Out of the Blue
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THE ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA Out Of The Blue CD
"Why do people need a Beatles reunion", Paul McCartney once wondered aloud, "when they've already got ELO?" It was a fair question: Jeff Lynne's obsessive enthusiasm for the Sgt. Pepper's-era Fab Four saw him appropriate entire harmonic and melodic structures from his heroes--carefully substituting sawing cello lines for guitar riffs and sweetening already-friendly chords with syrupy layers of strings. The double-album Out Of The Blue was released the same year Britain was galvanised by punk--though you'd never know it. One could argue that Lynne simply wasn't aware of the tectonic shifts going on around him, such was his desire to craft his band's most definitive musical statement, including a four-part "Concerto for a Rainy Day"--precisely the kind of thing the Clash and the Sex Pistols wanted to abolish. Boasting a string of catchy, instantly memorable pop tunes, very much in the traditional ELO mould ("Turn To Stone", "Mr. Blue Sky"), it also saw, in "Sweet Talkin' Woman", a discreet acknowledgement of (gasp!) disco. How very modern. --Andrew McGuireSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I disagree with some of the negative reviews. 'Out of the Blue' is a superb album from start to finish, and one which has really stood the test of time, as it still sounds as fresh today as it did when it was released over 33 years ago. Written and produced and arranged in its entirety by Jeff Lynne, and recorded at Musicland Studios in Germany, this is an ambitious album with 17 extremely well crafted songs, including three of ELO's massive hits, 'Turn to Stone', 'Sweet Talking Woman', and 'Mr Blue Sky'.
The lush string and keyboards/synthesiser arrangements are faultless.
On the original vinyl release (now a single CD):
1. Turn to Stone
2. Its Over
3. Sweet Talking Woman
4. Across the Border
1. Night In the City
4. Believe Me Now
5. Stepping Out
Concerto for a Rainy Day
1. Standin' in the Rain
2. Big Wheels
3. Summer and Lightning
4. Mr Blue Sky
1. Sweet is the Night
2. The Whale
3. Birmingham Blues
4. Wild West Hero
All 17 tracks are superb and there is not a weak moment on the album. Pick of the bunch: 'Turn To Stone', 'Sweet Talkin' Woman', 'Night In the City', 'Starlight', and the four tracks that make up the 'Concerto for a Rainy Day'. These are absolutely brilliant and the rest of the set comes close to matching them. 'The Whale' is the best instrumental track ELO ever did and 'Big Wheels' is their finest ballad ever.Read more ›
As other here have remarked, there are two ways to view this, and they depend on whether or not you already have a playable copy. If you do, you have to want the little book and the model spaceship - which are both nicely done - because the remastered sound is nothing remarkable. Not that it's bad, just not a reason in itself for replacing the copy you already have. The three extra tracks are the sort you will play once and once only - two are mere curiosities and 'Latitude 88 North', while it may have been written at the same time as the album songs, was recorded more than 20 years later (Lynne explains this in his notes) and sounds like a Traveling Wilburys effort.
So that deals with the reissue part. What's left is one of the great musical creations of any period. Ignore the words - Lynne never had any great pretensions to be a lyricist - and soak up those fabulous melodies, harmonies, cadences and layers and layers of sound. It's (still) fashionable to disparage 'Concerto for a Rainy Day' but I love it - especially the long instrumental introduction and, most of all, 'Big Wheels'. As Steve says below, it's wonderfully constructed - although you might find a certain irony in using so many people to perform a song about loneliness. It's up there with Siegfried's funeral scene in 'Gotterdammerung' for dramatic deployment of gorgeous, juicy chords - although it is, of course, pure coincidence that the discarded section from Wild West Hero contains a reference to falling into the fire!
This is frustrating as 'Out of the Blue' warranted so much more. It would have been wonderful to have heard the early versions of the songs contained in the album, to have heard just how the orchestral music and other elements were brought together in such a magnificent way, all prior to the advent of editing suites and computer software available now. One suspects that Lynne considers the album complete, not requiring an exposure of the 'inner workings' of the material. After 30 years Lynne has very reason to be proud of the record, but if such material was not made available for this release one wonders if it ever will be.
This release has apparently been remastered, and here I would sound a note of caution. A direct comparison with the earlier issue 'Out of the Blue' does appear to reveal a slight 'thinning' of the sound on the new issue, particularly noticeable with the bass underpining many of the songs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good to see Jeff Lynne's ELO return after so long. So many melodious tunes that still sound fresh and even better than the first time round. Saw him at the O2, masterpiece. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer