The previous album 'Islands' had presented some anonymous Adult Orientated Rock songs, not at all what the fans of Tubular Bells etc bought Oldfield for: but at least side 1 had a long instrumental. However, 'Earth Moving' was an entire album of songs . . . a huge disappointment. Any of his instrumental B-sides had more integrity, more interest and musicianly skill, than the entire album. After listening a few times (a fan's duty) it went to the back of the collection.
I revisited it after buying a cheap copy recently. It was a pleasant suprise to hear a very well-crafted set of songs, sung extemely well by different voices. Production is very solid, despite the inevitable domination of 80s drums and lack of atmosphere that mars so many recordings from that time. The most dated track is a sub-Kylie track called 'Innocent', and I can't imaging anyone in the 00s wanting to hear it. And some metal-lite tracks like 'Runaway Son' are considered the very worst thing Oldfield has ever done. But there's quality in songs like 'Blue Night', 'Holy' and 'Bridge to Paradise' which, though anonymous, is perfectly acceptable. Do not consider buying this album if you want more of 'Hergest Ridge' or even 'Moonlight Shadow'. But if you liked the songs on 'Islands', you'll like these better. Luckily, 'Amarok' was his next album . . .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2012
I don't know why so many people disregard Mike Oldfield's lighter pop-albums, like Earth Moving. This is a fantastic collection of 10 songs, each offering a different atmosphere.
OK - one thing is his craftsmanship and the other is his Virgin contract at the time. According to the biography Mike Oldfield was forced to produce lighter, more accessible albums, usually against his will.
With Earth Moving he thought "OK, I'll do what they want". Result? A brilliant and coherent (unlike, say Islands) collection of 10 songs with various vocalists and different moods, all connected with a true Mike Oldfield spirit. His guitar really shines out in many tracks and, although sung by other vocalists who sometimes steal the show, this really sounds like Oldfield music.
What we have here? Holy is a love hymn sung by King Crimson's voice Adrian Belew, easily one of the most attractive songs here. we also have Innocent, a disco song about children and how they grow up, sung by Oldfield's then wife, Anita Hegerland (check the crazy video on youtube!), a rocking See the Light (sounding much like Shadow on the Wall, these same emotions, and a similar theme), a light-hearted tongue-in-cheek Runaway Son, R'n'B-inflected title track sung with a powerful voice of a certain Nikky B Bentley, and another song with Maggie Reilly, Blue Night, which recreates the mood of the legendary Moonlight Shadow.
In my opinion anyone who like Oldfield's 80's pop-oriented sound, will not be disappointed. Tubular Bells it ain't, but has a style of its own.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2003
Yes, there's a certain degree of naffness to this, as with most of Oldfield's song-heavy albums. For all that, I find it very listenable. There are three weak tracks on it: Hostage, Runaway Son and See The Light. The rest are pretty good, with the opener (Holy), the title track and the final, double-header track (Nothing/Bridge To Paradise) particularly strong. But most of all, the production on this album is excellent, giving most of the songs a rich, lush quality that make them come alive on a decent sound system. Play the CD on a weedy or thin-sounding system and you probably won't find much to write home about.
on 22 June 2013
Being a new but fairly enthusiastic Mike Oldfield fan, I decided to give this album a chance in spite of the criticism that it has received. Especially after having enjoyed the critically panned Islands album which preceded Earth Moving.
Overall, the album consists of high quality, instantly memorable pop songs. Even the two weakest tracks on the album - Hostage and See The Light - have something going for them and started to grow on me after playing them a few times. The strongest tracks on the album, in my opinion, are the extremely catchy Holy and Runaway Son.
My main criticism of the album is its length. Coming in at a miserly run-time of just over 40 minutes, it would have been nice if Mike had written a lengthy instrumental to include in the album, in order to round it out to about an hour's duration. My other criticism is that the longer cut of Innocent (about 5 and a half minutes), released as a single, should have been included instead of the abbreviated version.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2000
As a fairly long-standing Oldfield fan I have to say this is one of my favourite albums - especially as it also features Mark Williamson (who I like, even if you never heard his stuff). This isn't the typical Oldfield album - no long instrumental track, but it is lively, enjoyable, and Earth Moving is definitely the 1 track I would have to have on that mythical desert island!
on 27 February 2013
I heard this in the eighties on cassette and lost it. So i purchased it on cd a few weeks ago. I fully enjoyed all of this album and i would certainly recommend it. All the songs are good and you still get Mike Oldfields superb guitar riffs and solos. There are various singers on vocal duties. Maggie Reilly,Carol Kenyon, Nikki Bentley and Anita Hegerland etc.Giving mindblowing performances on their tracks. It sounds very eighties with nice use of synthesizers. Excellent album.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2011
Hi I bought this album when it first came out. Played it once and threw it away. Its just not Mike Oldfield to me. Its just 8 pop songs that might have been written by me! Dont purchase this if you like Ommadawn or Incantations. As an equally big Pink Floyd fan I got "The Final Cut" and also threw it away as it was a Roger Waters album not Pink Floyd, (too self indulgent, and down right miserable about a rotten childhood) This is him in his "Michael Oldfield" phase, along with "Heavens Open" To me it seems that he was trying to be a serious lyrisist. Stick to what you do best, and play the instruments please sir! His orchestrations on following albums such as "the Millenium Bell" and the final track of "Voyager" are brilliant to this reporter anyway. If its three miniute tracks of pop you like then give it a go. other wise Buyer Beware!
on 4 June 2013
quality and tracks take me back down memory lane, a joy to listen to, especially when relaxing with eyes shut and a glass of wine
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2001
Oldfield's delving into vocal songs provided some good results ("Moonlight Shadow", "To France"), but unfortunately, it left his music very shallow and his immense talents almost non-existent. "Earth Moving" is the only Oldfield album to be 100% vocal - all the songs are of a late-80s pop style that, despite all efforts, do sound bland and uninspired. On face value alone, "Holy" (sung by King Crimson's Adrian Belew) stands out quite favourably, as does his reunion with Maggie Reilly on the tasteful "Blue Night". Sadly, the rest of the tracks are mere satisfactory pop fluff - listenable and likeable but a sheer waste of Oldfield's talents, especially when you consider the masterpiece of "Amarok" was just 12 months around the corner. Still, considering the shallow commercialism of late-80's pop, "Earth Moving" certainly ranks above the chart-toppers in terms of musical quality. My recommendations are: if you prefer vocal works, try "Heaven's Open" where Mike finds a more consistent and personal approach which, against all odds, works better than on this CD. If you'd rather have a modernised bona-fide old-school Oldfield instrumental, you can do no wrong in buying "Amarok". Every musician has an off day, but at least this is something Oldfield has not repeated.