George Starostin's Reviews



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<> (14.06.2001)

Electric Light Orchestra are absolutely one of the most underrated and misunderstood bands of all time, as George so truthfully stated. I think the band's reputation is their own fault, however, for all of that sci-fi imagery and crazy spaceships, not to mention that ill-fated work on the Xanadu soundtrack, really has nothing to do with the band's music. To put it simply, this is one of the best pop bands ever. Jeff Lynne wrote some of the most lovely and catchy melodies ever recorded. Look, I know that this band rips the Beatles off blatantly, but I personally enjoy them even more than The BEatles at times. Lynne's voice is like a mix of McCartney, Lennon, and Bob Dylan. He has a truly great voice. Anyway, my reviews are below. I don't have a few of the albums yet though.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (28.06.2001)

I think that all of us overrate ELO's underestimation. Just look, on this page there are about 30 comments and more will be coming soon. Besides, ELO was rather successful in commercial aspect so I suppose there is no reason in saying that Jeff Lynne was completely forgotten. I mean, yes, he was overshadowed and we were all brainwashed that Lynne was an unsuccessful popster (though, it's completely his fault - Discovery and Xanadu (yeah, even though I like the album, I admit that it sounds nothing like classic E.L. Orchestra) missteps were obvious). But everyone should agree that there were much more forgotten artists.

ELO's main merit is that they stayed all through 70s without changing their really original style (where could you find another orchestra, I ask you?) and what is more interesting they never did a bad album till Secret messages. In fact, the percent of filler isn't so big as many think. About 95% of early stuff is completely listenable and, moreover, catchy. It's all due to the fantastic harmony of fiddles, cellos and electric guitar - none of them overshadowed each other. Those were the days, man....

If you want my opinion, ELO disbanded after Out of blue album. The orchestra (7 men) became a pop band (4 (and sometimes even 3) men!). Sad but true... Zoom album will be the last one, I suppose. After such a big break, Lynne produces an album which brings nothing new, just a sad feeling that dinosaurs will die soon. Strange, a week ago I was so glad to hear a really good album but by now I realised that Zoom limited Jeff's style (which was already poor, btw). What now? Mr. Lynne has no lucrative place to go now.

Damien Paynter <> (26.09.2001)

The first time i'd heard of ELO was in my Dad' car at the age of 15 in 1990 (not in their prime of course) I loved the catchy tunes and the mixture of heavy drums, synthesizers, guitars and orchestra, very original indeed. My only disappointment was the dreadful Secret Messages and Balance of Power both lacklustre and I would never buy, however, no composer is perfect and I do admire Mr Lynne's talent. I saw ELO 2 in Australia in 1995 and I hope to see them again but with Jeff at front without the dreadful Moment of Truth hogwash. My favourite albums are Time and Out of the Blue. I don't think Xanadu is half bad either.

Robert Smith <> (12.03.2003)

Ah, here ye, here ye, this here is a band that my classically untrained ears take a real liking to. You gonna give me pompous, overblown arrangements? Lay it on me, brother. You gonna rip off the Beatles in a way that Brian Wilson only dreamed of. I can take whatever you got. Okay, so maybe I'm coming off a bit pretensious here, but how can you not when dealing with a band like Electric Light Orchestra. Look at the band's name, for Christ's sake. Anyhow, I may develop a reputation as a critic with little class by saying this, but I love these pompous overblown things when they are done right. Oh yeah, on a rainy day, if I need a lift, am I going to put on Exile On Main Street or Blonde On Blonde? No. Am I going to put on some Sgt Pepper's or Revolver? Maybe. I mean, no day is complete without at least one Lennon/McCartney tune played on your stereo. Anyhow, my point being is that overblown music makes this here critic feel good. Am I ashamed to like Queen's A Night At The Opera or Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell? Hell no. Do I think I should dispose of my Days Of Future Passed or Eldorado LP's? Are you NUTS?! No, dear readers, Jeff Lynne was a genius of craft. He wrote great melodies, which helped, but he did it in a way that you didn't care about the five cello solos and choirs so thick, that Phil Spector would be proud of old Jeffy. And those lyrics? Um, let me not divulge too much on those, because any fool will tell you that was never Jeff's main forte, and if he ever claimed it to be, he'd be laughed off the face of the earth, and put in exile with Justin Hayward, Roy Wood, and all those other eccentric clowns no longer worth giving a damn about. And Richard Tandy was an excellent keyboardist, giving just the right feel to everything Jeff wanted in his arrangements. And, of course, those drums. Man, did Jeff like his drums loud. His skills as a producer were always questionable, but hey, if I want to put on A New World Record while my friends are talking about how godlike this Eminem fella is, I'll do it without shame. But I will puke on anybody who ever makes me listen to either Secret Messages, Xanadu, or Balance Of Power again. Shame on you, Jeff. And I do mean puke in the same way that Phil Spector puked all over the Beatles's Let It Be album, but that is for another place, dear friends. Let me just close with a piece of Lynne's poetry, shall we. Bow your heads and close your eyes. "Chooka chooka ho la ley...Chooka chooka ho la ley..." I couldn't have said it better myself.

<> (18.10.2003)

Hello, George. Your site is amazing. I think you re right about underrating ELO, and I think you have slightly underrated ELO too. Jeff Lynne is pure genius, his filler of beautiful melodies in such great album as New World Record is unsurpassed. For me NWR is as wonderful as, say, Before And After Science. Hooks, hooks, and hooks, which you're very fond of. Gleeful lyrics, nice singing and arrangement. The best of art-pop-rock. Imho, this album is outstanding in your list of albums deserved rating 13 and may be rated 14. Eldorado and Face The Music is also superb, they surely deserves 13. Songs you condemn ('Rockaria', 'Fire on High') I find if not perfect, but good and energetic, but by your very very strict standards, they must suck and cost album one point. And what about later ELO s albums? May be shouldn t pay much attention for shitty albums as Secret Messages, but this can t spoil achievements of ELO 70s. Exceedingly good these ELO were, for me it is four-star band! , one of my favourite bands+

<> (11.04.2004)

ELO is one of the best bands ever ELO disbanded in 1986 cause the light was fading gone was the era of rock and orchestra gone was ELO for good

Steve <> (23.01.2006)

Proudly owning every album (yes, the ELO II also) and having the pleasure of finding rare versions, 12" singles, DJ use only singles, etc. I always have a CD with me of ELO music. My first experience of the Orchestra was a friend letting me listen to the track "Jungle" on "Out Of The Blue", what a funny song with all the animal sounds and Tarzan swinging by! That day started me down the road I'm on now!! The influence of their music goes on today... my 15 year old daughter recently heard "Do Ya" on a TV ad, and lets not forget the short lived TV show "LAX" with "Mr. Blue Sky" for the theme! As mentioned before by George, you can hear Jeff Lynne in so much now with his collaborations every where... Petty, Harrison, Dylan, to name a few, I love "THAT" sound. Owning the ZOOM concert DVD, I only wish I was able to see them prior to canceling the remainder of the dates. Thank you George for an excellent ELO resource to educate the public that there IS more than a "Sweet Talkin Woman" on a "Telephone Line"!


Eric Rogozin <> (13.06.2001)

One of the best ELO albums! SUPERCATCHY songs, glorious songwriting abilities, true craft and charisma of Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan. It's art!  Distinguished ELO's mastership of hooks begins here with "10538 Overture"(beautiful charming Beatlesque harmony) and goes appreciable through all these wonderful songs. I'd like to mention beautiful instrumental "First Movement", which is marvellous in its own way. Innovative album too. I'll prefer No Answer over the overrated Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (28.06.2001)

From the very beginning it was clear that the main fiddle in orchestra was Mr. Lynne. Yes, Roy contributes about 50% of all songs on here but his tracks are 1) not so catchy as Lynne's and 2) different. I mean that it's very easy to define who wrote which song on here cause Roy is more sentimental and 'medieval', if you know what I mean, of course. Heck, you can define a writer even by the song title! Just look: 'Battle of Martson' and '1st movement' -- it's so obvious.... Surely, the main hit off the album is 'Overture 10538', experimental song which deserves all the praise you give it. 'Look at me now' is typical Move's song but this time it lacks instruments. Retro number 'Mr. Radio' is catchy, too (it has typical Lynne's hooks!). And I like 'Manhattan rumble', highly underrated instrumental. That's all about highlights, I suppose. As for dark spots, there's only one, so don't you worry - just skip 'Battle of Marston' and you'll enjoy this album, believe me. Though, No answer is original, it's not that groundbreaking as many say. Guys keep the good balance between experimentalism and catchiness.

Victor Prose <> (04.08.2001)

I have to compose this entirely upon recollection, because I recently sold my copy of this to make way for the remastered edition, but I do remember being exceedingly disappointed upon my first listen, my only exposition to ELO having been "10538 Overture" and the rest of the Strange Magic Hits compilation. But a few more times into the CD player and several highlights in my mind arise amongst the throwaway experimental exercises. "Whisper in the Night" is a beautiful, 1920's style ballad, "10538", with its slicing cellos and great vocals, is the best thing on here, and "Mr. Radio" is a passably good Lynne pop piece that's one of the more tolerable things on the album. "Look at me Now" is good as a song, but it doesn't just emulate "Eleanor Rigby", it's a blatant ripoff, and obviously Roy Wood was a tad to impressed with the Beatles' previous works at the time to try to be original. The production on this record is pretty weak, too. But there's no denying its landmark status. A solid 7.

Oleg <> (02.01.2001)

I think that one is a little bit overrated.Of course,songs and instrumentals are good,but melodies suck sometimes-they aren't memorable,aren't catchy.The only possible exception is "10538 Overture".But it is not my favourite track on the album.The real gem is "Battle Of Martson Moor",whatever you may say.I really like that atmosphere and what a cellos and violins,man!

Gerard Nowak <> (16.11.2002)

It was a nasty blow for me, a fan of The Move and Boulders, to find out that the worst Lynne song beats any Wood song here. That is, in my opinion, even "Nellie" beats "Look at Me Now", though the latter is definitely the closests to The Move standards (if we forget the horrible bag-pipes solo). Seems that the whole idea behind the album actually killed it. As for "The Battle", it's Roy playing drums on it, as Bev Bevan refused to feature on such a stupid track.

Jon <> (26.03.2003)

I would rethink giving a blatant "I am the Walrus" ripoff the title of best song here. The little "ah ahs", the descending riff, the cello breaks, slightly-distorted high vocals, hell, even the little "crying" intonations are imitated. If you're looking for perpetuating Beatlesian orchestra obscenities without the burden of originality, that song is for you.

Bob Josef <> (22.05.2006)

Unfortunatley, it looks like these boys didn't have quite what it took to do prog, but they do make an noble attempt. But there are a few problems. First, while they said they want to pick up from where "I Am the Walrus" left off, some of the songs sound like they picked up from where "Honey Pie" left off. Namely, the annoyingly old-timey "Nellie Takes Her Bow," "Mr. Radio" and "Manhattan Rumble." Really irritating and cloying, without being overly catchy or approached with the same sense of humor McCartney had with similar material. I don't hate the "Battle of Marston Moor" quite as much as you do, except for Wood's rather dumb poetic intro. Leave that stuff to Graeme Edge, Roy.

More generally, I also have problems with the production. It seems that the arrangements are dominated by cellos and don't have enough violins, which results in a dark, murky sound that's difficult to listen to. They certainly had a ways to go to hit their stride with orchestration. "Look at Me Now" does have a memorable melody. I enjoy the two side openers the most. "First Movement" strongly resembles Mason Williams' 60's single "Classical Gas," but I really like Wood's guitar work. And everyone seems to universally agree that "10538 Overture" is the peak track, linking the pop and the prog and cementing ELO's future. I always thought that the lyrics were about the death of an escaped prisoner -- true?


Sergey Zhilkin <> (25.04.2001)

This record is really wierd and, what more, it's a great mess. So you have to keep this two little things while listening to it.

I really don't understand the reasons for slashing 'Roll over Beethoven' cause to it seems to be a)funny, b)inventive and c) commercically suitable. Yeah, I know that the track wins only because of strong Beethoven's (song? track?) composition but I really love these switches between classic and rock music.

As for the other tracks, they are tolerable even in worst case: 'Momma' with 'Boogie2' really stand out stand out.

And what are the reasons for calling ELO2 a prog-rock record? Melody just don't change that much in most songs!

Oh, I nearly forgot about the rating - *** 1/2.

CSR <> (28.09.2001)

I rather like this record and consider this the ELO experimental album which contains the longest running songs of any of their other records. I have to admit when I first listened to this album (I already had most of the "prerequisite" ELO records from the late seventies) I thought this doesn't sound anything like the Jeff Lynn I know. Even his voice sounded raw and unrefined unlike his smoother and higher pitch I had grown used to even in his earlier Move recordings. I agree with your criticism about the length of the songs on this album, there is a lot of repetition which I attribute to Jeff trying to stretch them out over two album sides because he wasn't sure which direction he was going. He achieves better results at writing shorter tunes and linking them with short instrumental segues as in later albums. This is a very dissonant sound for Jeff but not as much as some of the tunes on No Answer such as "Queen of the Hours" or ""Manhattan Rumble", and it is interesting to hear another side of a band which was know more for up beat and catchy tunes on the radio, albeit not preferred. As for the intro on "Roll Over Beethoven" I think it actually is a joke. I know many times when this song came on the radio and other people listening go "What the hell is this? Is this the classical station?" just before it goes into the Chuck Berry opening riff that everyone knows. Just sort of a silly thing not meant to be clever but I kind of think it is. Overall I give ELO II an 8 for the attempt.

Oleg <> (02.01.2001)

This one is really underrated.I think it is one of the best ELO albums ever.Starts with the greatest ELO song ever-"In The England Town",which rules extremely-it is catchy,memorable,heavy and lyrics are great."Momma" is the onnly weak spot on here-boring tune,but still great.Oh,"Roll Over Bethoven"...This onbe could really be an apogee of ELO formula:"classic+rock",but there's too many rock'n'roll sound which I really love,though original version is much better."From The Sun To The World" is really great too and "Kuiama" is really peace of art(not peace of shit,as you may tell,George).It is a really sereously epic which much better from all of these Yes(for example-there are many crappy prog-epics except Yes ones too)crappy epics like "Close To The Edge".


<> (14.06.2001)

A really solid album, although it is really patchy and contains some definate filler. However, no fan of music from this era should be without the song 'Showdown' in their record collection. I don't know how he did it, but somehow Lynne and the band managed to create a track that is once funky, gorgeous, and INSANELY, INSANELY catchy. The band was certainly growing on this album, and songs like 'Bluebird is Dead' reveal their knack for wonderful pop ballads. However, some of the instrumentals are just way too bombastic, and the Grieg cover just can't be taken seriously. A 7.5/10.

Eric Rogozin <> (13.06.2001)

Wonderful! Good lyrical music by the fantastic band Electric Light Orchestra. What to say else? I really don't know.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (12.07.2001)

I quote your review, George: 'Can you imagine it - Rolling Stone panning an album for NOT being enough pretentious? Oh man, those were the days...'

Actually, I can simply understand Rolling Stone. Now can't you see that 'On the third day' is very, VERY humble effort? It's so humble that a casual listener can't even detect all the wonderful melodies hidden on there -- Jeff Lynne has to be a bit more pretentious. But he understood it later (though, Jeff went too far with that idea). But, well, no matter, After the third listen I finally dug the album.

So there is finally more or less 'classic' ELO record with some boring tracks thrown in just for a diversity. I surely mean 'Ocean breakup' and its reprise. The other stuff is truely classic (maybe except 'Dreaming of 4000').

No answer was a kind of experimental record, ELO 2 was even more experimental and both of 'em weren't reaching the level of ELO sound - catchy and multi-instrumental. On the third day, however, has it all. Yeah, and it doesn't have simple hooks as Out of the blue or Face the music had. Sound of this album is rather unique in sense of complexity (mainly because that there're 7 members) - I mean, Lynne could reach that quality only on his Eldorado. Just look - 'Bluebird' is a weird song with almost inaudible vocal (at least I don't get a word from what Jeff sings), 'Showdown' is simply beautiful (love those cellos!) and 'Daybreaker' with its upbeat melody is complex'n'catchy as hell. 'Ma-ma-ma belle' is, oh my my, what an angry rocker, stealing a riff from 'Do ya', but nobody from the band and devoted fans seems to notice it. And as for 'In the hall of the Mountain King', sure its by-book and inferior to The Who's version but, man, I love it, especially the drumwork (though, even ten Bev Bevans (TEN Bev Bevans?!!! Are you crazy? This is TEN ELOs Part two!!!) can't compare with one Keith Moon (though, he's dead and Bevan is still alive - that's a lesson, try to be a more humble and unprofessional drummer (or, better, don't be a drummer at all and keep producing albums just like Jeff Lynne (oh, sorry for all these endless brackets - I have an insomnia and I have nothing to do (so the best thing to do is just sit and put as many brackets as you want (ever tried counting brackets to fall asleep? It's just like listening to 'In the hall of Mountain King' for thirty seven times in a row)))))).

Oleg <> (02.01.2001)

I can fully agree with you,George,on here.Oh wat-I ABSOLUTELY agree,no need to comment,except the only one thing- "IN THE HALL OF MOUNTAIN KING" SUCKS

Jon <> (26.03.2003)

Yeah 'hall of the mountain king' BLOWS here. If they were trying to emphasize their credibility as classical enthusiasts, they could have picked a song that wasn't cliched beyond all meaning, or at least have done something innovative with what they DID pick. But there is good news, namely 'Bluebird' and 'Showdown'! Those are two very damn good songs. The former suffers a lot from Lynne's very wussy arrangements and both suffer from his uninspired lyrics. They are so catchy, and 'Showdown' in particular was beloved by everyone who heard it in my dorm. If you're drunk and want something with a head-nodding groove, 'Showdown' is your number. There are some wince-worthy synth moments elsewhere here, but 'Showdown' and 'Bluebird' are worth the price of admission, and the rest are interesting little curios sometimes, but hideous unoriginal "experiments" more often than not. Maybe a 9 overall on the fifteen scale. Way too much filler and the high points are pretty rare. How often can you listen to "I AM KI-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-NG! KING OF THE YOOOOOOOOOOONIVERSE!" without having a hemhorrhage around the fourth time? Not as strong as the rating here would suggest, in my opinion.


Oleg <> (02.01.2001)

Good live album.Funny cover of "Day Tripper"-in fact,the best cover of this song I've ever heard(though I heard only Whitesnake version,which can be the best song of that band,but that's another story...).The main star on here is,IHO,Mik Kaminski-just check out his solo!Unfortunately,guys tired "a little" to the end of the gig and perfomed "Roll Over" in the worst way possible.Still,if you are the ELO fan-you must buy this one.


Mike DeFabio <> (25.09.2000)

The album that got me into rock music. Back when I was in 2nd grade I was a big dork who like classical music and everybody hated me, so my dad handed me a copy of Eldorado and said "Here, listen to this." Man. What a fantastic album. This is everything an album should be: wonderful melodies, neat little segues, clean (but not slick) production, great singin' and playin', and lyrics that don't mean anything, with a big bombastic quasi-concept to top it all off. I can't even pick a favorite on here. This is the only ELO album you need. Well, okay, you don't NEED it. Realistically speaking, you really don't NEED any particular rock album. But if you're gonna get one, this wouldn't be a bad choice.

Richard C. Dickison <> (16.11.2000)

Oh good lord!

They were good for a moment, were they not?

'Can't Get It Out Of My Head' was very appropo, years can go by and with a few notes wafted through the air and bam your singing along.

This was one of those bands that made rock pop an interesting place to visit at one time.

Now my only quibble with this album was the intro and why could they have not used the next albums 'Fire On High'.

(I know you dislike it but that was one of the few instrumentals from them I could stomach and Hey five minutes is only 1/10th a Yes wank job).)

Then it would have been hands down the only ELO album ever needed. Believe me I pared down my ELO collection for good reason, I stay with the high points and this was the best.

Mikhail Kuzischev <> (01.04.2001)

OK, I try to do this, because I feel, I just MUST to do this. You know, there's a really, really wide-spreading superstition about Jeff Lynne. Jeff Lynne is great songwriter, with fantastic ability to wtite catchy tunes. And no more. Yes, he can do it, but listen those records again closely, and maybe you'll find something new for yourself. I mean, there's really much of lonelyness and desperation in Lynne's songs. And this album all about this. Mr. Starostin, you're saying there's no conception in this album? It's here, man! From the first song, to last one, this is a story about a man who's going insane. It may look funny (like 'Illusions In G Major'), but it's not. The A-side of album - this guy is still HERE, and the B-side - he's not here, he's THERE. And he will stay. He's not be back. Eldorado.

My faves here, as usual, 'Can't Get It Out'...and 'Mr. Kingdom'. It's really dark and scary, just like those green hands on cover, that reaching your lightful and cheerful mind.

Give it a try, and listen once again. Thank you.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (25.04.2001)

To tell the truth, I'm not the fan of classical music but Eldorado makes shivers down my spin. Just listen to first thirty seconds of 'Eldorado-finale' and you'll know what I mean (the violins, cellos and trumpets go wilder with every chord!). None of the tracks here are boring (which is a nice surprise, cause for me there were no ELO's record without tiny ounce of filler) but the only complain I have is - IT'S TOO SHORT!!! I suppose that 'Mission' from New world record would have easily fit this masterpiece.

More, I really don't care about the lyrics now. Jeff's voice is very gentle (but no cheesy by any means!) and the playing stuff is surprisingly good, too. My favorites here are 'Eldorado' (all three tracks), 'Can't get it out of my head' and 'Laredo tornado'. Though, don't you think that others are mediocre - they're beautiful, too.

PS. I just though that music of opening track should be played when you enter the casino or palace, you know. Such a great tune with lots of instruments playing all together and not making a mess! Nah, this record is really DARN fine. 5 stars.

<> (14.06.2001)

At first, I was really disappointed with the generally agreed upon best ELO album. And I still have slight problems with basic concept of the's a really interesting idea, I just wish I enjoyed that loud orchestration a bit more. That being said, the real reason that this is probably the group's best album (yes, I eventaully came around) has less to do with the symphony-concept and more with the quality of the songs. Every single one of these songs is catchy, fun, exciting, full of hooks, and simply beautiful. Find a different way to connect the songs, and this is one of the greatest albums ever made. Any critic or music fan who listens to songs like 'Boy Blue', 'Laredo Tornado', and 'Eldorado' and dislikes what they hear needs to seriously re-evaluate their taste in music. Probably the groups overall best album in that there is nothing close to filler, but not my personal favorite. A 9.5/10.

Eric Rogozin <> (13.06.2001)

Eldorado was the first ELO album I heard and it seems to me, that it's a right album to get acquainted with ELO and in particular with amazing ELO sound. Interesting melodies (even VERY interesting melodies, that's Jeff's point), cool sound. My favourites here are "Can't get it out of my head", "Laredo Tornado", "Nobody's Child" and the title track, celestrial BEAUTY given to people by God lies in these songs, I guess. Probably the best album of ELO, probably not, anyway one of the bests; good gift for music lover.

Oleg <> (02.01.2001)

Fun,catchy,original,full of little masterpieces-that's what Eldorado is.I agree with all who says that this is the best ELO album ever.Pick up any song on here and you can get it to the museum of music.

<> (28.01.2003)

Ugh... I'm sorry, but I just can't stand this stuff. I dunno if this is considered typical ELO or not (it's the only ELO album I own, and very likely my last), and I'll admit a good deal of the stuff on here is (or, rather, could have been) good, catchy pop, but there is NO justification for the use of classical instrumentation whatsoever. It adds nothing to the album, aside from that bombastic sound I loathe so much. 'Laredo Tornado' COULD have been great. It had that catchy guitar riff, that whole Gershwin vibe going for it... and then there's the "woooo." I can not possibly express in words how much I despise that god-awful "woooo"!

Alexey Provolotsky <> (15.12.2005)

A pretentious album deserves a pretentious review, okay?

First of all, the idea of merging rock music with classical is a shitty idea. And even loving this album cannot change my mind. Not at all. That said, I was really surprised at how ELO managed to make the orchestration not put down but CONTRIBUTE to the quality of the music. I’ll go even further: the CD I have includes two bonuses: one of them is a very short (but potentially strong) cut called “Dark City” (an early idea for “Laredo Tornado” as it is suggested in the liner notes) and the other is an orchestrated version of the whole stuff. Honestly, I find the latter very enjoyable.

The only thing that bugs me about Eldorado is the generic “Illusions In G Major”. Fine, it’s done immaculately and all, but I’d rather have something like “Boy Blue” instead, which, in fact, is a classic. I don’t know what a “Lynne hook” is, but after hearing the song I guess I’ll get acquainted with that pretty soon. I’m afraid the word “catchy” is not juicy enough to describe what kind of a verse melody the song has. And the chorus rules too, of course. Despite the song’s lyrical matter, the song gives me optimism and pure delight, unlike the album’s hit, the melancholy and truly gorgeous “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head”. Majestic. Even more so than the song composed solely (so it seems) for a majestic purpose, “Laredo Tornado”. Now that is a high-flying song. And a huge one, too. The contrast with that hugeness comes with the very next track, the joyful folky number “Poor Boy” (another sad title, another delightful and lively tune). Quite a humble song, a “defect” they decided to get rid of with the very first track on the second side. Good verse+good chorus=good song. The guy knows music. “Painted Lady” is yet another glorious classic; melodic, bluesy and romantic song followed by the already mentioned lone misfortunate misstep totally corrected in the culmination of this so called concept record. (hey!) The vocals that Mr. Lynne pulls out of himself do send shivers.

Get this album, love it and give to your friend. Okay, maybe to your enemy. Anyway, “everybody’s got somebody to Lynne on…”.

My rating is either a 13 or (more likely) a 14. The more meticulous and detailed a rating system is, the more meticulous and detailed you want it to be.


Mike DeFabio <> (18.12.2000)

'Fire On High' is, in fact, the best song on the whole album. It's got a big pretentious intro with backwards vocal samples and spooky noises, and then it goes PHOOOOOM into this big bombastic rock song that's way too short! How can you not like it???

<> (14.06.2001)

A really weird release coming after the grandiose symphonic style of Eldorado. This is a short, simple album without a concept or a thread connecting songs. It opens with 'Fire on High', a controversial ELO track (well, I'm not sure anything the band did could really be called controversial). I love the track. Sure, it's cheesy as hell but isn't the rest of the band's output? I love this kind of cheese...totally fun and catchy cheese. So yeah, 'Evil Woman', 'Strange Magic', 'Waterfalls', 'Poker', 'Nightrider', 'One Summer Dream', 'Down Home Town'...every single one is a testament to Lynne's amazing gift for pop songwriting. A great album. 9/10.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (10.07.2001)

[Tracks on my pirated disc seem to be messed up a bit, so don't flame me if I'll make a mistake or two].

Alright, so what a band does after releasing a terrific album? ELO is no Beatles, so the right answer is: 'it drowns in shit!!!'. Well, not exactly so - it usually releases a slightly inferior album. In our case - Face the music. It seems to me that mr. Lynne was running out of ideas, and the best thing he could suggest was producing a toss-off consisting of catchy songs - ELO's trademark. In fact, he succeeded.

The only rough place on here is opener. And not because it sîunds off place or simply bad, nî - actually, it has mîre îr less måmîrable melîdy. The problåm is that it totally ñînfusås a casual listener (heck, it even confused me) - 'cool', he thinks, 'that sounds like an intro to another opera'. Indeed, 'Fire on high' wastes a minute of tape for just a bunch of noises and then becomes a catchy instrumental - just like 'Eldorado overture'! But 'Face the music' even not a semi-conceptual album. Melody of 'Fire on high' is alright, I guess, but it's a bit inadequate. Yes, that's it. But I swear that you'll be blowed by the number (and quality for sure) of hooks that appear on next three songs. Just take 'Evil woman'. Isn't it a perfection? The first thing that struck me was the simplicity of the main hook - I don't even know how came McCartney or Lennon haven't used it before. Or 'Nightrider'. That's simple and beautiful, too. As for 'Waterfalls', I don't think that it has enough grace to become the best song on here - but, you know, it's great. And I kinda like 'Strange magic', a melody of which was exploited three times on Zoom.

The sad news are here, however. From 'Fire on high' and 'Poker' it's obvious to see that ELO will soon turn into disco direction. Yup, 'Poker' sounds too dancey. But forget it - the problems will appear only on Out of the blue - catchiness is still here. And that means fun, fun fun! I agree with 12 scores.

PS. Just relistened 'Fire on high' and got a feeling that it's TOO pompous. Just like the banal, pretentious cover and title.

Oleg <> (02.01.2001)

Here come the Lynn paradise as the songwriter-all of songs(except "Evil Woman",which is VERY overrated and boring)are ELO classic.Plus,thsi album has one of my favourite ELO songs ever-"Poker",which is just a perfect pop song,perfect song to dance.I often turn on it to my guests,who hates all music released earlier than 1990,and they like it.Combination of ynth and guitar on that track is really great.

Bob Josef <> (22.05.2006)

They had come a long way by this point, although I'm not sure that I really like their almost permanent turn away from the classical/rock concept that was the original idea. Stiil, since Lynne actually decided to use an actual orchestra in the studio (as opposed to endlessly overdubbing band members), I think that the production itself keeps improving. I always thought that the two hits -- "Strange Magic" and "Evil Woman" were pretty annoying and boring. The rest of the album is more diverse. Well, I must strongly disagree with you on "Fire on High," really Lynne's last, and maybe best, attempt at prog. I don't think it's disjointed at all. Very powerful, and the backwards voices prove that Lynne had a sense of humor. "Poker" has some amazingly rapid playing and singing. "Nightrider" is both catchy and dramatic. "Down Home Town" is another very humorous and fun track, agreed. And "One Summer Dream" proves that Lynne knows his Brian Wilson as well as his Beatles.

I must say, though, that I find the title and cover art of the album quite offensive. Capital punishment is not a joking matter.


Mike DeFabio <> (23.12.2000)

I really shouldn't like this band as much as I do. This isn't a very good album, but there are more good songs on it than most people will admit. Like the first two on the second side. Why "So Fine" wasn't a hit single and "Telephone Line" was I don't know--maybe it's because "Telephone Line" sounds like the Bee Gees. But I really like "So Fine." And "Livin' Thing" ain't bad either. And "Do Ya"! This album has "Do Ya" on it! If the Move version is any better, send it on over, 'cause this one's terrific, even though it's got them sissy violins in it. Stop the violins! Ha, that was original.

<> (14.06.2001)

More genious pop songs from Lynne, this time without any real attempts to be progressive and some definate excursions into some dancier stuff. I don't think this is QUITE as good as some fans do (next to Eldorado, it's the usual favorite album), but I don't really dislike anything on here. Oh wait, actually...'Rockaria' just sort of sucks. Kind of funny, but overall just way too...much for me. 'Livin' Thing', 'Telephone Line', 'Tightrope', 'So Fine', 'Shangra-La'...seriously, these ELO albums just overflow with classic pop songs. Did people actually listen to this music before mocking it? A 9/10.

Eric Rogozin <> (13.06.2001)

I guess, THIS is my most favourite Electric Light Orchestra album. Yeah, New World Record rules! In my comment on Eldorado I was slightly incorrect, because New World Record was the first ELO record I heard, and, as soon as I heard it, I fell in love with this record. And probably exactly New World Record is the best choice of the first acquintance with ELO and not Eldorado like I said before (Eldorado is the same supermagnificent album, but here comes the more "typical" ELO sound (and it surely means good sound). I don't know why, it seems to me so). So lyrical, so catchy, so groovy album. I like it!

Sergey Zhilkin <> (10.07.2001)

Their most diverse record - why, it has everything starting from fast rockers and touching ballads. And maybe it's a very common place to place New world record over well known symphony Eldorado but I really don't know what to choose between Eldorado and this one. While Eldorado was more 'shocking' (I mean that few people could expect such merging of classic music and rock from ELO) and had a nice concept which I got into only three days ago, New world record is certainly more catchy, simple and, sure enough, diverse. ELO's symphony consists serious and sometimes even frightening music that makes you look back in order to check whether there's a Mr. Bad with green hands or not, but when I want to dance, to please my ear and to cry, I take New world record.

The greatest song on here, I suppose, is 'Telephone line' which is a true classic song for ELO, just like 'Brown sugar' for Stones, 'Mrs. Vanderbilt' for McCartney, 'My sweet lord' for Harrison, 'Won't get fooled again' for The Who ...well, you got my drift. Hooks, falsetto singing and great arrangement of instruments - everything is here. And this is the first time I really don't smell cheese in lines: 'O.K. so no--one's answering, // Well can't you just let it ring a little longer // I'll just sit tight, through the shadows of the night // Let it ring for evermore.'. You know, only if you had to stand for hours near the phone calling your girlfriend and thinking: 'No, this can't be so, she's not walking with another guy, SHE'S MINE!!!'... Oh, damn, I feel like I'm going to cry... wait a minute............ yeah, it's alright now....

Now, let's forget this sad number and switch to dancey 'Tightrope' and 'So fine'. It's really great that Lynne didn't throw out cellos and fiddles out of most songs - instrumental intermedias are good (especially in 'Tightrope'). And 'So fine' has a very catchy hook in the beginning: 'Ula-ulala-ula-ula-uuu'! Again, I can swear that I heard it thousands times before but I could never tell that it was ELO. Oh, my God, that's a real peak of Mr. Lynne. And what about 'Mission'? Again these worn words - wonderful h###o###o###k. Don't know if 'Shangri-la' really deserves the title of best song on here, but anyway, it's awesome. And what a nice Beatles' reference: 'My Shangri-la has gone away, // Faded like the Beatles on Hey Jude'. Gee, I always enjoyed such words' play. And the remake of 'Do ya' is much better than Move's original. The guitarwork is a bit better and the sound is a bit rougher, too. Plus, I always liked Lynne's vocal more than Wood's one.

Weak places? Yes, there're some. First one is 'Rockaria' which tries to repeat 'Roll over Beethoven' but fails and dull (but fortunately very short) 'Above the clouds'. Can these dark spots spoil the whole picture? Certainly, not, I say. 13 is a perfect rating.

PS. While writing this letter, I understood that I like New world record a bit more than Eldorado.

Oleg <> (02.01.2001)

The title is great.Is it the record of new world(world of pop ELO,I mean)or is it new World record(record of sold copies),eh?

Well,the songs on here are great.ALL OF THEM.But,for some strange reason for me the best always was "Livin' Thing"-I love that violin interplays(listen it in headphones-pure paradise!).

Glenn Wiener <> (16.02.2002)

An extremely creative record that I remember first getting acquainted with from my high school days. I don't understand your beef with 'Rockariah'. I think the blend of opera and rock n roll works great here. In general the violin, cello,and keyboards add a nice natural classical sound to this record which ELO would never quite duplicate on later releases. Anyway, all nine of these tracks are winners even if 'Above The Clouds' has a few filler elements and 'Telephone Line' is a bit over-played. None the less your overall rating is very justified.


Bryan Boyd Jackson Jr. <> (08.01.2001)

George, George, George, what are we going to do with you? Out Of The Blue is truly a masterpiece, and a roller coaster extravaganza if you ask me. Every song is catchy in some way, and it's impossible not to like it. "Turn To Stone" and "Jungle" are my favorites among this double album. This would be in my top five favorite double albums of all-time. Electric Light Orchestra kind of lost a step after this fantastic release, but that's okay, because we have this album to enjoy. An easy 5 stars, and a 14, maybe 15 on the overall scale.

<> (25.01.2001)

Without writing a "manifesto" here I would like just say a few words for this "glorious" album. First let me ask you a question George, what is your standard that gives Paul McCartney (solo) a 4, and this brilliant band and album your basement? With out really being able to get into that I hope the question will speak for itself! All the songs on Out Of The Blue are really just polished sparkling jewels that are so beautiful that they could and will forever shine. As you said "every song sounds drastically even" which means we have "jewels" in abundance here! The craftmanship here by Jeff Lynne as a producer is remarkable and what is even more remarkable is Mr. Lynne's ideas, and how he's able to actually make such a variety ideas happen on analog tape and for two albums at that! The classical interludes are very very tasteful, the harmonies can and do soar, and the playing by all involved is as "appropiate" as any musicians can get, huh remember The Beatles? " By the way George not to get nasty here but comparing ELO with a band called "ABBA" would be like me comparing Paul McCartney (solo) to Barry Manilow, I mean it could be done but if you "understand" Paul McCartney as a solo artist you know it just shouldn't be done!

Sergey Zhilkin <> (20.03.2001)

I always asked myself wheter George Harrison made Cloud nine himself or with 'a little help from his friends' and now I know the answer. Indeed, Jeff Lynne is the master of pop music, as we know it today and Out of the blue shows it. This is a classic record, ethalon of 80's pop music. Yes, I say 80's, not looking at the fact that it was released in 1977 because Out of the blue fits it well. Half of the songs are catchy and 'driving'. Gig 'em! And forget about the rest. My rating - ****.

<> (14.06.2001)

Definately my favorite ELO album. No doubt about it. A double album, and I love every song. 'The Whale' is dumb, I know. I know it is. A lot of these songs are dumb. But this album is, to use the cliche, a desert island disc for me. Just a bit fucking heap of pop perfection. The amount of vocal hooks in this album is awe-inspiring...this is clearly Lynne at the top of his game. That's probably why I like this album the most...the vocals are so damn cool. Just listen to 'Mr. Blue Sky' has a new vocal hook every two seconds. I strongly recommend this album to anyone with even a passing interest in 70s pop music. A 10/10.

Thom MacFarlane <> (24.06.2001)

Enjoying the site.

I notice you didn't mention 'Mr. Blue Sky' in your review.

Is it part of the Concerto For a Rainy Day? (Aye, it is. - G.S.)

Either way, it's a terrific track despite the bombastic finale. Your very point, right?

Oleg <> (04.01.2001)

I like this album,especially "Concerto For A Rainy Part" ending."Mr.Blue Sky","Birmingham Blues","Wild West Hero" and especially the best ELO instrumental "The Whale" are one of the best Lynne songs.The first part(and disk) is rather boring,but still good."Sweet Talkin' Woman" is classic and "Across The Border" is maybe the best song on here.

<> (02.03.2003)

I love this album, 'Jungle' is my favorite song and I think Jeff is brilliant to have made this album.  Now alot of people won't agree with me but to me this is the best ELO album of the seventies.

Gerard Nowak <> (09.04.2003)

This is the very one review on this site I simply cannot agree with - and that's fine, I hope we're gonna have a cold little quarrel going. I find this album the best ELO work. It simply has it all, the pomposity of the earlier albums and the melodical touch of what was to come. Eldorado may be fine, but (apart from two songs) there are not enough good melodies - listen to "Boy Blue" and "Mister Kingdom", for instance; these songs' choruses repeat or slightly rearrange the simple three-note-patterns of the verses. Here, on the other hand, each song is at least in part very strong melody-wise. And there's always a plus. "Night In the City" is a chart-topper (it should have been!) plus the outstanding city-noise 'solo' climaxing in the beautifully rendered "in the city" line. "Stepping Out" is a moving song (not lyrically, though, I must admit - there's no such thing as REALLY good ELO lyrics) plus some clever vocal harmonies. And so on... Generally this is the most inspired ELO album as for arrangements. The vocal harmonies in "It's Over", "Mr. Blue Sky" and the said 'Stepping Out" are one thing, but look at the echo in "Standing in the Rain": those rain-Rain-RAIN's, and alone-Lone-LONE's getting thicker and thicker, more and more distorted. Pink Floyd should have done this to the "dragged down by the stone" line in "Dogs", they didn't. And there's the beautiful piano part in the "Big Wheels" verse. The tempo variations in "It's Over". A great, uplifting album, by all means.

Jason Saenz <> (20.07.2004)

I'll just put it this way: Jeff Lynne has always been a good popster but he always was an "album-filler" dude too, but good filling!!!!! This album is not an exception, Filler, filler, 'turn to stone', 'the whale' and more filler. Good album just too much filler. This is definitely NOT an ELO masterpeice.


Bryan Boyd Jackson Jr. <> (22.03.2001)

I know I said Electric Light Orchestra went down hill after Out Of The Blue, but I was wrong. I really like Discovery, just had to listen to it more. It sure is good, with the catchy melodies and what not. Songs like "Last Train To London," "Midnight Blue," and "Shine A Little Love" are all excellent. I like all albums from Electric Light Orchestra from the time they started, until the late 80's. Anyway, I give the album a 12, or 4 stars.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (21.04.2001)

Unfortunately, the band loses its purpose. ELO is an orchestra and not disco band! Not that this disco is crap or something atrocious. No, it's quite a decent effort but at the same time it's a slope for ELO. Where are the classics? Or where are the rock remakes of classic music? It all started on Out of the blue (which I like dearly!) but I thought they would switch to old formula on the next record . No, they didn't.

The highlight 'Don't bring me down' is cool but after sixth listen it becomes too boring. That means that the song is generic disco rock! Just a chocolate egg. 'The dairy of Horace Wimp' is much better. The lyrics are awful, of course (again, this problem started on Out of the blue!), but at least the melody is good. And what is better, I can hear the violin! The next great song is 'Last train to London' which is a little bit long but nice gentle melody is still here. The lyrics, again, are awful, though.

Nevertheless, Discovery is tolerable record which I can enjoy (sometimes). The rating of three is enough, I suppose. And don't you say that nothing in 80's can beat Discovery! Xanadu was a little bit better.

<> (14.06.2001)

Of course it's fucking disco music. But not all of it. And even when it's disco, it still sounds exactly like ELO. And it's not like Lynne forgot to add hooks and melodies. This is just the height of the ELO-cheese. However, anyone who likes ELO should like this album. 'Horace Wimp', 'On the Run', 'Confusion', 'Shine A Little Love'...really great songs. However, the big hit from the album 'Don't Bring Me Down' is actually probably my least favorite ELO song ever written. It is highly boring and annoying. And the album just isn't up to the brilliance of the previous one. A 7/10.

Oleg <> (04.01.2001)

You know,Mr.Lynne is the master of good,listenable and classy pop-music,but this record made him in my eyes just an idiotic pop-lover,who tries to do some disco.It is,in fact,the lamest disco music I've ever heard-such bands like Boney M after this can be really high-professional band.Music is awful,lyrics are awful,and the whole album is very boring.The only enjoyable song on here is "Last Train To London".

<> (02.03.2003)

This album sucks.  I bought the new edition a little while ago and I was very disturbed.  The album is all disco and the only good song "Don't Bring Me Down" is so overplayed that now a days it dont help the album at all.  This album did bring me down.

Bill Slocum <> (31.05.2004)

Granting Jeff Lynne his pop smarts and then taking him to task for not making ART is kind of a poor man's sport. That said, I agree with you about Discovery more than not, George, so tally me in as another "positive" vote on your Reader's Comment board there. I just wish you liked the same things I did.

Like "Shine A Little Love," the album's first single and opening track. That would make for the ultimate figure-skating four-minute program music, even timing out at exactly the right place. What a gorgeous symphonic trifle, capturing that rush of first love with all its heady, perhaps overly giddy, optimism. "You shine a love on my life," the singer endlessly repeats, and its one refrain I don't tire of at all.

The whole album is like that, a very adolescent look at love in its various darker and lighter moments. Lyrically, that's why "Don't Bring Me Down" slays me as a defining final track, written in the same spirit but much different in outlook from the opening song. I agree with you that in a musical context, it "feels seriously out of place," but as a bitter rocker about an ex-sweetheart who has let the singer down with her callous game-playing, it totally takes no prisoners and kicks out the jams in a very thrilling kind of way.

By the way, "Don't Bring Me Down" would be a killer skater-program number, too, clocking in at four minutes and with its schwooshing keyboard flourishes perfectly mirroring a skater's blade as it hits the ice in anticipation of another triple axel or double salchow.

We are in total agreement about the album's low point. Most everyone is, I'm sure. "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" has some nice instrumental flourishes, but that very simplistic storyline, of meeting a girl on Wednesday and marrying her on Sunday, and not making much of a case for himself in the process other than "a-mumbling and a-fumbling" his expressions of desire. Suffering from a terminal case of the cutes, it really really grates. And what happened on Saturday? Guess I don't really want to know.

But the rest of this album follows this nice thematic constant of love found and lost in various, more dire permutations from beginning to end, and offers the reader some tasty ear candy in the process. It doesn't get tired, however simplistic the lyrics are. Lynne's writing about some simple ideas, how we all fall in love and fall to pieces in the process; he doesn't need Roger Waters for that.

"Last Train To London" is my favorite track, because it works better with the rest of the album than the equally surging bookends of "Shine A Little Love" and "Don't Bring Me Down." A very dark mood is established here, along with a very catchy melody. "But I really want tonight to last forever/I really want to be with you" is such a high to these ears, and the repeating refrain.

"Midnight Blue" is a nice quieter number, as are "Need Her Love" and "Wishing." Discovery is the kind of record that didn't do much for ELO's career, though that was more the fault of inadequate follow-up (except for Time, which is a bit more serious and an outlier in Lynne's ouvre) but you can feel Robert Miles' imagination taking off here, his and a number of other electronica and trance-pop stylists of years and decades to come.


Sergey Zhilkin <> (16.06.2001)

I know, I'll become a site sucker (I mean the most dumb reader out there) after this comment but, damn, I like Xanadu! Everyone seems to be so biased against this female singer (unfortunately, I don't remember her name and the copy of Xanadu is miles away from me) that I blush when I remember how I like her voice and songs, too. Maybe it's a bad taste to like Xanadu (cause all the girls like it, too, and that means that album really suck, right?) but, George, how can you resist first three tracks? Damn, I must be a complete idiot... At least, the album was saved by one hit - 'I'm alive'.

Oleg <> (04.01.2001)

Afto some disco exercises,Jeff Lynne falled into the stream of tastless,extremley cheesy ABBA-like pop-music.The first side isn't ELO-it's just a side of Olivia Newton-John solo album.I haven't heard any of her albums,but judging on the first side of Xanadu, I can easy say that she sucks.In fact,I like "Magic" a little bit,but other songs...As for Lynne side-there's nothing too."I'm Alive" and "The Fall" borrowed a line or two from some famous ABBA songs(I'm not the big fan of ABBA,sorry George,so I can't tell the names of that songs).And the title track...You can read Sergey's comment on Secret Messages-that one about musicians who plays songs like "Rock'n'Roll Is King" in restaurants.It easily describes my feelings about that title track.

Michael Monaghan <> (04.02.2006)

"I'm alive" is still the only song in history to convincingly perform a keychange.

All must bow down before Jeff the humble subtlety master. "Dont look for me" + "cause he's so hard to see" He is so transparent he must be the allahwamabamalama-king. (Only makes sense with Refs: Koran, My own time (elo), Come together (beatles))


<> (14.06.2001)

Surprisingly, this album is great. Another concept album, I actually think it works as a concept more than Eldorado did. Sure, there are some weaker tracks (I find it strange that George likes 'The Way Life's Meant to Be', a song that very obviously steals the melody from Out of the Blue's 'Across the Border'). And 'Another Heart Breaks' is boring as hell. The rest are great synth-pop songs though. I thought this would be monotonous 80s crapfest. Turns out, it's one of their best albums. A 9/10.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (16.06.2001)

This time I think that we shouldn't care for the concept of 'Time' at all since it's the kind of banal story about a spaceman who fell in love with Spider from Mars and they together destroyed the half of Universe after which they got married and then singed up for the Space Police... brr... I'm missing it with Star Trek, I guess, but, anyway, it's really dumb. The only thing we should concentrate our attention on is Godlike synth pop. Yup. it really cool. And here is the news - not a single bad song in sight!

It will be boring for you to hear my analysis of all these songs because there's nothing analize at all (except the music, of course) so I'll just give you a list of my faves: 1) 'The way life supposed to be', 2) 'From the end of the world', 3) 'Here's the news' and 4) 'Rain is falling'. 'Ticket to the moon' sounds great, too, but this time it's a clear ripoff of classic music. Still, I like the album just as Harrison's Cloud nine and the rating will be 12.

PS. Love that instrumental screaming at the end of 'From the end of the world'!

Victor Prose <> (25.08.2001)

You're almost right, here, but perhaps a little too pleased with some of the tracks. "The Way Life's Meant to Be" is nice, but thoroughly unoriginal, "From the End of the World" is ridiculously kitschy, and "21st Century Man" has some of the worst lyrics this side of--as you would have it--"Horace Wimp". In fact, the whole album is extremely unoriginal, a far cry from something like Eldorado, but with enough good tracks to make it a relatively enjoyable experience. "Twilight" is admittedly very fun, "Yours Truly, 2095" and "Ticekt to the Moon" are both genius and irresistible, respectively, "The Lights Go Down" is a great, reggae-style rocker, and "Rain is Falling" is a masterful piece of post Beatles pop. And then it ends with "Hold on Tight", which is porbably the worst song the band ever penned. With its obvious melody and stupid, unneededly billingual lyrics, the song isn't just no "Don't Bring Me Down", it's no "Rock'n'Roll is King". Terrible. All in all, I give this (going by my rating system) a B-. I think that'd be about a 7 on your scale. Thank you for your "Time".

Oleg <> (04.01.2001)

This one is,maybe,the best synth-pop album ever along with Phil Collins' But Sereously (I know I'll be killed for liking that album,but I can't do anything with myself).Every song on here is good,especially "Twilight",which is dumb,but so catchy.The only weak spot on here is "21st Century Man".

Lance Lindley <> (16.02.2006)

Time suffers most lyrically. Taken in the context of its time (no pun intended), it is melodically and musically very beautiful and catchy, if a bit sterile. Rare are the "concept" albums outside The Wall that can actually stand up for a full 8 to 10 songs, and Time also strains a bit at maintaining the storyline in places; but it is the desperately cheesy lyrics -- especially noticeable when they are surrounded by good lyrics -- that bring this album down a notch. Yours Truly - 2095 makes me wince exactly twice -- and I mean physically wince -- when Lynne sings, "and she's also a telephone" and "but she is an IBM." Those sum up the "trying too goddam hard" lyrical faults of the album. Almost-moving ballads like "Ticket to the Moon" apply a slap the head with the utterly cliché "what more can I say/It's only one way" (oh, I get it, a one way ticket to the moon, Alice, bang zoom), made all the more unfortunate because it occurs and a musically emotional crescendo which would otherwise provide a nice payoff. In contrast, 'The Rain is Falling' successfully avoids any such lyrical foibles and is actually a thoroughly nice song, and Twilight and Hold On Tight both also get by safely (a key word, since they are at the same time pretty sterile if hookishly contagious pop) without offending any fans of the language. In summation, Time is a memorable album, which true to its name presents a sort of frozen-in-time image of the state of pure radio synth pop at the turn of the me decade, cotton candy for the ears, far less dark than offerings by, say Shriekback, less tribal than Adam and the Ants or Bow Wow Wow, less reggae than the tutone and ska movements, less self-serious than Ultravox; instead safe and melodic pop with some very tight (if predictable) arrangements, and somewhat representative of the "new" ELO sound that later made a comeback in remote markets, like with Japan's "Puffy" and several other J-Pop groups. Were it not for the "I gotta just stick a line in here and finish this song" feeling of some of the cliché lyrics, the album would have been far more classic, though.


Eric Rogozin <> (13.06.2001)

I like this album! Even very much. I see nothing wrong with Secret Messages, subjective and objective, it's a good album. Eternal hooks of ELO are apparent here, the same goes for the lyrical music (another strong point for ELO). Yeah, this album is so lyrical! And good!

Sergey Zhilkin <> (16.06.2001)

Eric, sorry, but you suck. I understand how one can like Xanadu or Balance of power but this... Oh, my God! It's awfully bad! You know when I was in Spain and Greece, restaurants' musicians always played such horrible songs as 'Rock'n'roll is King' and 'Four little diamonds'. Just imagine that: you sit and eat your favorite steak with bacon and then they start playing 'Rock'n'roll is King'! What will you reaction be like? Yeah, right on. I always sweared that I would kill that %^*&%& artist who composed ''Rock'n'roll is King'. Things have changed and now I respect Jeff Lynne much but, still, the melody is awful, generic and [put your favorite despising word in here]... Sorry, I know that Secret messages has other songs but I tell you that they are not even an inch better!

The most funny thing about Messages is that the best songs (generic, too, but this time more enjoyable) were rejected! There were five outtakes as far as I know. You can find them as bonus tracks on certain editions.

Eric Rogozin <> (19.06.2001)

to Sergey: you know, Secret Messages really has other songs than "Rock'n'Roll Is King"!  That one is certainly the worst song on the album (not very bad, rather mediocre), but the other stuff rules. "Loser Gone Wild" and "Train Of Gold", for instance, are superb! Speaking 'bout "Rock'n'Roll Is King", it's very strange, why this song is not only the most famous on Secret Messages, but also one of the most popular ELO songs?! Why IT is always played on radio and not "Rockaria" or "Train Of Gold" or "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" or "Laredo Tornado", which are marvellous? Why the radio had chosen mediocre ELO songs ("Hold On Tight" etc.) instead of splendid ELO songs? There's no answer.

But like I said before, this album is very good and the only mediocre song on it is "Rock'n'Roll Is King" (but the title of the song is cool, rock'n'roll really is a king), other songs are good. It's almost as succesful as Time in my opinion (Time also has wonderful songs except the mediocre "Hold On Tight"). Secret Messages has a special vibe, further activated on Armchair Theatre and even noticed on Cloud Nine (which I adore!!!) and Travelling Wilburys records (which are also groovy!), earlier activated on a lot of good albums.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (22.06.2001)

To Eric: oh, well, after your comment I ran to my player and relistened Messages again. Listen, if something goes wrong with my ears in a day or two, you'll be responsible for that. While that listen I found out another bad thing - the songs are way too long. I mean, yes, ELO has longer songs but they are complex at least. And here we face simple drumming, one hook which repeats about thirty times, and rather annoying lyrics. They are as banal as the cover is (you know, it's like making a cover in the style of newspaper). And most of the songs are BANAL, BANAL, BANAL, BANAL !!!!!!!!! I've heard them thousand times before on other bands' albums!

After 7-th listen I used to love 'Time after time' - an oasis on this record. 'Four little diamonds' has grew on me, too. 'Stranger' is more or less decent. What else? Nothing!!! Hooks on Messages are as primitive as Pifagor's table. Indeed, they are 'by-book' ones! Looks like Jeff Lynne bought a book called 'I wanna be a forking rock star' for 2 bucks. Sad, but true. IMHO, Messages is the weakest spot in the ELO's catalog (only in case if we talk about ELO part one - Messages may seem a paradise after Moment of truth.)

PS. Eric, do you ever comment on albums, which you don't like?

Eric Rogozin <> (21.06.2001)

To Sergey: well, you're talking a little subjective and I'm surely talking subjective too, after all, there are no persons with exactly the same tastes. Unfortunately I can't relisten this album now, 'cause I gave it to my friend to listen six months ago and he hasn't returned it to me still (hope he'll return my CD to me). But I remember the stuff from Secret Messages and I like it still. I can't explain why I like, but maybe if I tried to do that, it would be the same reasons why I like ELO in general. I think, when the band is good, more or less good is all its output. I don't think, that the lyrics here are corny, but it's only my humble opinion. At least, "Train Of Gold" is brilliant. I guess, Messages is one of my favourite ELO albums and it stands in a one row with No Answer, Eldorado, New World Record, Time etc. But it's IMHO of course.

P.S. I haven't yet commented on the albums and bands, which I don't like, but maybe I'll try it in the future. Also there are a lot of albums and bands on this site, which I like and would like to comment on if I had more time.

Lawrence Wilson <> (27.07.2001)

IMHO, I think that they've received a lot of unnecessary grief about this album. True, it's not A New World Record or even Discovery, but you have to admit it's better than anything "Orchestra" could've ever come up with. Besides, it's the last album with the complete lineup; that should count for something, right?

My fave tracks on this one are "Loser Gone Wild," "Take Me On And On" and, of course, "Four Little Diamonds."

Oleg <> (04.01.2001)

I agree with you,George.The only thing can say on here-"Ltter From Spain" rules.It is really cool little tune,which isn't "mininmalistic",as you have said.Why didn't you say that "Another Heart Breaks" is minimalistic?And those lines singing almost a-capella?I like 'em,George.More of that,"Letter From Spain" is the best song on here.

<> (26.01.2002)

people won`t take this with a pincers (as people in my country would say). i did never understand this. especially the title track is a thing which can lift a gray november afternoon in a sunny summer beachholiday. this album was one of the essential cuts in my musical life.without it maybe i would still listen to ,lets say sonic youth or the walkabouts, instead of george clinton or de la soul.

Gerard Nowak <> (04.03.2003)

I like this album. I know, I know: I'm a bastard, son-of-a-bitch, and I enormously sucks. Yes. But I cannot help liking this fantastic work of art! (Oh, this was rather overdone, but sod it, only strong opinions matter at the end of a reader comments section, don't they). Banal? Uninspired? This is still rather abstract, anyway, anyone coming up with the exact degree of uninspiration? Generic? I don't mind the genre, and don't tell me that all the melodies on the album are that derivative. On the whole, I like the balance between the traditional instruments and the synthesizers on this album. The tempos and arrangments also vary here to a greater extent than on their three previous efforts and the one to come (this very Balance one is THE dull for me). Now, there are five red songs as far as I'm concerned. The titular: is this not the best ELO track of the 8o's? Great verse melody, nice middle, and fine harmonies, especially towards the end when the 'secret messages' chorus counters the revised melody of the verse, a hook I call it. "Stranger": still more nostalgic than pathetic, and catchy at the same time. "Danger Ahead": OK, very derivative this, but more energetic than anything from the ELO 80's catalogue (save "Four Little Diamonds"). "Time After Time": a slightly experimental aura over the straightforward pop melody. "Bluebird": the verse in G, the middle in Bflat, the bridge on C minor and D major - not bad for a stupid folk-pop ditty. The rest are passable at least, some people even like "Letter From Spain", and it's too short to really complain about (nice rhetorics, eh?) Now, of course I don't claim this is a GREAT album, but it's DECENT. And the least pretentious of all by this group.

Alexander Zaitsev <> (29.08.2003)

In general, the album is really bad. If there is a thing I dislike in ELO, it's a Lynne rocker like 'Rock'n'Roll is King'. And 'Letter from spain' just drags. All songs are bad here. But I LOVE one thing on this worthless album: the first minute of the title track. This is what I call good pop. Every instrument has its own place and the result is great. I used to listen to that very minute 10-15 times in a row, and that's not even the kind of music I generally like! Now, ain't I a freak? Sadly, when Lynne starts to sing, and everything gets spoilt.

P.S. Cheers to Eric Rogozin. There's not a single comment of his which I agree with, but it's a pleasure to read them, because they are all sincere, positive and unpretentious. Hope that he still visits the site. If so, I encourage him to leave something on the fans page (if you,George aren't against it, of course).

Eric Rogozin <> (27.09.2003)

Sorry for the offtopic, 'but I'd like to thank Alexander Zaitsev for the good words. Yes, I still visit this this site and this is my favourite site (this is no flattery, George :)).

Michael Monaghan <> (04.02.2006)

Secret Messages is the singularly most important communication earth has made to itself. Pity no-one was listening. Just like the mice in "hitchhikers" it's that instantly recognisable quality of genius. Go Jeff, shine a light.

Best ELO album ever and Secret Messages is easily the best song ever. A moving stream of information that is flowing on the wind. 1983 right, go check your reviews of this album on the internet today right? God bless America right? A flowing river of illusion running with confusion. That explains America to me - thanks Jeff, you are the prophet and king of the universe - sail away on a voyage of no return to see if eternal life is meant to be and then come back and let us know how to get there will you? I'll bring the prawns.


Sergey Zhilkin <> (19.06.2001)

Balance of power? Sounds more like a bad balance of bore (70%) and fun (30%). I mean that there're some good songs after which I think 'man, this album is not bad at all' but then some really dull tunes come to ruin all my hopes. Now, look, the main problem on here is the lack of instruments. Three members is a way too little number for an orchestra. Sometimes it seems to me that there're only two synthesizers working. Lynne's vocal pulls out all of the songs out of dirt but it's not enough. And music seems to be primitive - nothing like, say, Time. Yeah, I agree, there're hooks all around but they are of such quality that even I could write them.

Though, thank God that it's not Secret messages vol. 2 - at least we have some decent cuts - 'So serious', 'Secret lives' (and this is a clear ripoff of 'I'm alive' - Jeff sings in exactly the same key!) and banal closer 'Send it' (nothing like 'Rock'n'roll is king' this time). Other tracks are generic and dull, but I didn't have to tell it you. Final score - 8/15.

Oleg <> (04.01.2001)

I used to think that this album is one of the best in all ELO catalog,but after some listens I decided that this album is really far from perfect.Yes,thank God it isn't Secret Messages,Vol. 2,just because songs are really good.But I still say that "Getting To The Point" is one of the best ELO songs.


Sergey Zhilkin <> (19.06.2001)

You know, if ELO part two ever had a compilation, it would have consisted of 'Hello' and tons of its remix/ripoffs. And I would have prefered this compilation to Part two. Indeed, Part two isn't annoying - it's eartearing! who can bear those long and very dumb songs? I wonder how you could sit through the record three times in a row - I listened only to 2 or 3 minutes of each song and then threw this CD in my table. George, you are a hero... but don't forget to go to doctor and check your hearing...

Dima <> (04.01.2001)

This is the piece of shit.And you hear it from the lover of such "garbage" as Phil Collins and Uriah Heep.I agree with Sergey(once again!)-you're hero,George if you listened to this album from beginning to the end.Mr.Bevan must burn in hell for such songs as "For A Love Of A Woman" and "Honest Man".The last one is really something-6 minutes of the shittiest shit ever.Maybe it was better if they record just 6 minutes of silence?

Gerard Nowak <> (20.06.2003)

I got this record when I was 16, and there were only about 100 records (cassettes) on my shelf. That probably explains why I am not THAT severe on that - I had quite a good time then, so even as objectively poor a record can bring some nice memories. But this holds only for three songs: "Hello" (OK and nothing more, quite forgettable), "Honest Man" (yes! sure the arrangement is disgusting, but it's otherwise quite a decent composition, not as banal as the rest), and "Once Upon a Time" (partly). The rest is absolutely worthless for me. I guess "1000 Eyes" is the closest to the real ELO spirit or something, I remember it reminded me of some mid 1970's stuff, but it's probably only due to the foregrounded word "magic", and anyway it's only about the first verse.


Sergey Zhilkin <> (19.06.2001)

Yeah, the title and the cover tell us everything. Just look at it - the electric lamp is blowing up, the same lamp that was on their first cover! Seems that Bev Bevan wanted to make a nice 'goodbye album'. Actually, he succeeded in it - I suppose that noone wanted a 'comeback' album after this moment of shit.

The funniest thing about your review is that you try to divide songs in two groups - 'bad' and 'very bad'. No need, George, I suppose nobody is going to buy this record anyway.

Oleg <> (04.01.2001)

This one is better then previous album.Orchestra works good and Mik Kaminski saves this album from the worst result.And I really like "The Fox", George. IMHO,this one is the best song on here.


<> (14.06.2001)

I got the new ELO album that is essentially just Lynne solo album. It's got some truly great songs on it..relaly catchy and melodious. 'Moment in Paradise', 'Ordinary Dream', 'A Long Time Gone', 'Stranger on A Quiet Street'...these could exist on classic ELO albums. However, it does contain a strange amount of songs that sound like 'Don't Bring Me Down'. 'Easy Money', 'State of Mind', 'All She Wanted'...not so good, sorry to say. Anyway, I was definatley surprised at the quality of about half these tracks and the album is better than the two albums released after Time in the 80s. A 6.5/10.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (22.06.2001)

As a chairman of 'ELO preservation society' I ask you to higher the rating of Zoom album. The reasons are explained below.

1) As you possibly know, it's the only ELO's album in more than a decade with the presence of the most wonderful, intelligent and talented artists - Mr. Lynne himself. It's a big comeback for him - he earned the honor of the best songwriter of the planet in our minds again and that surely means that you should higher the rating of Zoom up to 12 at least without any arguments. And don't forget that two ex-Beatles are present here, too. It's just a sign for their further comebacks, you know. You should thank God for that!

2) The song selection is very strong here. You won't find any weak tracks at all - only tons of fun and surprise. Besides, the songs are not generic - they are even somewhat original sometimes. And a fine retro sound which sometimes pops out on some tracks won't bother you, too, since it's very enjoyable. And, admit it, Mr. Lynne doesn't sound like an old fart - he still rocks! And wonderful hooks are back, too. Seriously, have you listened to the first track 'Alright'? If yes, why it's not the best one on here in your opinion? Strange, strange....

3) That's the main point. Mr. Starostin, please, be so kind to look out from you window. [George looks out and nearly falls out because he's really that SHOCKED. The street is flooded by people who under Sergey Zhilkin's command sing songs from Zoom. George sees the transporants saying: 'What the fork, George?', 'If you don't pump the rating up to 14, we'll fork your site', 'Have you given at least one listen to this forking awesome record?' and etc. Then George notices two men smoking near the music shop on another side of the street. He recognizes them - they are those hackers that hacked his site and pumped the ratings of King Crimson and Genesis up to 4. George's hands start shaking and he rushes to the computer to rewrite the review.]

So, Mr. Starostin, we don't need any problems, do we?

PS. Seriously now, I really expected you giving Zoom 11 scores.

<> (28.06.2001)

After listening to Zoom a lot more than I thought I would ever want to listen to a 2001 ELO album, I have decided that it is truly a great album. I would up the rating to at least an 8/10. Look, if this album was released under the name "travis" or "coldplay" or "oasis" it would be considered those band's best for sure. Just because it's ELO doesn't mean it's not worthy of a high score. It kicks major ass. One of my good friends has always hated ELO and when he heard 'Ordinary Dream' and 'Long Time Gone' he said, "What is that? It's awesome!" This is one of the best comeback albums ever made, in my opinion, in that it should exist with the rest of the catelogue without reservations or disclaimers stating "Get this only if you're a huge fan." What a shock: one of Lynne's best achievements. 'Moment in Paradise' was played on VH1 storytellers for ELO and it fit in right with all the classic tracks sounding, well...classic.

Oleg <> (04.01.2001)

The best album of 2001!In fact,I can't say anything on here-I really wish to like something as Sergey's comment,but I just can't-I am the idiot and my writing talent is zero.


Damien Paynter <> (26.09.2001)

Very impressed with this album, well produced, it has soul and good melodies unlike the atrocious Balance of Power and Secret Messages (I am a huge ELO fan but those to albums are two demensional and dull). I only bought Armchair Theatre recently and I enjoyed it as much, if not more than Zoom.

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