Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra
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Featuring ELO's biggest and most memorable hits, Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra is a brand new album featuring fresh re-recordings by Jeff Lynne, which sound much sharper and clearer than the old versions. It includes a never before heard bonus track, "Point of No Return". In a nod to ELO's 40th anniversary, a very special edition of "10538 Overture" is also featured.
Jeff Lynne's primary love is music, but telephones once ran it a close second. Quite aside from the soaring Telephone Line here, there are several references to operators and late-night calls. It’s a wonder the one new song doesn’t encounter heartbreak across a patchy broadband connection.
And technology is partly behind his decision to re-record the enduring hits of his much-loved outfit Electric Light Orchestra. He plays everything (bar the strings), and claims that while he still likes the old versions, there was scope to upgrade them in his state-of-the-art LA home studio with the benefits of his peerless production experience.
Those fearing he might restore them in a similarly wayward manner to that chosen by Kate Bush on her Director’s Cut collection can relax. The pomp-pop classics aren’t reinterpreted in any way that might upset purists or scare the horses. They sound much the same, which is more cause for relief than regret.
It’s like these songs have had their windows cleaned, a few crows’ feet ironed out. To Lynne, they have fresh presence. It’ll be intriguing to see whether this or the re-released "original" Best Of ultimately wins the ongoing chart duel.
ELO have always been compared to The Beatles (Lynne’s influence, and later, friends), which is only strange when you consider how much more colourfully imaginative a take on the Fab Four’s legacy they were than Oasis.
In fact, these songs now sound like siblings to Abba’s. They’re rich with hooks and smart arrangements, crammed with calls-and-responses, veiling their souls under veneers of sophistication.
So Mr. Blue Sky, Livin’ Thing and Evil Woman are as irresistible as ever, and Don’t Bring Me Down re-packs its percussive punch. Sadly there is no Wild West Hero, but the oft-overlooked Can’t Get It Out of My Head represents the melancholy ballad side of things.
Do Ya is a surprising choice (over Ma-Ma-Ma Belle) for the rock-riff quotient. Earlier numbers Showdown and 10538 Overture, having the most dust to blow away, sound most replenished: some may resent the polish. The previously unreleased Point of No Return is Tom Petty-styled and precision-tooled.
Hello again, ELO.
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1) jeff is very underated a singular genius but it would have been nice if he had reworked or expanded the songs somehow dont know why hes used some of the synths strings sounds as they are pretty cheap sounding and spoil the songs others are improved by the re recording as they sound pucnchier and hes singing is still lovely
2) would have been interested for he reasons for picking these songs in the notes
3) mr blue sky isnt mr blue sky without the end
i dont think any song is improved here as the originals stand the test of time which is testament to the skill and talent of all involved hence 3 stars as still prefer the originals and why include a non classic elo song as well actually i think long wave is a better album on the whole as its fresher somehow
think I'll play it as much as I thought as I own all the originals, I think if you've got a decent
hifi set up the quality of the originals is quite sufficient to my ears anyway I play Long Wave more
and am looking forward to new material 2013 and the extended Zoom, Armchair Theatre and the Live Zoom
(most of which is on the DVD!)
Welcome back Geoff, keep up the new stuff.