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106 of 112 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent update of a classic
Despite some reservations, I bought this blind on the first day of release since I've always been a fan of the original and have got all the different versions that's been released, the original vinyl of course (bought some 25 years ago), the remastered CD bonus track edition, the 7-disc collector's edition, the ULLAdubULLA remix albums, the live DVD and I've also seen...
Published 21 months ago by Benjamin Dover

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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm slightly confused........
Having grown up with the original version, and then seen the tour a few years ago, I was looking forward very much to Jeff Wayne's New Generation Version. I realised that I needed to approach the new album without my biased opinion of the album that was a very formative part of my childhood. I was particularly looking forward to the development of the story, which Jeff...
Published 20 months ago by Mr. R. Dawson-Butterworth


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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm slightly confused........, 3 Dec 2012
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Having grown up with the original version, and then seen the tour a few years ago, I was looking forward very much to Jeff Wayne's New Generation Version. I realised that I needed to approach the new album without my biased opinion of the album that was a very formative part of my childhood. I was particularly looking forward to the development of the story, which Jeff Wayne had alluded to in the pre-release interviews.

Hence my confusion - where is it? This is basically a re-recording of the original with new singers and actors and new musical interpretation. Albeit there is some updating of the dialogue - the story content is exactly the same. (before anyone has a go at me - yes, I know that it's based on the book!)

So the good points - I think Jeff Wayne has updated the original score very sensitively with 85% of the original musical ideas present. The new additions are well placed and I particularly like the incorporation of dance music styles (even some Dub Step!). Gary Barlow's performance is particularly good - both in keeping with Justin Hayward's original, but also bringing his own unique trademarks.
Liam Neeson's voice is a wise choice to replace Richard Burton and his tonal qualities work well. I can't help feeling though that his dialogue feels slightly rushed, and therefore is a bit lacking in the potential drama that I know he can deliver.

And the bad points: For me, the drama is the main ingredient lacking on the New Generation version. I don't know the process of how Jeff picked the New Gen. recording artists - the singing is on the whole very good, but I'm not convinced by the acting - particularly in the dialogue between the main songs (by the characters - not Liam Neeson). Whether it is because I'm 33 years older than when I first heard the original version (now middle aged, not a child!) but this doesn't have the sinister menace that the original version had. There are some lines in the dialogue which the actors simply throw away as an after thought e.g. "giant machines that walked. They attacked us. They wiped us out." Sorry Ricky, you really should have done a re-take!

So to sum up - an interesting re-work of the original album with some good instrumental and vocal performances, but not what I was expecting conceptually. I can't help feeling it falls between two stools - it isn't really the development of the original that I thought it would be and yet the original with any of its imperfections felt like it had more drama, I'm not sure that New Gen. brings enough freshness to the party. In a world of more dramatic film/entertainment experience (than in the late '70s), this feels a bit lame.

I do take my hat off to Jeff and the team for what they have achieved here musically and technically - some great sounds. But I'm not quite sure it was necessary......where is the development of the story you were talking about?

Sorry guys, I so wanted to really like this, but I'm a bit disappointed. If this was software, it would be version 2.0 - a new graphic interface with a more modern feel, but having lost some of the nice features of version 1.0 and not really introducing many new features.
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106 of 112 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent update of a classic, 26 Nov 2012
Despite some reservations, I bought this blind on the first day of release since I've always been a fan of the original and have got all the different versions that's been released, the original vinyl of course (bought some 25 years ago), the remastered CD bonus track edition, the 7-disc collector's edition, the ULLAdubULLA remix albums, the live DVD and I've also seen the live show on the first tour in 2006, so I should be well qualified to comment :-)

On the whole I think it's a great addition to all the other versions. The reservation I had was in particular the choice of Gary Barlow to replace Justin Hayward for the sung thoughts of the journalist, however he actually carries himself off without too much embarrassment, but only because he manages to imitate Justin Hayward's performance quite well. Joss Stone makes it her own and her performance as a more gutsy Beth is a nice touch and brings her character up-to-date. Liam Neeson is engaging and in top form throughout, and very brave considering that he knew comparisons to Richard Burton would be inevitable.

The rest of the performances are a bit middle-of-the-road by various youngish talent. Alex Clare steps into Chris Thomspon's shoes as "the voice of humanity", Maverick Sabre takes on Phil Lynott's part as Parson Nathanial and Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs' frontman) is the artilleryman originally played by David Essex. I wish Jeff Wayne had stuck with the actor Alexis James as the artilleryman from the first tour, he was brilliant, and the powerful vocals of Chris Thompson from the same cast is sorely missed, but I suppose the purpose of this "new generation" version is to appeal to younger listeners by using contemporary pop/rock stars instead, in fact that's exactly what the original did back in the day.

The music itself is just the right mix of new and old, I was worried it would lose too much of the original "sound" like some of the remix versions which are far out and doesn't really engage the listener like the original did. However, here I think Jeff Wayne has struck the right note and it's refreshing to hear a reinterpretation with the sound of a modern production rather than a remix for once.

If like me, you've listened to the original so many times that you can recall every minute detail in your head and have grown a little weary of it, I highly recommend this version to alleviate the overexposure of the original. Apart from the original and this "new generation" version, the only other version that really cuts it is the "LIVE ON STAGE!" DVD from the 2006 tour with Russell Watson, Alexis James, Tara Blaise plus the original artists Justin Hayward and Chris Thompson. (Avoid the other live version with Jennifer Ellison as Beth, she demolishes the part.)

So, to conclude, four stars and not five since there are better versions out there, however that won't stop me from listening to this new version from now on since it's a great update with a lot of new and interesting production ideas and it's a nice change from listening to the original. The last thing worth mentioning is that this double CD comes as a beautiful miniature hardback 50-page illustrated booklet with tastefully updated artwork, all in the style of the original LP booklet.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Update, But Don't Replace The Old One Just Yet..., 1 Dec 2012
By 
Michael Smith ""SAY HELLO TO GOOD TIMES"" (Norfolk, UK, in a little village named Crimplesham...) - See all my reviews
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I only recently purchased the original version, and at 22 am only just starting to get into classic rock, and as a really big fan of the novel and film adaptations, decided to give the 1978 recording a shot. All i can say is that it is a masterpiece, and one of the finest musical experiences i have had in my life. But i had some reservations: i don't like David Essex. His acting left a bit to be desired, he sounded like a wimp on the first disc, and a fool on the second. In the novel, his character had good intentions, but lacked a certain social awareness. Personally, for me Ricky Wilson does an excellent job with this new version, I believe in the character of the artilleryman so much more, and Brave New World no longer makes me cringe.

Now, some of the other adjustments left me cold at first, but im so pleased to note the extra dialogue is a fine improvement, and i like Liam Neeson just as much as the original Richard Burton. The sonic updates work a treat, and Joss Stone makes an all round gutsier Beth. How well does Gary Barlow fare? To be honest, he does well. My only critique is that he sounds no different to Justin Hayward. But that's okay because in all honesty, it still sounds beautiful.

Musically, this remains faithful to the original. No complaints there, and i also love the piano parts of the Red Weed sections, as well as the subtle use of sound editing and effects.

There is one area however where other reviewers frustrate me, and that involves some of the new sounds embraced by Jeff Wayne for this recording: the use of dance beats and techno. One reviewer has stated that this is an update for the "chav generation". Funny, really, considering that the original was recorded during the disco era, and thus utilized elements of that now much derided genre. Fair enough, modern music is not to everybody's taste, but the more modern sonic textures used on this version are tastefully incorporated, and thus justify this releases claim to be a "New Generation" update. For me, I love the original because it sounds so of it's time, and yet it still works brilliantly today! But this is a 2012 release, it isn't packaged as being a replacement, it isn't designed to appeal to older fans, it's the same old ideas but now designed to appeal to those who may hesitate to pick up an "old album". That's not a sign of bad taste on behalf of the listener, it's personal preference. And I would completely understand all the criticism if this was a watered down rehash of old, worn out ideas, but this is not so! This is still complex musically, often moreso than before, and the lush production values keep much from the listener on first listen, but repeated listens give away more and more details. Some of the new ideas are clever, and whilst new, are not inappropriate. A straightforward re-recording with the novelty of having new singers would be disappointing. But this isn't, and for that we can be grateful.

Moving onwards now...

For me, the artwork is stunning, and the image of the red weed is far more in touch with the novels original descriptions, whereas the 1978 edition featured a cartoonish image of a ruined town swamped in red jelly. I adore the cover artwork, and the new font is beautiful. For this album, the artwork has always been an essential part of the album experience, and we have not been let down.

Now, in conclusion, I would like to mention that i don't dismiss criticism of this album. Many people grew up with the original, and they have a right to dislike this new version. This sounds like a 2012 recording, and admittedly this does clash with some of the atmosphere created by the music as it was in 1978. However, in no way do i view this as a lesser work. I'm very impressed with this update, and will treat it as a companion to the original album, and hope that other people of my age embrace this album as much as i have. I wouldn't use it to replace the original, which remains the better of the two, but neither shall I dismiss this as an overegged pudding.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, 21 May 2013
I listened to some of the tracks on Youtube because I'm a big Kaiser Chiefs fan, and was interested to hear Ricky Wilson as the Artilleryman. I bought it soon after, and have not been able to stop listening!
I know that most of the reviews here are by people who are die-hard fans of the original, but I'm only 18, and had never heard the original, so, even if you don't like the New Generation, surely it's a good way to get the younger generations to hear WOTW?
Personally, I like Liam Neeson as the Narrator, he may sound a bit dry, but he is playing a journalist after all! Joss Stone is great as Beth, and Maverick Sabre's vocals really surprised me (in a good way) when I first heard it. I've never been a big fan of Gary Barlow, but his voice really suits the part, especially in Forever Autumn. I enjoy Alex Clare as the voice of humanity, and although Ricky Wilson may not be the greatest voice actor, I love Brave New World, and love how energetic and passionate he sounds - perfect for the Artillerman.

All in all, I really enjoy this and, although it is definitely not the same as the original, it's amazing in it's own right!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected., 20 April 2013
In 1978 , I was 21 y/o and absolutly blown away by the original version of WotW.
Fast forward to 2013 , I have been bought a copy of the New Generation WotW. Not an album I would have bought for myself , truly believing that nothing could match the original.

On first play I instantly remarked that Liam Neesons voice wasn't half as good as Richard Burtons had been. Within 10 minutes of listening , I stopped comparing the two and settled down to enjoy the new version.
And that is the secret. Don't compare , enjoy.

The music is still the top quality we've come to know and love , the vocal performances are fairly good. I prefer Justin Hayward over Gary Barlow , but think Ricky Wilson does a better job than David Essex did.

It's better than I expected , 4 stars from me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disapointingly rushed, 2 Dec 2012
Compared to the original. To me it lost the story telling capacity. The fear and passion weak in the narration gone.
Constant music as Liam Neeson narrated the text with speed.(pointless) No way as good as Richard Burton.
Pfft should have stuck with the original. A classic.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Completely pointless, 27 Nov 2012
By 
S. P. Long "Simon Long" (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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I'm a big fan of the original 1978 version of "The War Of The Worlds" - it was the first album I ever bought, I loved it at the time and it still stands up to listening today - one of progressive rock's milestone recordings, with superb performances from such luminaries as Richard Burton and Phil Lynott.

So I approached this new version with a degree of trepidation, and a lot of curiosity - what would an update of the original 35 years on actually be? Well, after a thorough listen, I'm afraid the answer is "an inferior carbon copy". The differences between this and the original are tiny - some small changes to instrumentation, a few extra paragraphs of narration and some extra sound effects. That's it - that's the sum total of what has changed. Even the vocalists are all quite clearly imitating the delivery of the artists on the original recording - Maverick Sabre seems to be openly aping Phil Lynott's manner of speaking, and Liam Neeson is doing his best Burton impression, albeit with a slight Irish burr as opposed to Welsh. I'll admit that, for me, Rickie Wilson (of The Kaiser Chiefs) slightly improves on David Essex's original version of Brave New World, but that alone isn't enough to justify this album.

Really, it's a pointless attempt to bolster Jeff Wayne's pension pot. He might sell a few copies to fans of Joss Stone, Maverick Sabre and the Kaiser Chiefs, but it isn't really a style of music that will actually appeal to said fans, and fans of the original will surely just wonder why they should listen to this when they have the original anyway.

The original "War Of The Worlds" has stood the test of time, as the ongoing interest in it (tour, re-releases etc) shows - 35 years on, people still remember it. I'm prepared to bet that in 35 more years, the original will still be fondly thought of - this version, however, will be completely (and quite rightly) forgotten about. If you don't have the original, buy it instead of this version - if you do have the original, there's nothing here worth bothering with.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing!!!!!, 29 Nov 2012
By 
Mr (SOUTHEND ON SEA, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds - The New Generation (MP3 Download)
Unfortunately this is not a touch on the original.
The story is flat and weak with Liam Neeson and other character voices. Richard Burton and Essex told the story with passion and when required fear in their voices.
Musically in places the guitar solos I feel are a little unnecessary.
One positive I will say is that Gary Barlow has done "Forever Autumn" justice.
I'm sorry to say that I will be shelving this version and returning to my much loved original.
This New Generation is unlikely to last the test of time, so if you don't own "War of the Worlds", buy the Original 1978 version.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Nathaniel NOOOOO - AKA Your not really going out in that shirt are you dad?, 12 Dec 2012
By 
Oh dear! Where do we start with this? At the begining perhaps? I first heard WOTW in 1978, when it was played to me by my Aunt & Uncle. I was instantly captivated by the story and have enjoyed the occasional listen (at least twice a year) over that 34 year period so I know the original version pretty much inside out. So it was with an open mind that I approached this updated version. I think what one needs to remember here is Jeff Wayne probably hasn't tried to 'improve' the original just update or modernise it. Not that it needs modernisiation in my opinion but this isn't about the original its about this. I didn't listen to it to compare it to the original, which was hard but I wanted to try and judge it on its own merit, perhaps trying to be a newcomer to the experience. So whats the veridct. Well the title of my review sums it up. Its like when you where a kid and your Dad was going out on the Razz and wearing something entirely innapropriate, trying to be trendy but failing miserably. I say my dad I'm probably summing myself up here now! The 'updates' to the album consist of the occasional bit of 'techno', which is something I'm not adverse to. I was brought up on House/Disco/techno so have got an ear for it. This album tries too hard, there's random 'electro' noises, echo's and pauses which are entirley unecessary. Its like someones very poor interpretation of how 'this new techno music' should sound. A bit like Richard Madely meets the chemical brothers..

The characters....
Liam Neeson - The Journalist. Awful, drab, dull, dispassionate, think Qui-Gon on tramadol. Again not comparing to Richard Burton, that wouldn't be fair but there's so many better voice actors that could of narrated this.
Gary Barlow - The singing voice of the journalist/Ogilvy. I'm a Barlow fan and he does a good job of the singing HOWEVER Forever Autumn is a song of despair Gary, not heartbreak. It's not slush. He totally slushes it. It will be the new wrist slashers anthemn!
Ricky Wilson - Artillery Man. I like the Kaiser chiefs they are good. Ricky however is not a good artillery man I'm afraid. I think someone else on here quotes that he sounds far too chirpy for someone who's just had his whole batallion burnt alive by a heat ray totting martian. Brave new world is flat and boring when he sings it. Sorry Ricky it just is.
Maverick Sabre - Parson Nathaniel. Is he a good Nathaniel? No Nathaniel no. I'm sure he's very good at what he does but he sounds like Rasta Mouse. No disrespect, I like rasta mouse, well i don't but its for no other reason then its a crap programme. Oh yeah and the devils voice.. Erm.. They've also added some calypso to the Spirit of Man, which would be nice if it wasn't about a priest's decent into madness and his wifes heart wrenching pleads for him to come back to his senses. I wanted Carmen Miranda to do the next bit to complete the street festival feel, which leads me onto...
Joss Stone - Beth. Christ. Mental Joss. She's really good til she sings. I was really pleased that she'd stopped putting on an american accent to narrate Beth and she does a great job of that until again she sings. It's just out of place, brash, deep, nasty Yuck...
Alex Clare - Thunderchild... Now I like Alex. I think he does a good rendition, has a few of the out of place noises added here and there and the occasional unecessary echo but asides from that I'm liking it.

To sum up its dire. It's got 2 stars for thunderchild and having enough of the original in there to make me sing along and want to listen to the '78 version again. Hang the shirt up Dad and be comfortable in your own clothes, they look good :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the original., 10 Jan 2013
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This version is not as good as the original. Although the singing and auditory are well presented they do not have the “edge” of the original sounding more of a happy day out rather than at risk of losing their lives. Julie Covington and Phil Lynott in the original produce a gravitas just not repeated on the me album. The hard book presentation of the CD cover is a nice touch but overall file this version away and play the original album.
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