George Starostin's Reviews



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Josh Fitzgerald <> (09.09.99)

Used to love 'em, now I hate 'em. I'm more of a balladsy type of person, so I really loved them. I kinda outgrew them though.Espcially when they put out The Other Side Of Life album.

And I just bought the recent Strange Times, and it has it's moments, but these guys really sound up there in age. Hayward's voice has lost that magic touch, though he can still carry a tune (you should hear him on Rick Wakeman's Return To The Centre Of The Earth album, he's horrible). The best singer now is Thomas, who still has a powerful booming voice. Sticking though the original 7 albums, most of them are really good. As for Octave, well, um, if you can't say something nice........

Ben Greenstein <> (01.10.99)

I'll agree with you that they're not really "progressive rock" - their music is way too simple and poppy for them to be compared to, say, Genesis. I think that the reason that they're grouped in with Pink Floyd and co is because, in their glory days, they were idolized by potheads everywhere - at least my ex-pothead hairdresser tells me. This strikes me as odd - while their music is cool and atmospheric, I don't imagine it to be the ideal "tripping" music. But I don't enjoy drugs, and maybe you have to in order to understand it. Enough.

<> (15.01.2000)

I thought your comments were very fair. Most people give the Moodies a lot of crap or worship them so it was nice to see a smart unbiased review. I was brought up on the band by my parents so I like whatever they put out, although some albums are better than others. Being one of the rare young fans (20) I always find that people don't like the 80's or 90's stuff very much. But those are the albums I've heard the most and I love them. I hate rolling stone magazine, you hit the nail on the head with your comment about them, they hate the Moodies for no apparent reason at all...their reviews are mindless and show no thought process. This review was a breath of fresh air, thanks for taking the time to do the Moodies some justice.

Vickie <> (15.01.2000)

In my opinion, the Moodies are one of the most unique groups that have ever existed. I am shocked at some of the negative commentary I have seen at this site. How can anyone call their music "ordinary pop." It is the farthest thing from that! I have been a fan of the Moddies since 1970 and first saw them in concert in the early 70's. I have seen them probably 10 times in concert at least and each experience was memorable.

The Moodies can't be compared to other groups described here as "progressive" I suppose, whatever that is supposed to mean. Actually, they can't be compared with any group becuase as I stated, they are totally unique! Much of their music has classical undertones and I will admit one either had a taste for their style or they didn't. I find it hard to believe that anyone would describe their music as simple!

Well, I could probably be more articulate about all of this but it is nearly midnight and I can barely think. Perhaps I will try again another time.

Philip Maddox <> (29.06.2000)

I love the friggin' Moody Blues. Their "classic 7" are all extremely good, if ya axe me. Tunes like 'Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)' and 'Question' are among the most beautiful rock songs ever. The Moodies did have a formula on their "classic 7", but the formula was fine by me. I think it stands as a testament to how great these albums were that fans all choose different ones. Of course, the albums they made after the "classic 7" are pretty hit-or-miss. Long Distance Voyager and The Present are good, but Octave is REALLY lame, Sur La Mer is lamer, and The Other Side Of Life is half-and-half. I don't have Strange Times yet because I always see it for about 19 bucks in stores, and I'm not gonna pay 19 bucks for it. But when it drops to about 13, oh yeah!

Oh, and I've seen the Moody Blues 3 years in a row, and they always put on the EXACT SAME SHOW! Sure, they're great, but they're a bit predictable now. Though I haven't seen this year's setlist, I guarantee that the first half will open with 'The Voice' and close with 'The Story In Your Eyes'. They'll come back with 'I Know You're Out There Somewhere'. Their encore is 'Question' followed by 'Ride My See Saw'. At the very end, Justin will thank you for "keeping the faith". That's 3 years running! Last year was the Strange Times tour, so they simply slotted out old songs and replaced them with new songs - the number of songs and song order otherwise remained the same. And they took out all the songs from Children and Threshold, and those are my 2 favorite Moody Blues albums! I think the Blues have officially become an oldies act, which is sad - even Jethro Tull changes their setlist yearly and comes up with (mostly) new stage banter. But the first year I saw them, there was a special treat - Ray was playing the flute solo at the end of 'Legend Of A Mind' while standing up, and his pants kept on getting lower and lower until he decided to hike them up - right in the middle of his solo! He did that at least 5 times. Now he sits down during the solo... a pity, to be sure.

Let's see, where was I... oh yeah! The Moody Blues are great! I don't think they were really "prog rock", but they were extremely talented, as singers and songwriters. And Mike Pinder could really play! And remember, if you wanna mock a supposed "prog rock" band, mock the Alan Parsons Project. Or Journey.

<> (25.01.2001)

I think your reviews of the MBs in general and albums are generally excellent and objective. Of course as a fan since 1969 I would have preferred an overall rating of 4 - but you would expect me to say that! Your adequacy marks lets them down but surely 40% is a bit low even if the mad old drummer is only average. Pinder was great and Justin/Johns guitar work gets better by the album. See them live as I have done 6/7 times and then you may agree. As for the vocals - as you say in one of your comments as good as anything Crosby Stills etc did - and how many groups do you know where 4 out of 5 sing well? Try and get hold of The Promise by Pinder - a lot of great songs (by the way, like you, I like 'Melancholy Man' and 'My Song' is in my top 5 of Moodies songs). Also Thomas did two Albums, Mighty Oaks and Hopes, Wishes and Dreams - good songs here - one album worth out of two. Lodge also did Natural Avenues which is excellent - non of the 'Weekend'/'Magic' rubbish. Keep up the good work.

Kevin Baker <> (16.03.2001)

I quite enjoy the Moody Blues. They're not one of my 5 favorites, but I do enjoy the majority of their output. They're going to be live in Houston here fairly soon, so there have been a number of commericals for them over the last few weeks. I nearly crack up every time I see them, especially Ray Thomas' pathetically geriatric dancing around with the tambourine. Yet they overcome their silverback status and make some truly good music. Quite impressive. As for their music, I have the Time Traveller boxset, which has a pretty good spread of their career. Most of it is thoroughly enjoyable. I also have DOFP all in mp3 format. Timeless music. 3 stars is pretty fair for a rating, even though I'd probably give DOFP a 10 myself.

Tom Anger (25.04.2001)

I tend to agree with you on most all albums and points. These guys captured a moment in the late 60's and early 70's but sadly there later stuff is no match for the early classics. That being said, I have seen the Moodies live maybe 10-12 times. And maybe 1/3 of those times that put on a rather spectacular show. On good nights they were impressive. On off night s they looked like maybe we do when having a shitty day at the office. They weren't the best musicians ( Mike Pinder was a mellotron genious and probably would give the band a shot in the arm today) but like Mohammed Ali, they should wrap things up.

Thanks for your work, tho. The reviews were insightful

Kevin MacNutt <> (28.06.2001)

I used to be a real fan of the Moody Blues and became familar with them through my parents and classic rock radio, although I was really into them between the ages 10-16, which seems appropriate and almost healthy, although continued admiration of the Moodies beyond, let's say 21 is equivalent to an eight year old with a pacifier and wearing diapers.  Hopefully tastes mature to the point that the listener starts to realise that this band falls into the catagory of unintended hilarity. One must understand I am not speaking bad of a mature adult that admits to somewhat liking them, although someone who admires  the Moodies as the best all time band and compares them to the Beatles, Stones or even ELO needs a huge reality check. Possibly the one thing that hurt the Moodies more than anything is that they took themselves so seriously, especially in the booming voice of God poetry readings by Graeme Edge. I could almost see a fan approaching Justin Hayward and asking  "so are you just another singer in a rock and roll band?" he would say yes and spend an hour justifing his and his bands raison d'etre.  So to sum all of this up, it is healthy to like and listen to these extremely white uptight Englishmen occasionally,  although if there is not a moment within a Moody Blues album in which you chuckle to yourself and say "what were these guys thinking" or "you've got to be kidding", you need to either take the LP off the platter and listen familarize yourself with other music or put the bong down and kick the pot habit (possibly counter act it with some amphetamines for good measure).

Tom Anger (18.12.2001)

I have a link to your page and return occassionally to to read any new comments- there aren't many new ones so I thought I would add mine. I have commented before and after reading your reviews again and again ( I get bored at work) I found that you were almost defending the band from the scathing Rollingstone Reviewers. I think you are right on about most of the Moodies music from the sober, objective late 90's - we listen to jazz more now and Sting and maybe even alittle rap just so we don't seem too out of it. But there are times when a Moodies song still gets into your head and walks around some and next thing you know you are humming it and feeling good again. Why?? I don't know how this happens- it only happens with the older Moodies stuff --but I heard How is it ( we are here) again recently and you know, that is a cool song. Great guitar solo ( as you say encoded in the the synth boogie) and I still like it. I think the Moodies took over from where the Beatles stopped. ( Not that they were better than the Beatles but wrote similar kinds of songs in a way) They had more song writing variety than the Beatles and were able to tour alot more. And like the Beatles got better as time got on. I think that the older they ( the Moody Blues) have gotten the more the magic has worn off-even for rock stars but I can tell they can't let it go. Wonder what we'll all be next time around and what we'll write about and critique ??? And the time after that--yearning for "one more time to live"!

Gerard Nowak <> (14.11.2002)

I strongly disagree with Keith. I am 26 now and the Moodies are still my favourite band. I am not ashamed to state that, much as I recognise their faults. Of course they are pretentious and naive but it is easy to unmask them as such unlike this Pink Floyd thing. I no longer believe that a rock song can change the world or even myself. A song cannot dazzle me anymore, all I seek is good rest and some inspiration for, say, the next hour. And here the Moodies ARE unique. No violence, dejection or hatred involved, even if they touch upon some sad themes. Sorry for sounding too lofty, but there is always warmth and hope. Add to this Hayward's vocals and there you go.

Michael Hiett <> (05.10.2003)


Brian Blommer <> (30.01.2004)

I first listened to the Moody Blues when I was 20. Since then, they have become one of the few bands that keep coming back into my life (primarily the Days of Future Passed through Seventh Sojourn era band). That in itself says a lot about them. Perhaps what says more is when they seem to most fully come back into my life: usually when I'm at my most "stripped down", either from real hardship or genuine gratitude for just being alive. Their music seems to have such a purity of intention, and a genuine love and concern for those who listen to it with equal purity of intention.

The Moody Blues have often been accused of being pompous and puffed up. That is probably the most inaccurate view of the band, especially during its 60's through early 70's heyday. To create from such a vulnerable and self-revealing place is hardly pompous. Pompous is pretending you're the devil, striving to top the next band in "ingenuity" and "cleverness", being cool, condescending, and ungrateful to your fans who put you in the limelight, and not understanding that it is music itself that is magical, not your tiny little tricks.

It is no coincidence that when life knocks me down, or when a beautiful turn of events gets me out of my sense of self-importance, the Moody Blues appear like old, perhaps neglected, friends. In those moments, all my normal critisisms of the band (and of people, events, and pretty much everything else around me) are stripped away. So, my life being what it is, I imagine the Moody Blues will be with me for the length of it. I'm not sure how many other bands will go that distance.

N Kris <> (02.05.2004)

I am a relatively young fan of the Moody Blues, and in summary, I think they are great. Very warm, often inspirational music. I think what I appreciate the most is that each member is a good songwriter in his own right. I love the "core" albums, but I also like some of the synth-based ones just as much if not more (Long Distance Voyager, and the Present; to a lesser extent: Keys of the Kingdom (a bit uneven in quality) and Strange Times (very good but not enough variety of song-types)). Because I am young and have had to come to the music by my own discovery, I am surprised by what seems to be a very ambivalent status of the band in popular opinion. On the one hand, very innovative (as in, pioneering "prog" rock and making almost ecological, positive music) and hugely popular (nearly 60 million records) but also close to being a Vegas-act nowadays.

The one thing I do not understand is what motivates and has motivated the band in the last 15 years. I don't see why Ray Thomas was excluded from Sur La Mer and largely from The Other Side of Life. Nor how such a "peace and love" band can have such messy splits with its 2 primary keyboardists. Are the Moodies supposed to be nice guys? Or money-driven corporate rockers? I cannot precisely decide. I mean, they seem nice but why go to such ends to crowd please? They cannot NEED to make any more money! Apparently December (a good album) was recorded without them actually being in the same room together, through digital recording technology. I just don't see how they can produce another total classic if they're not 100% working as a band.

The one thing I would like to hear about -Anyone have suggestions?!- is why the Moodies stick to a very fixed song set, decade after decade! I realize the people want to hear the hits, but wouldn't fans (presumably ALL the people coming anyway) rather hear 50% hits and 50% lesser-known numbers that might actually be changed every year? I imagine that that strategy, which would give the shows more variety, would probably draw more customers than having identical concerts over and over again. I have yet to see them live, and definitely hope to, but it is sad for me that Ray Thomas has retired. I think he was the most distinctive member

Vintage Wine <> (09.08.2004)

The Moody Blues. What a beautiful band.

Maybe it's the sensitive, emotional musician in me that has so often been inspired by the music of this band, so it's really hard to "review" them on a clinical level because they are too ethereal and emotional. Their music is reflective, thought-provoking. Stimulating, yet mellow at the same time. All of these emotions and feelings are coupled with beautiful orchestrations, arrangements and harmonies. All woven together tightly into well produced songs. This isn't just limited to their studio albums, either. Their live performances are just as incredible. Whether you are a die-hard Core 7 fan only or a fan of all of their work, when listening to the Moody Blues, it's as if everything is alright with the world.......

I feel it's safe to say, I'm not the only one who has been affected by The Moody Blues on a personal level.

Tere was a time, not so long ago, when there was no music in my life, because it seemed there was just nothing to sing about. Music evoked sad memories, disappointments, silly, childish wishes that didn't come to pass. I had no desire to write, sing, play my piano, or even listen to any music. I had all but lost any inspiration and passion.

Until one day, going through some videos, I ran across a forgotten video in my collection, of The Moody Blues and I decided to sit down and watch it. I smiled upon seeing these dear, wonderful gentlemen and the memories of the 3 concerts I attended came back. As I sat watching this, I found myself singing along (yes, I felt like singing!) Something that I thought was long gone and withered away was still there and it was the music of The Moody Blues which gently brought it back.


Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

This CD collects the British LP and all of the singles the original lineup released, except for one. That said, it's all early British Invasion music - with the only distinguishing characteristic being that the sound is centered on Pinder's piano rather than guitars. That said, this lineup really only produced four decent tracks -- "Go Now," it's haunting followup, "From the Bottom of My Heart," a piano-driven version of "Time is On my Side," and their next to the last A-side, "Boulevard de la Madelaine". This last one is a real beauty, with Spanish guitar, accordion and French horn combining to good effect. If you're not REALLY into the band, don't bother.

The one missing track is called "People Gotta Go", and it only appeared on a French EP which also included "Boulevard" - which, not that surprisingly, was a big hit in France and Belgium, and helped the Mark II Moodies survive long enough to make the next album. It's pretty unlikely they'll even be able to find the master to "People Gotta Go", never mind rerelease it.

<> (18.08.2001)

That's Mike Pinder singing "I Don't Mind" not Denny Laine.

Gerard Nowak <> (26.04.2003)

After all, these aren't THE Moodies for me. Only in a couple of songs can I find the definite links with the classic line-up sound ("Everyday" - due to the very pleasant Moodyish harmonies; "Let Me Go" and "Boulevard" - due to the instrumentation, but are these really French horns on the latter?). Yet I wouldn't dismiss the band as a second-rate British invasion act. First, there is the flute, four years ahead of the Tull, and it fits the sound nicely. I love those little ornaments in "I've Got a Dream". Second, some middle- eights, those by Pinder, I guess, are outstanding melodically (e.g. "Thank You Baby" and "You Don't"). And some self-written songs are mere jewels ("This Is My House" and "Life's Not Life" are 100 per cent red for me!).

Now, I must admit I don't know the originals, so I can't judge the adequacy of the covers. But I guess that the best moments are those very Moodyish ones again, like one "Sth You Got" verse dominated by the flute. I'm of course familiar by the Stones' version of 'Time Is on My Side' - compare it or not, the Moodies' version is outrageous, the Moody Blues song I hate most. But the rest are rather fine, though obviously they can't beat the originals.

One more thing, in my opinion "From the Bottom of My Heart" is a fine composition, but the falsettos towards the end amount to disaster.

Bruce Wilkie <> (08.01.2006)

Please don't vilify me because I am a die hard Moodies fan. My intention is not to evaluate the artistic composition of Days Of Future Passed or to try to persuade anyone that it was one of the greatest rock albums ever created, which it was. I have read several reviews of this and others albums and it has always mystified me as to why they create such a dramatic swing in opinion, from one extreme to another. My reason for writing is to do my best to try and correct a misunderstanding. Most people believe that Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band influenced Days of Future Passed and there is no evidence to support this theory other than Days was released in November, 1967 and Sgt. Peppers was released in July of that year. The following is an account based on what I have read and interviews with the Moody Blues. After Clint Warrwick and Denny Laine left The Moody Blues and their 15 minutes of fame from 'Go Now' ran out, Justin Hayward and John Lodge were brought into the band. John was friends with Mike Pinder and Justin was recommended to them after he auditioned for The Animals. During 1966 the Moodies newly formed band created what they referred to as their "stage act". During this time the songs that comprise Days of Future were written including 'Legend of a Mind' which was put on their second album, In Search of the Lost Chord. Unable to get a recording contract the Moodies toured the clubs in England until Decca Records called them and asked if they would record an album with an orchestra, Dvorak's 9th Symphony; they wanted to demonstrate their stereophonic to the the rock and roll crowd as only classical recordings were using this technique on the Deram label. Instead of actually playing with the orchestra as originally intended the Moodies decided to record their stage act and mix it with the recordings of the pickup orchestra later named The London Festival Orchestra. This did not set well with many of the record execs and several wanted the project scrapped, but because of the time and money spent they decided to go ahead with it. The album was ready to be released in the summer of 67 but because the Beatles were releasing Sgt Peppers and the Decca record execs didn't want the competition they held off releasing Days until November. The only impact Sgt Peppers had on Days was it ensured its success, however Days of Future Passed had been written long before Sgt Peppers. If there was any influence either way it is more likely that Days of Future Passed influenced the Beatles but since I have not read or heard anyone mention this I can only assume. But it is unlikely that Sgt Peppers had anything to do with Days.


Josh Fitzgerald <> (09.09.99)

Good songs, bad orchestration. I agree, Side 2 is better."Nights In White Satin" was nice, but is just so dated now. "Evening:Time To Get Away" is very underrated. John's best performance ever, and a chilling melody. Thomas' two songs are his masterpieces. Pinder's "Sun Set" is passable, but a tad annoying. The poem makes no sense, and "Peak Hour" is their BEST ROCKER EVER! The orchestraction is boring and pointless. I can handle classical music, but I have somewhat of a problem when it's mixed with rock.The songs are really awesome though.

My rating-8

Ben Greenstein <> (01.10.99)

When I first heard this, I would have rated it at about a seven. I didn't care for any of the songs save "Peak Hour," "Thursday Afternoon," and "Nights In White Satin." Then I heard the story about howthe original CD was mastered wrong, so I bought the vinyl version (now on remastered CD). I was shocked - it barely sounds like the same album! Much more lush and in keeping with the music. I'd give it a nine.

John McFerrin <> (07.10.99)

First of all, about the orchestration; they didn't wheel the orchestra in to "put the Beatles to shame" or anything like that. You see, Decca's original desire was for the Moodies to work in collaboration with an orchestra to create, of all things, a rock version of Dvorak's Ninth Symphony. The Moodies pretended that that's what they planned to do, but instead they went behind the company's back and threw this together in five days. As for my thoughts on the orchestration ... well, it's nothing particularly special or anything, but I still say that as far as a medium for connecting the songs (after all, a day doesn't just "jump" from morning to noon to afternoon; it gradually passes, and the times seem to fade in and out of each other) the arrangments are fine. And I even think that the poetry, as dumb as it is, is also essential in establishing the songs as a never-ending cycle, as night goes into day goes into night and so on ...

As far as the songs; yup, fantastic. Great melodies everywhere. Lush Hayward vox. I agree with the 9.

Nick Karn <> (17.11.99)

I definitely gotta go with the 9 on this too. This album is simply a breathtaking experience with fascinating melodies. Regarding the orchestration, I'm not bothered by it at all - it's just there to add a bit of color to the music, and the arrangements always stay true to the basic melodies of the songs... it's hardly MGM sounding in my opinion. Of course, I do have to admit I was bothered by it in the intro track - afterwards it's no big deal. The poetry is laughable though (but in a good way). The VERY uplifting, pleasant child-like ditty "Another Morning", the melodically complex and astonishingly beautiful epic "Tuesday Afternoon" and the time transcending passion of the romantic "Nights In White Satin" particularly rule, but the rest are hardly filler. "Dawn Is A Feeling" and "Twilight Time" are mysterious, dark and charming, and "Peak Hour" is the most entertaining rocker of the bunch - it is very out of place like many have suggested, but I guess it works as far as the concept goes.

Bob Josef <> (08.06.2000)

The influence of Sgt. Pepper just oozes from every note here. Which is cool, as far as I'm concerned. This is one of the few Pepper influenced albums which approaches it in quality -- most everyone else overindulged themselves when trying to do a Pepper clone (especially the Stones).

I must disagree with your critique of the orchestration -- the album would simply not have been the influential whopper it was if the Moodies had just recorded their eight songs, period. They would have surely vanished right away. The orchestral themes, except for the hokey fifites-sounding link to "Peak Hour," don't sound corny at all -- Knight composed the rest of the themes using the Moodies own songs, so they compliment the songs perfectly.

I do agree about Lodge's annoying falsetto on "Time to Get Away." In the original 1967 mix, his low vocal on the verses alternated with a group chorus, but the 70's remix eliminated that for some reason and left that awful high pitched solo voice! Lodge was always the weakest lead vocalist anyway. "Sunset" never did much for me -- the Indian influence sounds very forced -- it's the only tune on Caught Live + 5 which sounds better than the studio version.

But these are small nitpicks. A majestic landmark album overall.

Ted Goodwin <> (14.06.2000)

Yeah, they never really topped this one. It seems like their next several albums were all trying, and failing, to duplicate it in some way. I don't have any problem with the orchestration, although it's a good thing they didn't try to carry it over onto later albums. I don't even mind Edge's poetry that much on this album (by the way, it's Pinder who recites it here and in most cases), but it's one element they should NOT have kept putting into their albums (with, IMHO, the single exception of "Departure"). I can't like Hayward's songs the best because I've heard them too dang many times, but at least I'm not sick of them. For some reason I have a particular fondness for "The Sun Set / Twilight Time". This pair of tunes manages to color the ordinary "times of day" with mystery and tension, and never gets off the subject like Hayward's songs do.

Philip Maddox <> (30.06.2000)

I almost agree with you 100% here, except I've never minded the orchestration. It joins all the songs together and never lasts too long to really offend me. I think side 2 in particular is nearly perfect - 'Tuesday Afternoon' and 'Nights In White Satin' are two or three steps beyond beautiful. 'Time To Get Away' is very pretty, too. Lovely music. Side 1 isn't as good, simply because it doesn't quite have the epic sweep of side 2. It still creates the moods of every time of day quite well. And the poetry, dumb as it may be, frames the album and gives it a great sense of resolution. I agree with your 9. Quite a step up from Go Now!

Michael J. West <> (23.01.2001)

And now comes the part where prejudices are revealed -- this is my all-time favorite album by anyone ever in the history of the whole wide world. I love every single bit of this record: the orchestration, the poetry, the songs, the arrangements, the lyrics, the vocals, the packaging, even the liner notes. "Twilight Time" is easily my favorite song on here--a dark little melody with a great arrangement (that piano is somethin' else), plus Ray's vocal and that neat background wail. And yes, I love the woodwind-based orchestration that segues into "Nights," too. I just adore this album.

Of course, having a dozen years of sentimental value, memories, nostalgia and every other kind of personal stigma attached to this album, I could never possibly be objective about it again, as I suppose I was when I first heard it at the age of nine in 1988. But I don't want to be objective about it, and why should I? Music's a very personal and subjective matter anyway, and Days of Future Passed is as inextricably forged to my identity as anything can be. So I pour disgusting affection all over it, and I do it without shame!

Rich Bunnell <> (10.02.2001)

I'm with Ben on this one - the original mastering of this one on CD was absolutely horrible. Just dismal. If you find it in a used CD bin, run away screaming. The newer remastered edition actually allows you to appreciate the music, and musically, this is probably the most complete-sounding Moodies album. I choose to straddle the fence on the orchestration - it's banal and generic, but without it the album would have much less of a unified feel. Edge's poetry is also lame, but on this album it's presented in a chilling, climactic way that perfectly compliments the surrounding music.

Speaking of the music, it's all great. Each one possesses an exquisite melody and sounds exactly like the time of the day that it's meant to evoke. "Dawn Is A Feeling" is beautiful pseudo-torch - written by Pinder, who for once in his career was smart enough to let Hayward sing it for him. I would personally argue that the next three songs show that some of the songwriters already had distinct styles - "Another Morning" is classic giddy, bouncy Thomas, "Peak Hour" shows Lodge already indebting himself to churning out catchy rockers where his voice is so buried by multitracked vocals that you can't even tell what he sounds like, and the amazing hit "Forever Afternoon" displays Hayward in his patented "epic ballad" mode. "Nights In White Satan" was the mega-hit, and it unfortunately caused the Moodies to be pegged as corny, sappy balladeers, but viewed objectively, it's a magnificent song. This isn't my favorite Moodies album, but it's definitely their most cohesive work, whether it was corporately-engineered or not. 9/10

Kevin Baker <> (16.03.2001)

This is one of the top 10 albums of 1967, and my personal favorite Moody Blues album. I've never had a problem with the orchestration myself, nor do I find this poetic outing by Graeme Edge to be utterly disgusting. As an amateur poet, I can tell you it still sucks, but as someone else said, they make up for the corniness by doing it in an appropriate manner with appropriate backing. The actual songs are all killer-diller (especially in jackboots and kilt). 'The Day Begins' is probably the best rock "overture" I've heard attempted; it works well in my book. Then we get into the day. 'Dawn Is A Feeling' is pretty without being overly bombastic. It's a lovely song with a typically fabulous vocal delivery. 'Another Morning' is so naively fun. If it does indeed represent childhood, it does so excellently. 'Peak Hour' is proof that The Moodies could indeed do rock and roll if they so desired, and they do it quite well. 'Tuesday Afternoon' was my first exposure to the band, and at first I loathed it. Now I love it. However, I will confess to liking 'Evening: Time To Get Away' better. It's and relaxing. For me, the only misstep was 'Sunset'; I don't  particularly care for the overly eastern flavour of it. I do, however like 'Twilight Time', especially the line about the aerial display from the firefly brigade. And then of course, the monster. The Moody Blues calling card. Bombastic, but o so beautiful. I love every detail of that song, every word, every note, every single second of that flute solo. This album was, for 1967, quite unique. Artsy, lovely, but still o so rock. 13/15

Kevin MacNutt <> (28.06.2001)

This is still the most successful of all the Moodies classical albums and does not suffer from the high seriousness that ruined the later albums.  Unfortunately the London Festival Orchestra sound more like they only appeared with the Moodies on the record rather than in the studio with them, giving the the styles an oil on water sound. Not a bad album, but Procol Harum pulled it off more successfully and less pretentiously on A Salty Dog.

Akis Katsman <> (04.06.2003)

Days Of Future Passed is a near-perfect classical-pop album. The songs here are excellent and the production is strong. The orchestra works very well with the pop songs! The only problem is that the "poetry" parts are somewhat long. My favourites are "Another Morning", "Peak Hour" and, of course, the overrated-but-still-great "Nights In White Satin", although I prefer to listen to the whole album. If you like classical music and/or pop bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys, buy this album, listen to it at night and get hooked. Just a masterpiece. No more, no less. A high nine from me.

Amanda Kenyon <> (02.06.2004)

This was my first Moody Blues album after I found out they were the ones who sang "Your Wildest Dreams" and decided that they were my favorite band based on that one song. I think I was around twelve at the time. After my dad found out I liked them, he bought me DOFP on cassette (it was 1993, okay?) and forced me to listen to it about a gazillion times. At age twelve I was remarkably unimpressed, but as time wore on I found that it was growing on me more and more. Now I consider it genius. (The Moody Blues are still my favorite band, by the way.) My favorite track on it these days is "Twilight Time," which contains some of the best lyrics the band ever came up with. Especially when you compare it to the rest of the album, which is pretty much the definition of "cheese." Yes, lyrically it's a little weak, but when you put the whole thing together it has more pure ATMOSPHERE than just about anything else I can think of besides Pink Floyd. It's also one of the very few albums in my collection that I only think of as "albums" and not a collection of songs. Yes, there are some individual tracks that are stronger than the rest, but none that really lag behind. Even though there are other albums of theirs that I enjoy a bit more, I have to rate this one at the top in terms of sheer technical brilliance. Even the dopy poetry is a bit less dopy than it would eventually be. But hey, who else was (or is) reciting poetry on "rock" albums, anyway? Nobody, that's who!

Nikita Kokorin <> (13.06.2005)

Generally, I agree with the commentators above. Moodies shouldn't be punished for orchestration. Take, for example, In The Court Of The Crimson King. For all timeless stuff it gets a 13, and poor Moonchild' can't spoil overall effect. On Days we have orchestral breaks between songs and controversial overture, much more listenable and acceptable than 'Moonchild'.

Thirteen, no less

Tim Blake (09.08.2006)

I started in on The Moody Blues with Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. Having acquired Days Of Future Passed and To Our Children's Children's Children since then, in hindsight it was a very bad place to get my first impression. The main reason is because the alright 'Procession' and 'The Story In Your Eyes' give absolutely no indication that the rest of the album is some really pretty boring Meddle style songs, that tend to be extremely bland, lacking in atmosphere and dull. In fact, they feel like discarded early Pink Floyd outtakes (though I love After You Came, the other best song). It's not a bad album, but a poor indication of The Moody Blues, and seems to lack the personality I can sense in both Days and Children.

No, it seems that the Moodies are at their best when they are writing lush, orchestrated life and death themed balladish ditties, and are at their most overblown and pretentious. When they curb back that big ambition as in the case of Every Good Boy, it just bores!

Moving on to Days Of Future Passed...once you let it it really carries you away on a fantastic journey, unlike a great many of other albums I've heard. The concept is so incredibly simple, but movingly effective, and it really brings out the best in this music. The first thing that struck me upon hearing the album was how inoffensive and bland the string sections were, like out of your most pedestrian Hollywood movie, that I actually almost dozed off in boredom the first time I listened to it in it's entirety! However, given time with the album, and starting to understand the concept of a life moving from birth to middle age to death, I've slowly picked up all the themes and melodies and learned to anticipate the it keeps my attention. Now it strikes me as a superbly structured, melodically exceptional pseudo-classical progressive pop suite.

It's testament to the sheer quality of this album that there is nary a low point throughout the entire thing. It's a startingly consistent listen. Of we go with 'The Days Begins', an overture of the type you may hear in your favourite Humphrey Bogart film. It features the orchestra (forgot which one) playing melodic extracts of the majority of the songs, in a progressing way that you may call this first track a short (orchestrated) outline of the entire album to follow itself. Note: 'Nights In White Satin' sounds farkin' rad orchestrated. Plus we get some cheesy poetry, but ehh.

'Dawn Is A Feeling'. Utterly, totally gorgeous, and sad sad sad! 'The smell of grass just makes you pass into a dream'. Fo' sure. 'The Morning After' is my favourite song, because it is the most bouncy, happy, dippy trippy tune on here. After some flowery strings a jumpy bassline kicks up and we get the cheeriest, most upbeat self-consciously 'wondered' track ever, about kites and children and happy things. It's great. I love those harmonized flutes. 'Balloons flying, children sighing, what a day to go kite flying'...that says it all, I think. 'Lunch Break - Peak Hour' is another dippy trippy hippy track, but not as good, 'cos the melody is more energetic but less compelling. It's still alright!

'Afternoon' gets us living through middle age, and after those two last high, riding-the-wave of life tracks a certain appropriate weariness and uncertainty sets in here. Still, there are powerful strains of hope left in Hayward's powerful cry of 'Tueeeeesday afffffternooon!'. So we're tired, but not down and out. On the other hand, 'Evening' gets us down a little further. 'Evening has earned it's place today, I'm tired of working away, working, living'. You can feel the estrangement with the rest of the world , the protagonist wanting to leave the world to itself now. 'Evening...time to get away'. But there's a bit of life left. 'The Sun Sets' is about the moments left before dying, and strangely, has a big middle-eastern, Egyptian-ish vibe to it. With congos and semi-mystical poetic lyrics. You feel the reflection on life and the preparation for the final stage, and in a way it feels very optimistic, so perhaps at this very late stage our protagonist does actually feel contented, happy and nostalgic?

That comes with 'Nights In White Satin'...a very chilling, dark and sad ode to that final stage in life...death. I don't think it's as good as all that....I mean, it's a fine song, but doesn't fully deserve it's status as the best most immortal Moody Blues song. Still, it conveys a sense of longing, regret, and yes, death, in a powerful, fleshed out manner. It's a fully contained artwork unto itself, with all the hopes and dreams of the rest of the album summed up and laid bare over it's course. Couldn't have asked for a more appropriate, excellent conclusion to this album. It's the darkness of one on the verge of and entering death trying to make sense of it all, and it gets to you.

In conclusion, this album seriously grows on you. You may be tempted at first to dismiss it as too bland, or innocuous, maybe to unadventurous, whatever number of potential criticism. But really immerse yourself in this music and concept and the sheer beauty of the thing just hits you. It's a near perfect adventure through the trials and tribulations of a universal theme, being life, and this concept elevates it to the realm of being one of the best concept albums you'll hear. Everything is measured and displayed so effectively and intelligently you can't help but let this album pull you in. I think it's way better than To Our Children's, too.


John McFerrin <> (30.08.99)

Ok, so the concept is pretty dumb. And yeah, the hippie stuff kinda dates it, but that's not why I'm still fond of this album.

After the huge success of Days, the guys desperately wanted to show that they could make a good album without the backing orchestra (more than one critic had stated that the most attractive element of DOFP was indeed the Knight arrangements). But, they also liked having several instruments and several things happening in each of their tracks, so they essentially made themselves into a pseudo orchestra. How? By using tons and tons of different instruments, that's how. The official listing says that they used 33 different types of instruments on the album (real differences, not just different brand names of sitars or anything like that) and that doesn't include things like using cardboard boxes for drums or cellos as bass guitars. It's cool, even if it's clumsy.

About the songs themselves. The listener needs to tread with caution, there's no question about that. 'Best Way To Travel' is terrific. 'Legend of a Mind' rules, despite and yet because of the dippy lyrics (legend has it that when Ray first heard about the "astral plane," he really did think it was an actual airplane.) 'House of Foor Doors' is neato, with each of the doors representing a period in musical history (I think it's #1=medieval, #2=baroque, #3=romantic (the variation on Tchaikovsky's piano #1, and #4=modern (ie a rock band playing 'Legend of a Mind'). And 'The Actor' has nice singing. But the poetry sucks, 'Dr. Livingston,' is annoying, and 'Visions of Paradise' is just clumsy. Oh well. Give it a 7

Josh Fitzgerald <> (09.09.99)

Bear with me, 'cuz I don't have copy of this anymore, so I have to review from memory. I loved this sooo much!"Departure" works, due the effects in the background. And remember when I said that Thomas' songs on DOFP are his masterpiece? Whoops! I forgot aboout "Legends Of A Mind". Oooohh! That song was sent by God! Those harmonies at the end just send chills all over my body! "Om" is too long and preachy, but the harmonies are enough to boost it. Pinder's at a high here too, with "The Best Way To Travel." "Visions Of Paradise" proves that Hayward/Thomas could have been the next Lennon /McCartney, had they stuck with it. Another spine tingler, espcially that creepy, but beautiful flute. Lodge's songs are pretty lame, though. I don't like the dumb "Voices In The Sky" or "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume". The rest is first rate!

My rating-9

Ben Greenstein <> (01.10.99)

Dated, sure, but what Moodies album isn't? "Ride My See-Saw" and "Legend Of A Mind" are classics, and I personally really love "The Actor." "House Of Four Doors" is perhaps the closest they ever got to true prog-rock. However, I will agree that the second side almost entirely blows. "Voices In The Sky" has got to be their worst song ever - and it's on their "Best Of" collection! And "Om" is pretty awful, too. A seven, though, because the good songs are really good.

Rich Bunnell <> (23.04.2000)

But...but...this album rules! A six? You gave Bowie's Lodger the same grade and you said you only liked four songs out of ten! Here you like basically the whole first side along with "Voices In The Sky"! And look at all of these albums you gave higher grades than Who's Next! Led Zeppelin's Presence is comparable? Aerosmith's Draw The Line is superio.....err.....wrong site.

I really feel that this is a great album. Really. Out of the twelve songs, the only one I really don't care for is Hayward's "Visions Of Paradise," which sort of just floats by and doesn't need to exist. "Om" is sort of dumb, but it's not as horrible as everyone seems to proclaim. The rest is wonderous. "House Of Four Doors" is a neat concept done well, "Ride My Seesaw" is a bouncy, rockin' deserved classic rock staple, "The Actor" is lovely (that quietly-lulling Hayward vocal intro is gorgeous), and "Legend Of A Mind" and "Dr. Livingstone I Presume" are typically-great Ray Thomas tunes. I love the jovial outburst of the chorus in the latter, and the former is cool, creepy, and catchy all at the same time. Why does everyone say that Hayward is the band's only great vocalist and completely throw off Thomas? I love Thomas's voice! Less technically-good, sure, but if you rate your favorite musical artist by whose vocals are "technically" better than the rest, you might as well just not listen to Dylan, the Stones, the Doors, the Police, Neil Young, the Velvet Underground, the Clash, Talking Heads, R.E.M., and the Kinks, and get all nice and cozy in that comfortable clockwork orange you've made of music. My verdict is that this album is quite good and a solid nine.

And once again Ben boggles my mind. "Voices In The Sky" the band's worst song ever? Worse than "My Song," "Procession," and a load of their '80s tripe? Hell, worse than some of the other stuff on -this very album-? I respect everyone's opinion, but Ben really seems to love those superlatives. If I had a dollar for every song on Prindle's site that he labeled the "best song ever written," I'd be able to finance a small corporation.

Bob Josef <> (09.06.2000)

The album is hopelessly dated at this point, but that's part of its charm. Surely, Pinder's use of the mellotron here sets the pattern for all future players of the instrument, such as keyboradists for Yes and King Crimson, especially on the totally trippy "Legend of a Mind." Ray never took the song as seriously as the rest of the world did, but it still sounds like nothing made today.

"Om" does go overboard, but nevertheless, I like the tradeoff between the flute and mellotron and between the voices of Mike and Ray. Hayward's ballads are just gorgeous, and Lodge is smart enough to have multitracked vocals overdubbed on "See-Saw." A solo lead on "4 Doors" by the man, on the other hand, was not a good idea, but musically it's the prototype for their more impressionistic pieces.

If one has a sense of humor and likes youthful enthusiasm and a bit of hopeful naivete, it's a great listen.

Philip Maddox <> (30.06.2000)

I'd up this record to an 8 and call it another superb Moody Blues album. I have to dock points for the idiotic 'Om' and the stupid 'Dr. Livingston, I Presume' (despite a fine chorus on the latter). Also, this record has too much of a hippie feel to it - none of the other Moody Blues albums are quite so heavy on the flower power as this one. Still, most of these songs are top notch. The whole 'House Of Four Doors' suite is absolutely beautiful. I love all the mellotrons and atmosphere and whatnot. 'Legend Of a Mind' fits in quite well, and it's one of my favorite Moody Blues songs easily, and easily the best song on here. 'Ride My See Saw' is good, too, though the lyrics are dumb. Really, everything on here except the stuff I mentioned already is really good. No points off for the poetry, because it's too short to matter and isn't as bad as most people make it out to be. I still don't get why people hated them so much - they made great music!

<> (25.02.2001)

I've decided (after some internal debate) that this is my favorite Moodies album. I want to start by defending "Om", which is much maligned in most other places. I like the way the performance contrasts the "simple" tabla and sitar sound with the foreboding mellotron chords in the background. Pinder has a calming lead voice, and Thomas pipes in as well, very nice. You don't like the lyrics? So What!! If you think these are bad, you haven't listened to The Beach Boys Love You or Sometime In New York City. Those are bad lyrics.

Edge's stuff can be off-putting, but "Departure" is pretty short, and does transform into "Ride My See-Saw" effectively.

But the main point, even if you don't like the Edge poems or "Om", is that what remains is the most consistently good set the Moodies put together. "Legend of A Mind" is my favorite Thomas number - again, there are those foreboding mellotron bends in the back, swooping in and out. "Voices In The Sky" and "The Actor" are two of Hayward's best, and the best vocals anywhere in rock from that era. What unabashedly passionate singing that was! "Ride My See-saw" is the album's rocker, a good vehicle for lead guitar in concert I'm sure. "House Of Four Doors" may seem trite with the "door" sound effects, but that effectively organizes the different instrumental sections, and the "surprise" lead in to "Legend" is brilliant.

You know what? I give it a 10 and 14. One point off because my kids would probably laugh at the Edge intros and outros. If this was back when I first heard it, it'd be a 15.

Tom Anger (25.04.2001)

Well after reading all the reviews- I agree with many. You say this stuff is "dated" and"hippie". Well guess what everyone was a hippie then (almost- there were a few nerds then too) but if you have ever taken an acid trip then you know what the middle of 'Legend of a Mind' is all about The Best Way to travel -still tripping !!. And 'Visions of Paradise'-soothing blue green water'The Actor'- nice soothing song (now we' re coming down from the trip) and finally 'OM'. It is kinda like 'Kashmer' by Led Zep, I think. Its a neat song. There ain't nothing like this on the radio today. Yea some of it is cheesy. BUT most of whats on the radio to day is shit, I mean what is rap there ain't even any songs on MTV. The Moodies made pretty nice music, all in all. I have my clock radio loaded with In Search of -every morning I listen to those mellotron bends and it makes my day.

Want to really see what this music was about-drop acid and listen !!

Gerard Nowak <> (26.05.2003)

I wish it wasn't a concept album. I wish there wasn't "Om" and "The Word". This album reads and sounds better as a compilation of loose songs. It took them all the way to Seventh Sojourn to find out, after they'd strained their formula to the extreme, that their strongest songs are about feelings of various kinds. And nothing inadequate about that, eceryone has them. Whenever they wrote about the philosophical or the so called Eastern mysticism, they always sounded more or less ridiculous.

There's an intresting point about "The Actor". Only a few days ago did I read an interview with Hayward in which he puts this song alongside "Tuesday Afternoon" and a couple of others - he says he was obsessed with the idea of putting together two tempoes and two rhythms in a single song. And the funny thing is, I listened to this song hundreds of times, and played it myself too, and I noticed all that, but I didn't pay attention to it. For me it shows some great songwriting power. All of these changes in 'The Actor' or 'Never Comes the Day' are smooth and natural with respect both to the internal logic of the song and the lyrics. And it's not often the case with some otherwise more progressive groups.

Amanda Kenyon <> (02.06.2004)

I must say I agree totally about "Legend of a Mind," except about the lyrics - I think they're great! Even though he totally misunderstood the whole "astral plane" thing, he misunderstood it in such a way that he could almost pass it off as being intentional. It works. When I'm trying to convince people of the Moodies' art/acid rock capabilities I always make them listen to "Legend of a Mind" in hopes that it will color their perceptions of the band's other attemps at the genre that did not succeed nearly as well. I do NOT like "House of Four Doors," however. What a shameful frame for such a masterpiece as "Legend of a Mind." It's a fantastic idea, but very poorly developed and with one of the cheesiest melodies I've ever heard. And now I have a confession to make: "Visions of Paradise" is STILL my favorite Moody Blues song. Everyone makes fun of me for this, but I really don't care. I think the blending of voice and flute works very well, it has a gorgeous melody, I love the little sitar twangs, and it's just a lovely song. Good atmosphere never fails to pull me in, and that song has it aplenty. I also really enjoy "Om," largely because of the choral arrangements of the chorus. You're absolutely right about "The Actor," and while we're on the subject I'd like to make it quite clear that when Justin Hayward was in his prime he could sing the hell out of just about anyone else in the world with the possible exception of Jim Morrison. Overall, I suppose the album isn't really essential (I have a really hard time looking at the core 7 objectively) but I still enjoy the hell out of it.

Jason Saenz <> (13.08.2004)

This album shoud have been called: In Search Of New And Generic Boredom. All I can get out of this is a bunch of uninspired childish acid trips, I even read on the liner notes that the Moody's didnt even use lsd inspiration to cut this, so imagining lsd trips as inspiration for making an album is really lame. I'm just a bit dissapointed because the moodies were original and here they were just going with the flow. "Timothy Leary's Dead" is a refrence ti his copycat book of the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, just a bunch of useless "sugar coated" satanic psychedelic philosophy, but everybody else was doing it so why not the Moody's try it out as well? HHMMMMMMM or sorry Om, yeah right!


Josh Fitzgerald <> (09.09.99)

More really nice songs. "In The Beginning" is pretty twisted, but I like it anyway. The "Have you Heard" medley is good, and "The Voyage" is one of my favorate instrumentals. It's mesmerising (did I spell that right?)! "Dear Diary" and "Lazy Day" are two more Thomas songs that can give your back hairs a workout (can you tell Thomas is my favorite songwriter?). The Hayward/Thomas "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" once agin proves that they could have been the next Lennon/ McCartney had they stuck with it. Just a nice little album.

My rating-8

Ben Greenstein <> (01.10.99)

This is a GREAT album. I can't think of a single song on here that I don't like. I seem to recall "To Share Our Love" being used in a Burger King commercial or something, but I'm not sure. And Ray Thomas' tunes, for once, are dark and spoky, as opposed to flaky. And I just love "So Deep Within You." Macho makeout rock, but it's got a really good melody, and certainly deserved to be a hit. I give the album a ten.

Rich Bunnell <> (21.02.2000)

It's entirely a result of personal past experience, but I love "In The Beginning." It has strange psychological effects on me. The computer voice scared the CRAP out of me when I heard the song when I was three (on some compilation album played by the parental units), and when I hear the song on headphones I have to turn the volume down when that voice suddenly jumps in lest I get some sort of eerie flashback. It's a great poem, if only for the way that it's read, and I'd wager one of the Moodies' best. The song that follows it, "Lovely To See You," is even better--a feeble, half-baked melody? Eh? That song is beauty incarnate! That guitar run-- god, what great stuff. And "So Deep Within You" is hilarious-- not a funny song lyrically but it still sounds punchily Mr. Downtown dramatic. Hoo-ha. I don't care too heavily for Lodge's songs (they're just a bit too indistinctive though catchy), and that Hayward song near the end bores me to death, but the other songs on this album comprise a fine collection of well-written tunes. Particularly Pinder's closing suite--how could you not love that? Anyway, the CD I have is the crummy '80s remaster so everything sounds a bit weak to my ears sonically, but I'm crossing my fingers for a better mix on the newer releases. An eight.

Bob Josef <> (08.06.2000)

Well, George, we agree on the overall rating, but we disagree on the best songs! "Dear Diary" the BEST song? Give me a break! Ray takes a major dump here with his two tracks -- ugh, how dull and boring these are -- the worst tunes the group had come up with up to this point. And "Are You Sitting..." is substandard Hayward because Ray helped write it, and it really drags down the latter half of the album, along with the dopey "Lazy Day." (The Beach Boys were much better at exploring, as one reviewer put, " the sublime wonder of the mundane" on such albums as Friends and Sunflower.) Fortunately, the Ray lull was only temporary.

As for everybody else, well, they really do themselves justice. Although Justin has a way to go in developing his lead guitar skills, "Lovely to See You" and "To Share Your Love" are fine upbeat rockers. John is once again smart enough to hand off the lead vocal to Mike on the latter and to use the multitracked harmonies approach again on the delightful "Send me no Wine." "Never Comes the Day" isn't exactly "Nights in White Satin" (couldn't he write more than one verse)?, but very catchy on the chorus and moving on the verse. "So Deep Within You" is about the only time they tried something sort of jazzy,(and something with a more-than-obvious double entendre) and "The Voyage" just is incredible. It's awesome how they manage to simulate an entire spaced-out classical symphony by themselves with this one -- hardly unoriginal -- this is really the prototype for future prog-rock explorations.

And it spaces you out without you needing to resort to any illegal substances!

Philip Maddox <> (30.06.2000)

One of the most underrated records ever. Rolling Stone hated it, of course, and even Moody Blues fans generally think it's the weakest of the "classic 7". This is my favorite Moody Blues record! It's diverse, it's moody, it's got it all! The two Thomas songs are easily among the best he would ever do (no 'Nice To Be Here' crap to be seen!), the rockers are energetic (I really love 'So Deep Within You', because it's hard not to like a melody that pompous), and the ballads are the best they ever did ('Never Comes the Day' is absolutely fabulous!). I especially love the end of the album, although lots of people (you included) think it's boring - 'Are You Sitting Comfortably' is among the most beautiful medieval songs ever recorded by a rock band (right up there with 'Firth of Fifth'). 'The Voyage' is absolutely beautiful, too - that sad piano line in the middle is gorgeous! I like to put it on during a storm and be "carried away" by the melody. I give this a 10 with no hesitation. And the poetry is really good for once - it's kind of meaningless, but it's really creepy and foreboding. It flushes out the album extremely well.

Rich Bunnell <> (31.12.2000)

To quote Groundskeeper Willie, "I told ye ah'd be baack!"

I finally got around to purchasing the remastered edition of this album, not too hard since I had a Media Play gift card, and I have to say that this is now without a doubt my favorite Moody Blues album. I have to agree with Ben, there just isn't a single bad song on here. The generally quiet tone of the album keeps each member from his usual indulgences (except Edge, who does the same stuff as always, but here he's more creepy than annoying), and the melodies aren't generic - they're gorgeous. I know I already complained about this, but "Lovely To See You" is a perfect song, and NOT a ballad by any means, either musically or lyrically. And regarding Bob's comment, whaaaat? Ray's songs are two of the best ones on here! I can't see how anyone can consider "Dear Diary" "boring" as opposed to "chilling, intriguing, and amazing." Anyway, I already made my point several months ago, but I popped back in to say that I would now give this a perfect ten. AND NOW TO SUIT...OUR GRRRRRREAT COMPUTER!....YOU'RE MAGNETIC INK!

Amanda Kenyon <> (02.06.2004)

Oh, George. I like you very much and respect your reviewing talents tremendously, but you are SO wrong on this one. I'm not going to try to tell you that the album is pure genius and deserves to be rated a 15, but there is definitely not a blue song on it! "In the Beginning" is by far one of Graeme's better poetic endeavors, largely because of the reading (which scared the piss out of me as a small child - I believe I have that in common with Rich) and leads into the fabulous "Lovely to See You." I don't understand how you see the melody as "half-baked" - sure it doesn't have a lot of range to it, but it's damn catchy and memorable and the song features some of their most memorable guitar work. Granted, that's not difficult, seeing as how they weren't exactly known as guitar gods, but still. "Dear Diary," though great, is not in my opinion one of their best. It succeeds exceedingly well in what it sets out to do, which unfortunately condemns it to Boringville. But then they wake us right back up again with "Send Me No Wine," which is my favorite song on the album. I adore the melody, the harmonies, and the Mellotron lines in the chorus. Such a fun song. Followed by more good Lodge songs, which in my mind are pretty rare. I don't tend to enjoy his songs nearly as much as Hayward's - he strikes me as being way too pompous and overbearing - but these are just great. More lightweight and he doesn't seem to be taking himself quite as seriously as usual, not to mention much better melodies than he usually comes up with. "Never Comes the Day" is another song I use to convert people to Moody fandom, with the lovely verses and surprising chorus, and "Lazy Day" is saved from banality by the creepy "aaahhh" lines. I have largely the same opinion of "Are You Sitting Comfortably" as I do of "Visions of Paradise," only not as high. Still a great atmospheric song with some lovely imagery, but not as well done in my mind. "The Dream" is another bit of suprisingly good poetry, and that ending suite is just gorgeous - yes, even "The Voyage," which has a great piano line even though it's repeated a bit more than is strictly necessary. Even though it's very hard to choose, this has become my favorite Moodies album.


Josh Fitzgerald <> (11.09.99)

I'm glad you pointed out that this is slightly overrated. It was a concept album on space flight, but I really can't any connection with that. Greame Edge is GREAT on here. "Higher & Higher" and "Beyond" both kick high and mighty."Out And In" is cool. "Gypsy" and "I Never Thought I'd Live To Be 100/1,000,000" are top notch Justin songs. AND "Watching And Waiting" proves for the last time that Hayward/Thomas could have been the next Lennon/ McCartney, had they stuck with it. Oh yeah, forget "Legends..." from ISOTLC, "Eternity Road" is Thomas' materpiece. Ahhh, forget it, all of Thomas' songs are masterpiece (except a few). The stinkers are "Sun Is Still Shining", "Candle Of Life (not so much a stinker, just a disappointment after how good people said it was), and "Eyes Of A Child II". Part I is really good too. Very good, but not perfect!

my rating-8 1/2

Ben Greenstein <> (01.10.99)

Sure, it's overrated, but it's got "Gypsy" on it! Ooooh....

Honestly, I really love this album, almost as much as it's predecessor. It's dark and moody, and nice to listen to. Again, I enjoy just about every song, even if some of them are a bit slow and same-sounding. But still a fine album. Another ten for me.

Bob Josef <> (14.06.2000)

Much more heavily produced than the previous albums. Which became very problematic when trying to perform these numbers live. ("Gypsy," when performed live, is a naked skeleton when compared to the glorious studio version).

But the concept -- space travel and time travel -- is much more cohesive than the previous two album themes. The three tracks which made up side 2 of the vinyl version -- "Gypsy," "Eternity Road" and "Candle of Life" deliver the best 1-2-3 knockout punch on any Moodies album. Great tunes! Edge is actually starting to compose music, and is more than competent at doing so, surprisingly. Lodge, again, is smart enough to let Justin sing "Candle of Life," but is vocal is tolerable and even pretty on "Eyes of a Child." It's surprising that he didn't contribute any of his standard rockers this time, though. "Floating" is playful without being overly cute -- Ray recovered rapidly from his disasters from the last album. Pinder's the main culprit in delivering mediocrity this time -- the mellotron drone on "Sun is Still Shining" is the low point on the record, and "Out and In" is kind of ordinary. And although it produced no hit singles ("Watching and Waiting" bombed in the UK and wasn't even released on 45 in the U. S), this remains one of the guys' highest quality releases.

<> (05.02.2001)

This is the ultimate Moody Blues album. It contains two of their best songs - 'Candle of Life' and 'Watching and Waiting' - and Mike Pinders' mellotron is extraordinary. This album shows this instrument at its best (with the possible exception of the end of 'My Song' in EGBDF). The icy and haunting tone of this instrument sends shivers up the spine - the way it soars and swoops is just so emotional.

There is'nt a bad track on the album and the variation is remarkable. From the acoustic simplicity of 'Eyes of a Child 1' and 'I Never Thought I'd Live to be a Hundred/Thousand' to the incredibly complex 'Gypsy'. Ray Thomas's flute plays a great part in the overall sound and all the voices harmonise superbly. Is this the best album ever made? - its got my vote!

Rich Bunnell <> (16.02.2001)

As far as indisputable masterpieces go, this album is pretty disputable. But only to a certain extent. I like the album, but I'm not really sure why it has gained such cult status among fans when albums like Threshold and Sojourn are clearly melodically-superior (well, to my ears, at least). The album indeed has a superb flow present on no other post-Days Moodies album, and instead of clashing styles in a heterogeneous mess, the songwriters blend together their styles into a cohesive statement. My only problem is that for the album's first half, the songs are kind of hit-and-miss. Take "Eyes Of A Child"-it's pretty, certainly, but anyone could have written that chorus. And the one-minute "rocking" reprise is even more generic and brainless. "Higher and Higher" is definitely a powerful opener, which makes me wish that they'd mixed it correctly so that it would sound like you're in the middle of the explosion rather than watching it from the other side of a plate-glass window. I'll stop griping, though, and exclaim that the second side is one of the most flawless collections of pure Moodies joy that I've ever heard. "Candle Of Life" is somber and incredibly powerful, "Sun Is Still Shining" shows Pinder taking a trip back into "Best Way To Travel"-ville, and "Gypsy" and "Watching and Waiting" further hammer in Hayward's golden spike into the railway of great pop songwriters. Dear god, that has to be the most strained metaphor I've ever written. Overall, this album is a bit overrated, but I'd still give it a high 8/10 and call it "amazingly solid."

Tom Anger (28.04.2001)

This is one of my favourite sets from the Moodies. If you ever were able to see the Moodies w/ Mike Pinder you know the power of the starting the concert with 'Higher and Higher' then on to 'Gypsy'. From there on it was incredible song after song. This was a tremendous band live (when there were no technical problems or they were't too smashed) I have see the band many times. After Moraz joined they did a creditable 'Gypsy' but without Pinder's voice I never liked them as much. He played his French style songs with incredible intensity ('Melancholy Man') very heavy in concert. I repeat, these guys WERE very good in concert. Unique. The mellotron made this band and Mike Pinder knew how to play a mellotron probably better than anyone else possibly because he worked for  the company who manufactured them. They were a great team.

AS for the later stuff, I think its mostly second rate (Sur la Mer, Key of the Kingdom, Other Side of Life). Plus Haywards voice isn't what it used to be. I don't go to see them anymore because I like to remember them the way they were.

Gerard Nowak <> (07.12.2002)

This is simply Moodies' best and I'm glad to have found so many comments confirming it. There isn't much to add, I just want to remind you that "Out and In" is by Pinder AND LODGE, and finely so, as the former seemed to have lost the power to write good melodies after Days. I guess Lodge helped a lot at this one.

David Sheehan <> (13.09.2005)

The Moody Blues were at one time my favorite band (I was 15). I am afraid that I was teetering close to rabid fan-dom, but I never quite made it over the edge, thankfully. I still like them quite a bit, of course, but damn, I can easily see their shortcomings. That said, To Our Children's Children's Children is their best work, despite its cumbersome title. For a long time I thought Days of Future Passed was the be all, end all (again, when I was 15), and all of their later works were pale echoes of it, but I was wrong (and 15). It recently dawned on me that DOFP has a full fifteen minutes of orchestral wankery on it! Parts of the orchestration are tolerable, but others (intro to "Peak Hour") aren't. Anyway, back to this album. It is overrated (a little, and not by you). John McFerrin (a great site, btw) loves it, but I can't see it on the level of Abbey Road, or some of the other great 15's you guys have given out. I'd probably rate it a 14, cause I'm wishy-washy and have to take the middle ground. But, using your scale, I can see no way that the Moody Blues could possibly be a four star band, as John rates them, so I guess your 13 is more accurate. It's weird, but most bands' peak output isn't too much better than their second-rate stuff, but not with the Moodies. This album's the only one that would be up in the 13-15 range. I guess I'm trying to say that I understand why John McFerrin gives this them four stars, because they did manage this album, but the rest of their catalog is barely three star quality, and even he only gives out one 13, and two 12's. Yet this album is a four star level product. Anyway, consistency was not the MB's forte, though they did consistently plagarise themselves! My thoughts on their catalog:

DOFP: 12 (contains some of their strongest stuff, but ick! Some of the orchestration does bite)

ISOTLC: 10 (I HATE "Om"! And it's ultra lame intro by Edge, "The Word" Note: light is electromagnetic radiation, and sound is a longitudinal (pressure) wave. They are not even similar, Graeme Edge! I know he's speaking in poetic abstractions, but shit! Get it right!)


TOCCC: 14 on a good day

AQOB: 13 ('Question' has got to be one of the best pop/rock songs ever written, and easily the MB's best)

EGBDF: 10 (Very hard to keep my interest, though it's not mediocre in the same way as ISOTLC, it's a little less unintentional parody)

SS:12 (I think it's better than DOFP)

Blue Jays: 10

Octave: 9 (Yuck, but it got worse)

LDV: 11

The Present: 11


SLM: 7


Strange Times: 11, maybe 12. (I couldn't believe how good this one was)


Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

I had never seen the band live when I purchased this one, and it was quite a shock. A lot of people never got used to the band's live sound, because the studio recordings are so pristine. Minuses: the Mellotron was a very finicky instrument -- it was very difficult to keep in tune, and here is seems to go sour in a number of places ("Dr. Livingston"). And vocal harmonies: it became obvious that multitracking created those marvelous chorale sounds, but their voices don't seem to be able to blend in concert, especially on Lodge numbers ("See-Saw", "Peak Hour" -- and although it's not here, "I'm Just A Singer (in a Rock n' Roll Band) should be dropped from live performances permanently -- they just cannot sing that number!!). And trying to play "The Voyage"live was a major mistake -- no way could that gorgeous orchestrated effect be recreated by Pinder all by himself on stage.

But this one does have its moments. When Pinder, Thomas or Hayward are singing solo, they sound pretty good. The drum sound is, I agree, quite nutso (especially on "Peak Hour"-- Keith Moon, all right ), but Graeme seems to be having a lot of fun. The best number for me, is "Sunset," which I think is better than the original - - the annoying Indian affectations in Edge's percussion and Pinder's vocal are dropped. He sings it in a much more straightforward style, the Mellotron is played smoothly and supportively and totally in tune, and the rest of the band stays out of his way. Just beautiful.

To be fair, this wasn't one of their better live performances from their heyday - -supposedly, they were much more "on" a great deal of the time. But some of the problems they had bringing their intricate sound (especially the vocals) remain to this day, so don't go to a Moodies show expecting perfect clones of their records.

Gerard Nowak <> (05.03.2003)

I don't like live albums because they are usually raw and rough and the songs tend to end in endless soloing, which I hate. So for me it was not exactly a bad news that Moodies weren't able to come up with a great solo onstage (they actually were - what's wrong with Hayward on "Dr. Livingstone"?)- it meant that their songs wouldn't lose their coherence while live.

So, quite a couple gained a lot of power: "Gypsy" and "Livingstone" and "Never Comes the Day" are miles of notes better than their studio counterparts. Some songs are not better but gained some new dimension: "the Sunset" is now sombre and majestic; "Peak Hour" is also more serious and calorific; I don't mind the drum edges on this, but the vocals are weak enough to spoil the overall impression, sad. Now, there are two serious misconceptions on this album. First is the general build-up of the tension. I've got a feeling that the gig reaches its climax too soon, somewhere around "Never Comes the Day". The two last song are nothing but trippy, and I've never been into drugs, so I find them both poor. I may be wrong about "Legend" - after all who cares about my anti-drugs effusions, and those Mr. Kite-like mellotron effects may sound amusing enough. But as for the encore, it's worse than "Miracle" on Sur La Mer, I mean, how could they so badly kill such a decent song? The vocals are terrible on that one. My second objection is more objective, and I'm rather surprised you didn't mention in the review the obvious fact: the electric guitar is simply NOT an approppriate backing for "Nights In White Satin", the have-you-heard bits, and - above all - "Are You Sitting Comfortably?". Too much trouble carrying the acoustic one, Jus?

Ian McGrath <> (16.08.2004)

I like this album OK but it doesn't seem to be a great performance. Many of the songs sound ragged, as others have noted. Some of the things they do are just weird -- I don't like the way they have changed the beat in the verses of 'Sunset'. The accent is all off. However, it's nice that they picked this song to do live though, since it's not the sort you hear on classic rock radio (maybe on 60s FM). The instrumental bridges sound nice, live. Another weird thing is the way Pinder changes the organ lick that introduces the verses for Dr Livingstone. a subtle change in rhythm, but not an improvement. I also don't like the mellotron on 'the Voyage', not as a replacement for the piano at the end. Ray doesn't seem comfortable playing the melody on flute either - he simplifies the melody, to its detriment.

Anyway, it's a very interesting album to listen to since there are so many cases where they have had to answer the question, "How are we going to do this LIVE?" Other than "the voyage" I think they have dealt with this question fine (ex. flute + bass doing the bump-bump, bump-bump-bump lick on 'HYH' in the absence of cellos). It's just the weird other changes that bug me. I'd be interested in hearing a stronger performance from this era. and also a later performance of the have you heard sequence (since apparently they kept performing it as long as Pinder toured with them).


Josh Fitzgerald <> (22.09.99)

I love this album. I think it's great! Thomas is, of course, in top form, with his extremely well-written and beautifully sung "And The Tide Rushes In". Is that guy capable of a bad song? Greame Edge is pretty good too. If not for that totally obnoxious whispering, "Don't You Feel Small" would be an incredible psychedelic anthem. "The Balance" is his best poem also, but mainly because of the cool music. Lodge's two are both great, and Hayward's are pretty good, his best song being "Question". the only stinker here is Pinder with the cheeseball "how Is It (We Are Here)", and the overlong "Melancholy Man". Still a great album for all Moody fans.

My rating-8

Ben Greenstein <> (28.09.99)

Well, I know that this is just me, but I consider this to be the absolute weakest of the early Moody Blues albums. There are good tunes on here, mostly "Question," "It's Up To You," "The Balance," and "The Tide Rushes In," but the rest? "Melancholy Man"? "How Is It (We Are Here)"? "Tortoise And The Hare"? None of them do anything for me. And most of the rest is bland as well - especially "Minstrel's Song." Possibly the corniest thing they ever performed - it doesn't even sound progressive, it's just a stupid Hippy anthem! Call me crazy, but I couldn't give the album more than a six.

Rich Bunnell <> (19.03.2000)

I don't see exactly why you put this near the top of the Moodies canon, but I also don't see why people put this so low on the selfsame canon. "Melancholy Man" in particular; I don't see why people hate that song (or Pinder's contributions in general). None of the album besides "Question" is mindblowing to me (the archetypical great song-- much more peppy than Justin usually is), but none of it's bad either. My faves are "How Is It (We Are Here)," "Tortoise And The Hare" and "The Balance." I don't mind Edge's poetry, as long as he doesn't do it sixteen times an album. An 8/10 for this one.

Just one pet peeve of mine-- why do people always say that a song "does nothing for them"? It just strikes me as an obnoxious way of saying "I don't care for the song." It's like you're saying it's the song's fault that your personal preferences don't match with it. But that's just me...

Ted Goodwin <> (14.06.2000)

I've found -- almost to my own surprise -- that this is one of my favorite MB albums. (There aren't many others that I still listen to, or even have, anymore.) I like the way the first half gives us one excellent song by each band member, including the first actual SONG from Edge. In fact, Edge's number is just about my favorite, although like everyone else I don't care for the whispering (which is there so Edge would have a "vocal" on his tune). The second half isn't as good. I like Hayward's numbers OK, but "Melancholy Man" is preachy and repetitive, though, and "The Balance" (which I don't listen to anymore) is one of the worst pieces of @#$%!! I've ever heard in my life! (Why did these guys always try to sound so dang "enlightened" in their songs? They admitted themselves that they didn't have any answers to anything!)

Bob Josef <> (16.06.2000)

The studio music was getting increasingly complicated, so much so that it was impossible for the band to perform many numbers live. So, they went for a more stripped down sound here (for them, that is). Great songwriting from everyone. "Dawning is the Day" is kind of run-of-the-mill for Hayward, but "Question" and the wonderful, overlooked gem "It's Up to You" are just incredible. Ray comes back to life with the very moving "And the Tide Rushes In." Graeme comes with his single best "poetic" piece with "The Balance," thanks to Ray's music. This was a terrific live number. I just love the tradeoff of vocals on the coda of that one and on "Minstrel's Song."

There's a notable transition in Mike's writing. We go from the spiritual optimism of stuff like "Om," "Have you Heard?'" and "Sun is Still Shining" to the ecological anxiety of "How is It?" (still, kind of a neat, funky tune) and the endless, tedious, awful suicide anthem "Melancholy Man." Too bad Prozac wasn't invented then -- it sure sounds like Mike could have used it. But, with hindsight, these two songs are indicative of the beginning of problems in the group, and with Pinder in particular.

Philip Maddox <> (09.07.2000)

Another really good one. I second that 9. 'Question' is my favorite song on here - both parts really move me. 'Melancholy Man' is my second favorite - it tries hard to be creepy and depressing, and it succeeds on both counts. I don't get why people hate it so much. My least favorite song on here is the dippy Thomas contribution 'Minstrel's Song'. It's hard to knock the rest though - the rockers 'It's Up To You' and 'The Tortoise And The Hare' are both great, 'And The Tide Rushes In' is beautiful, and the weirdo tracks 'How Is It (We Are Here)' and 'Don't You Feel Small' sound great to me. Not as good as Threshold of Children's, but it's still really really good. And the chorus of 'The Balance' is superb at that, countering the dumb "He ate it, and it was good" poetry. Just another solid Moodies album.

Tom Anger (01.05.2001)

I was in college at Southwest Texas in 1970. Question came out in spring of 1971. The first time I heard a song on the radio from this album it was How is it we are here. This song is really quite progressive and matches up with the Greenpeace/ecology movement that came later. Pinder can sing, the guitar solo is very interesting. I often wondered if Hayward used a guitar synth on this song. The rest of this album I thought was good. I traveled thru Mexico on a surf trip listening to this (on an 8 track), Pink Floyd Dark side of the Moon and a few others. I liked this album the best.

In the fall of 1972 EGBDF came out and the radio played the 'Story in Your Eyes' all the time. I saw the Moodies for the first time live in San Antonio in Spring of 1972. They opened the concert with 'Gypsy', I remember. They were great- one of the best concerts I ever saw anywhere. They were young and on top of their game. I haven't bought another Moodies aCD since The Other Side of Life ..I couldn't listen to it all the way thru-it just didn't grab me..

The rest of the conjecture today is on a tribute to the music they made then. They captured in music what was going on culturally with youth then. (As did the Beatles, Stones and Airplane and others) . But the weird thing about the early (Moodies) music is that you might not like a song at first But then after you heard it a few times it grabbed you and you were hooked. I never found this to be the case with other bands or their music. I like to play some of their stuff on my guitar even today. It is pretty and fairly simple and it sounds good. What's wrong with that ?? It's like painting and art-if you can do better then try to do one yourself......


Josh Fitzgerald <> (22.09.99)

Ehhh, decent. Some parts of "Procession" are interesting, but some of it's stupid. Ray, you let me down! "Nice To Be Here" is not something I enjoy listening to. His worst kids' song. "Our Guessing Game' is cool though. Pinder's "My Song" is cluttered, and kind of a pain. Lodge once again is passable with the boring "Emily's Song", and the majestic "One More Time To Live". Hayward is the best, with "The Story In Your Eyes" and "You Can Never Go Home". Edge's "After You Came" is inferior to his previous contibutions, but I like it anyway. The beginning of their slump.

My rating-7

Ben Greenstein <> (01.10.99)

I'd dock it two points for "Procession" and the atrocious "My Song," but I still like it very much. Sure, the rest of the songs are all ripoffs of various songs off of A Question Of Balance, but, in my opinion, they take the good qualities and ditch the bad ones. I love "Emily's Song" and "One More Time To Live." And "You Can Never Go Home." My rating is an eight.

Bob Josef <> (16.06.2000)

Big, big disagreement. Song for song, this is one of their strongest releases. I think "Procession" is just great -- give it another try through headphones. "The Story in Your Eyes" is the best rock song they ever did, period -- Hayward has finally learned to play some lead guitar! And "You Can Never Go Home" insipid? Hardly! A very moving step in maturity for Justin. "Nice to be Here" is cute, but it seems out of place with all this introspective stuff. On the hand, "Our Guessing Game" fits in perfectly -- another class act for Thomas. Great melody, and I think it bears very little resemblance to "And the Tide Rushes In." "One More Time to Live" is apocalyptic to the extreme -- it could have been on Genesis' Trespass. Very cool. And Graeme contributes the first of five excellent songs to the band -- "After You Came" is another strong rock song, the switching of the lead vocal is fantastic.

Not that the album doesn't have its problems. Pinder tries to return to the happy-happy of "Have You Heard?" with "My Song," but the downbeat music is totally unconvincing.Plus the middle instrumental section sounds like a more techie rip-off of "The Voyage." And a strong candidate for the worst song on "The Core 7" is the obnoxious "Emily's Song." The sugary celeste, those awkward cellos and Lodge's wimpy lead vocal (double-tracked, no less -- I thought one doubled voices to make them STRONGER) make for a major cringing session when this one comes on. But one dud is tolerable among these group of winners.

Philip Maddox <> (04.07.2000)

I really like this one. 'Procession' is a good introduction, and I think it's numerous themes all flow very well. I agree that this album is quite even, though I like the songs better overall. 'The Story In Your Eyes' might be the best rocker they ever did. Another excellent chorus and vocal melody. 'My Song' is really pretty, too. I especially love the way Mike sings "Something in-SIDE of me turning!" I also like 'You Can Never Go Home' a lot. Cool melody and vocals. 'After You Came' is my favorite song here. I even like the "puffed-up chant" in the middle - it sounds really good to me. It's cool the way they interlock different vocal melodies there, kinda like 'Scarborough Fair', though admittedly it isn't quite as good. In my opinion, the only weak track here is the EXTREMELY dumb 'Nice To Be Here', which has a weak melody and stupid lyrics from Ray. Ray really wrote stupid lyrics, in general. Call 'em "childlike" if you want, but I think they're kinda dumb. Especially that stupid 'My Little Lovely' from Strange Times. He did write some good ones, though. Like 'Dear Diary' or 'Our Guessing Game'. Just spare me stuff like 'Nice To Be Here'. I'd give this a 9.

Rich Bunnell <> (07.08.2000)

This is a pretty enjoyable album while you're listening to it (with the obvious exceptions of the "Look at us, we're Edge and Pinder, watch us push out ten minutes' worth of melody-deprived dreck and call it 'conceptual!'" concept that drives those two pieces of crap that bookend the album), but no matter how good the songs are, I NEVER want to listen to this album. Lost Chord and Threshold and Sojourn all have distinctive, appealing qualities that make each one occupy my CD player fairly regularly, but all we have here is the Moody Blues' sound processed into its most generic form ever, and it's simply not an interesting listen at all. That said, "The Story In Your Eyes" could just be the best rocker the band ever wrote, "Emily's Song" is pleasant and soothing, and "After You Came" shows that Edge could rock when he wasn't devoting himself to stupid poetry (as much as I like "In The Beginning"). The rest is pretty good too, but the problem is that I have no idea when the next time will be when I actually want to listen to any of the songs at all. I don't know why the AMG rated this as their best album - do they just not understand the band and want to recommend their most generic album of all time to keep the hatemail to a bare minimum? Based on the songs themselves, the album gets a 7, but personally I wouldn't go any higher than a 6.

Kevin Muckenthaler <> (28.08.2000)

This is my favorite Moody Blues album. Even if it does just retread some of their past ideas, I think that it really improves upon them. I know a lot of people think "Procession" is stupid, but I think it's a great album opener. It was an experiment and I think it worked. I love the flute/harpsichord/church organ section that leads to the electric guitar, which then segues into "The Story in Your Eyes." SIYE is probably the best 'rock song' the Moodies ever did. "Our Guessing Game" is quite good, as well. "Emily's Song" is the weakest track in my opinion, but not a bad tune. "After You Came" shows that Graeme Edge could actually write a pretty good song. "One More Time to Live" is one of John Lodge's better songs. The contrast between the quiet, pleasant parts and the chaotic chant is effective. "Nice to Be Here" has Ray Thomas singing about a bunch of woodland creatures to a catchy, child-like tune. "You Can Never Go Home" is an overlooked Justin ballad. Then comes "My Song", which sometimes gets put down a little. I think it's a great dramatic track with some of Mike Pinder's best singing and mellotron playing. Overall...this album is hundreds of times better than Sur La Mer.

Tom Anger (09.01.2002)

I agree with most comments here- here is my opinion of this album. First of all the space ship sound is Mike Pinder's interpretation of a Pleidian beam ship he ssupposedly heard/saw in Hawaii one time ( so I heard from a reliable source who knows Pinder). I think it does sound like a space ship landing. The intro to 'Story in your Eyes' is kinda neat- I personally like the song. I like to play it on my acoustic guitar. Its is easy and the Allman brothers 'Whipping post' has a similar chord structure ( who copied who?) anyway the rest of the songs are ok- I really like Lodge's 'One More time to Live'. I don't know why they didn't perform this live as a standard - I heard them play it once and it was excellent. Pinder's melotron roared thru arena and you could actually feel the wind from the huge monitors - the mellotron made that song great. And then they never played it live again- that I heard. Also Pinder did a very credible version of 'MY SOng' live at the same concert. I liked it live- didn't like much on the record. It seems to me on reflection that the drama of the Moodies concert and seeing these guys when they were "On" play these songs like they believed in them made you believe too. Just listening to a record or CD without the visuals is more difficult and of course some don't stand up to the test of time on record. But I gurantee you that in their day, the Moodies could turn on even the most skeptical. Even rolling Stone reviewed them once or twice with glowing terms.

Of course today it is not cool to Ever have been a Moodies freak just like most people deny they ever smoked pot. But believe me, most every concert they ever played was a sell out ( except at Astroworld in Houston for obvious reason-piss poor venue, seating and you had to pay to get into the park) but the point is that the live show made alot of the songs make sense. I like this album ok- it has some good moments and some not so good- Hayward's lead on 'After you came' is good- I think the guy can play guitar pretty good- he ain't Van Halen but being a player myself, I kinda like his style. His slide lead on 'Sitting at the wheel' is great I think ---but that is much later...

Gerard Nowak <> (14.11.2002)

I am somewhat surprised to have read your review although it IS, as always, to the point. I guess, as a fan, my scope of interest doesn't stretch beyond the album I am listening to. That's why I don't care that much about my group's overall progress, let alone the album's significance in rock history. In this perspective, this one seems Moodies' most complete statement (even as a Diehard I somehow cannot call it 'artistic statement'). When the scope is to be narrowed down to a song, here's the one: "... More Time to Live", with these overwhelming four-part harmonies in the middle eight. And I'm not so sure about your panning Thomas on this one. For me, "Our Guessing Game" has nothing to do with "The Tide...", except for the opening bars. As for the second, the rhythm and some overall feel surely resembles "Another Morning" and "Dr. Livingstone". Unlike those two, though, "Nice to Be Here" doesn't hide a serious message under the veil of a childlike ditty. It is just a jocular one, I guess. Admittedly a heavy joke, but the melody is kinda original, and you wouldn't come across those mellotron effects anywhere else. I think they work there, ten points for the Gloomy Pinder for these.


Josh Fitzgerald <> (24.09.99)

There is one one that sums up this album that has been used before, and the word is "yawn". 7th Sojourn seems to just drone on....and on ..........and on....................and, well, you get the message. The songs are sooooo depressing and soooooo dull, it's hard to listen to. Granted "Im Just A Singer...." and "you And Me" are lively, but really, that's not saying a whole lot. Just try to listen too it straight through, it's impossible."New Horizons", "For My Lady", and "You And Me" have pretty strong melodies, but cheer up, guys!

My rating-6

Ben Greenstein <> (01.10.99)

I agree about Rolling Stone. Please make sure to bash them more often. How dare they make a magazine "for music fans" and then put Spice Girls on the cover! Bastards!

As for the album, I agree with the seven. A lot of the tunes are just bland, and almost completely uninspired. It still has some good songs - "Isn't Life Strange," "For My Lady," "I'm Just A Singer," and "Lost In A Lost World" (which has some nice countermelodies), but the rest stinks like yesterday's diapers. "New Horizons" is okay, but I've always found it to be a bit silly ("I've got dreams enough for one, and love enough for three" - what???????). I give it a seven.

John McFerrin <> (07.10.99)

I still say this is worth a 9. None of the songs are weak. And Pinder's songs are fantastic! It's just one moody classic after another, and if it's tired, so what? The Moody Blues have always been at their best when they've written as if they were baring their souls to the world, and it so happened that they were all remarkably down and depressed. Besides, if someone like John Lennon is allowed to be sad all the time in his songs, why can't the Moodies?

Oh, and to Ben; 'New Horizons' was written by Justin after both his father and his son had died (or if I'm wrong about that, I know that two people who were very close to him had passed on). Hence, he has his own dreams, and he has love for himself and the two who had just died. That's where the line in question comes from.

Mike DeFabio <> (13.10.99)

Wow, somebody's finally set the record straight about pretentiousness! I LOVE pretentiousness. It often helps me to like a song more if it sounds big and important. If 'Tarkus' or 'Thick As A Brick' or 'Close to the Edge' were just a bunch of little songs, I would find quite a bit of filler, because a lot of the segue stuff can't stand on its own. But instead, they're big huge songs, and the segues just make the song more cohesive, and the length qualifies it as an EPIC, and the word "epic", regardless of how much you like the song, makes the song IMPRESSIVE, which means you SHOULD like it, because it's obviously saying something important, and even if it isn't, it still sounds a lot like it IS, and that's good enough for me.

And Seventh Sojourn? It's alright.

Rich Bunnell <> (19.03.2000)

Really good album. Almost all keepers except maybe for "When You're A Free Man," and I simply don't remember how that goes so it could very well be the album's masterpiece for all I know. But what I remember is that I noticed "Lost In A Lost World," "New Horizons" and "You And Me" much more the last few times I listened to this, and all of them are amazing! And Lodge's two songs, the classic rock staples, succeed despite his over-pompous vocals. "Isn't Life Strange" is downright majestic, and "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)" is one of my many candidates for "catchiest song ever written." Hooks, hooks, hooks galore! Especially the "SCORCHING THIS EEEEEEARTH!" part! The whole album gets a 9/10. I don't get why some people rate this so low.

Bob Josef <> (16.06.2000)

I agree -- by now they were running out of steam. The record is just way too ballad-heavy. The strongest songs are the two rockers -- great ensemble vocals on "I'm Just a Singer." "You and Me" cooks, too. By the way, that one is a collaboration between Edge and Hayward, not Thomas, and it's a writing combo that should have teamed up again if this is an example of what they could come up with.

But the fact that there are a lot of ballads doesn't mean they're BAD ballads. "Land of Make-believe" is pretty weak, by Justin - at first, I thought it was a Thomas tune, with that flute on the intro and the cutesy lyric ("Fly little bird/up into the clear blue skies" -- just up Raymo's alley). "New Horizons," though, rules, I agree. "Isn't Life Strange" scores because Lodge and Hayward take turns singing it. "For My Lady" is very romantic without being sappy.

Pinder, on the other hand, continues to wallow in depression. "Lost in a Lost World" works, because of the churning musical track, but "When You're A Free Man" (about Timothy Leary's flight from the law -- "Legend of a Mind" is a long, long way away at this point) is yet another funeral dirge that just makes me want to shoot the speakers when it pours forth. Getting away from the band was smart for Mike, I suppose -- his solo album The Promise is a billion times more optimistic than these sad songs.

The stresses of the band really took its toll on this album, and they knew it was time for a change. That's really too bad, because they sacrificed their unique sound. No one makes music like this anymore -- not even the Moodies themselves.

Ted Goodwin <> (25.08.2000)

SEVENTH SOJOURN has the dubious distinction of being the oldest rock album that I heard the same year it was released. (Latecomer classic-rock fan that I am, I haven't heard many rock albums while they were new.) Overall, a pretty even album. Finally, no spoken parts or noisy stuff! And those song-overlapping segues (which I've always hated on the classic Moodies albums) have been reduced to a sane level. As for the individual songs: "You And Me" is my favorite. Hayward's stuff is not awesome, just really nice. "For My Lady" should by all rights be a totally hokey, stupid song but for some reason isn't. "Isn't Life Strange" never thrilled me much; I think what I don't like about it is that the chorus melody gets lost in a mush of harmonies on "in your heart" & "in your eyes" -- it just doesn't sound right. "I'm Just A Singer" forever teeters on the edge of getting unbearably stale to me but never quite gets there. Pinder's stuff is my least favorite; as a writer, he declined so steadily starting with "Melancholy Man". "Lost In A Lost World" is obnoxiously preachy (though it makes more sense if you think of it as a reaction to the Vietnam war) and has a potentially good tune ruined by a bunch of un-pretty chords. "When You're A Free Man" is better (great flute & feedback!) in spite of more un-pretty parts ("see you... SHINING" -- blah! doesn't fit!). But it's about Timothy Leary? That's background info I'd rather not have known. I used to think the song had a timeless, placeless sense of distant hope; now I see it's just idealistic hippie crap.

Michael H. <> (14.08.2003)


David Sheehan <> (16.11.2005)

Hey George, I know you wrote this review long ago, but don't you think "The Land Of Make-Believe" has a great guitar part? It's hard to believe that's Hayward playing. Why the hell is he so restrained most of the time? Dammit!?


Josh Fitzgerald <> (27.09.99)

I'm reeeeally tired so right now, so I'll review to the best of my ability- EEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I haven't listened to Octave in about a year. It's one of the stupidest, boringest (is that a word?), and horrible albums I have. I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, HATE IT! Remeber when I said that Ray Thomas' couldn't write a bad song? Whoooops, was I ever wrong! "I'm Your Man"??????????? What's that crap?? This album is filled with crap. "Survival" is pretty, however. The rest is- EEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!

Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

This one shows the band had not yet reintegrated. If one listens to the solo albums released in the interim, you can hear that. Thomas's two sound like outtakes from his From Mighty Oaks, while "Survival" is the first of Lodge's endless rewrites of his powerful ballad "Say You Love Me," from Natural Avenue. And Pinder's "One Step into the Light" is just WAY over the top in terms of lyrics, even more so than his The Promise album. Plus that hopelessly wimpy electric piano, plus the fact that he sings "One thing I can do/is play my mellotron for you," when its actually an ARP synthesizer!

The rest I actually find listenable, but they were really more of a group of musicians backing each other up, as opposed to a band with a distinctive sound at this point.

Kevin Muckenthaler <> (01.09.2000)

I agree that it's a pretty weak reunion. The word 'boring' comes to mind as I listen to this. "Steppin' in a Slide Zone" is pretty cheesy, but it's one of the best songs on here. "Under Moonshine" is slightly weird. I really don't know what Ray's singing about. "Had to Fall in Love" is very low-key, but pleasant. "I'll Be Level With You" is another song that pretends to rock. At least it has some energy, though. "Driftwood" is all but ruined by the saxophone. I wished there was a version without this. "Top Rank Suite" is a joke song. I like it a little bit because it's totally different from anything they've ever done. Oh my, does "I'm Your Man" stink, though. "Survival" is just kinda there. John's vocals are too whiny for my taste. I think "One Step Into the Light" is a great track, and it's Mike Pinder's swan song with the band. "The Day We Meet Again" is my favorite song on here. It starts with a simple keyboard melody and then begins piling onto it. The fuzzy guitar solo is great and emotional. Overrall, though, it's an average record.

Ted Goodwin <> (30.07.2001)

Heard this when it first came out but didn't like it much. Gave it another chance when someone gave me a copy, but ended up tossing it after one listen. An awful, awful album. The only things I found tolerable were "Top Rank Suite" and "I'll Be Level With You". A couple of the other Hayward songs might have been salvageable, but the rest of the songs weren't. I remember hating "Had To Fall In Love" worse than anything else (rather to my surprise), but I don't remember why. And who told them that "Steppin' In A Slide Zone" was a good enough song for a single and a video? (A video, BTW, in which the recently departed Pinder's contributions are conspicuously heard but not seen.)

Gerard Nowak <> (14.11.2002)

George, there are flutes! Eh, one, actually. It's at the opening of some verse of the first track. Poor Ray must have been rehearsing this through all those years of the band's split, ha ha! An awful album!


Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

I like this one -- with one exception, this is the only post-Octave release which ranks with their classic 7. Patrick's keyboards really redefine the sound of the band without overwhelming the songs. Everybody's in top songwriting form. Edge's "22,000 Days" would've fit on EGBDF, while 'in my world' could have found a place on Seventh Sojourn -- or maybe it's too happy for that album. And "Say You Love Me' once again appears as "Nervous", but that's OK -- "Talking Out of Turn" sounds a lot more original, thanks to the keyboard/synth arrangements. Thomas comes up with an interesting theme -- rock stars as nothing more significant as circus clowns - in his closing suite.

Problem? The awful, awful, awful "Gemini Dream." Tacky synth/pop/R&B? They ditched R&B in favor of Days of Future Passed for a good reason -- they sucked at it!

They, unfortunately, forgot that when they came up with this one, and it became the precedent for travesties that followed. The beginning of the end!

Philip Maddox <> (04.07.2000)

When I managed to ignore the stupid keyboards, I discovered that the songs here are still absolutely top-notch. 'The Voice' is a great opener, with a beautiful bridge and refrain. I can never get the "I'm Al-read-y fal-ling..." part out of my head. Great, great song. As good as almost any previous Moody Blues' track. 'Nervous' is gorgeous, too. One of my all time favorite ballads. 'Talking Out Of Turn' and 'In My World' are both good, long, slow songs. Each is quite pretty. In fact, most of these songs are quite good. 'Gemini Dream' kinda sucks, though. Stupid disco rock. And it was a hit, too. It reminds me of the worst tracks on Sur La Mer. Basically a good album, though. If you ignore the production, this is as good a set as any. Don't be scared of this one - production aside, it easily stacks up against the "classic 7". But by all means, feel free to be scared of The Other Side Of Life. It kinda sucks.

Richard Savill <> (01.09.2000)

There was a time when it was a long wait between Moody Blues albums. It seemed like ages from Octave to Voyager. With the disappointing Octave, I was hoping way back in 1981 that they could put together a proper album, the way they used to. They did, albeit with a slight change in personnel. My feelings about this album are summed up this way, I think about it nostalgically. In the sense that it made me feel much prouder to be a Moody Blues fan after the letdown of Octave. Plus the songs are good and cleverly arranged, like the Moody Blues are supposed to be.

Rich Bunnell <> (17.02.2001)

Strangely, I like this one about as much as most of the early albums. Moraz isn't as intrusive of the band's sound as most people complain - the only song where he nearly controls the song is "Gemini Dream," and unlike most fans, I think that song is really freakin' catchy. Come on, open your hearts, you predictable purists!! It sounds nothing like anything on Sur La Mer - it has distinctive hooks and an actual melody. "The Voice" is pretty synthy too, but in a good, flowing way. Definitely deserved to be a hit. The rest, '80s or not, is pretty typical for the Moodies - the four ballads are extremely pretty (especially "Meanwhile") and, aside from the synth intro to "Talking Out Of Turn," easily could've fit on the band's early-'70s albums. "22,000 Days" is the only attempt at an actual song that I've heard from Edge that doesn't sound patched-together and schizophrenic - great stuff. Finally, I think you're taking Ray's closing suite way too seriously. He clearly meant it as a joke, and the entire thing is really bubbly and fun, ESPECIALLY "Veteran Cosmic Rocker." But you don't like "Karn Evil 9," so you're probably just biased against anything circus-related. The album gets an 8/10 - I know that I didn't say anything bad about any of the songs, but it's not exactly a masterpiece, y'know? Merely a nice collection of songs, and one that probably convinced Moodies fans in the '80s that they were capable of producing material of this quality for the entire decade. Boy, were they wrong.

Akis Katsman <> (04.06.2003)

I bought this album after a recommendation from a music magazine. And it's for sure a good album. Songs as "The Voice", "In My World" (although a little long), "Meanwhile", "Nervous" and "Painted Smile" (my personal favourite) are a pleasure to listen to! It's fruity pop, but it's good. On the other hand, I cannot stand the disco rocker "Gemini Dream", while "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" seems a little goofy to me. Also, "Talking Out Of Turn" is too long and nowhere as good as "In My World". Oh, I forgot "22,000 Days". It's a good song, sure, but the harmonies are somewhat childish to me. If you can program your cd to skip "Gemini Dream" and the last two tracks, you have a damn good album. Overall, I'd give Long Distance Voyager a seven, no more, no less. Buy Days Of Future Passed First. But what an album cover! It's a painting, right? Fantastic!!

Bill Slocum <> (19.02.2004)

Let's face it: This is either one of the worst rock albums or best pop albums of the early 1980s. I say the latter and the hell for the moment with all those "classic seven" Moody fans.

"The Voice" was a killer track, simply put, kind of an introduction to the whole concept of the "Long Distance Voyager" introduced in the arresting cover art, without much help from the rest of the record. The notion of a time traveler, of someone wrestling with the concept of being backwards and forwards all at once, is cleverly, albeit simply, put: "And how many words have I got to say/And how many times will it be this way/ With your arms around the future/And your back up against the past..." Add to that Patrick Moraz's elegant, spacey keyboard work and a refrain that manages to be both driving and cerebral, and you have a song every bit as worthy as "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights In White Satin" when it comes to the chore of greeting a new decade. Alright, Moraz had his bad moments with the band. But they weren't on this record.

"The Voice" is not even the album's best song. No, that would be "Talking Out Of Turn." That whole opening keyboard riff, melting into one of John Lodge's most soulful moments on record. And it goes on for nearly seven and a half minutes! If you've ever been in a crush that didn't work out, you will not only identify with this song, you will be nodding your head in agreement to what is being sung about here: "I can't believe that I...would ever/Talk myself out of tomorrow/Talk like a fool to yesterday/And as the evening loses color/Your love began to fade away..."

Then there's "Gemini Dream"... Well, excuse me, I didn't know surging, driving, pulsating pop/rock was supposed to be out of this particular band's purview, everybody. I mean, I guess the Moodies themselves missed the memo when they did "Ride My Seesaw" or "I'm Just A Singer In A Rock N' Roll Band." Frankly, to my ears, I hear a song that's not only fun and catchy in an ELO kind of way, but has a nicely brainy sort of idea behind it, of two would-be lovers united by the same dreamscape. As far as I can tell, it refers to the band and its audience in a live concert, which only adds to the cleverness of the concept. "There's a place/A gemini dream/There's no escaping from the love we have seen." Frankly, if this song wasn't so affecting and surging, I might agree with the carping, but it works.

The rest of the album is a hodgepodge. You have "In My World" and "Nervous" on one hand, good solid songs that add to the mix, and then the Graeme Edge and Roy Thomas contrivances on the other. Edge's "22,000 Days" is a bit overblown but fits the theme of time spent well and otherwise, it's okay if not essential. But Roy Thomas, who added so much to the Moody Blues first seven records, sounds adrift and more than a bit twee in his three album-closing numbers. His laughing vocalizations in the two "Smile" songs and "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" are so affected as to be offputting, like Anthony Newley had just beamed down from some failed Broadway musical.

But, still... All in all, a good album that demonstrates this band's ability to speak to a post-hippie generation. For that, it doesn't get enough respect in my opinion. It may not the greatest album the Moody Blues did, but it's the most pleasing to these ears, and showed these guys, paisley in mothballs though they were, weren't out of bullets yet.

N Kris <> (29.03.2004)

I thought I should write a bit about the Ray Thomas trilogy on the Long Distance Voyager album. I guess I have too much time on my hands at the moment, but I think it's a very interest song cycle that deserves more respect and has a lot of meaning that can be seen in it.

I think' Veteran Cosmic Rocke'r is a very sophisticated parody of the peace/love ethic that informs a lot of Ray Thomas and the Moodies' earlier work. Specifically, "VCR" seems to subvert Thomas' older song' One Night Stan'd off of his Hopes Wishes & Dreams album. For example, compare the opening lines:

"One Night Stand": "The lights go down / the band prepares / the scene is set / we're here to sell our wares / we know that truth is an ever-guiding light / so we sing our songs each and everynight... freedom we command / on a one-night stand" etc.

"VCR": "The lights go down / the stage is set / the man in the wings breaks out in sweat / a back-stage joker spiked his coke / while the dressing room was full of smoke...his love is rock'n'roll...his life is rock'n'roll" etc.

I think the ideas of finding freedom and power through love, friendship and music are obviously questioned and parodied in the later song. The name "Veteran cosmic rocker" is a witty tagline to be sure, and in my opinion, a pretty cool one to use as a nickname for the band members themselves, but it seems to me the song deals with negativity, since it's overtly about a washed-up rocker who has let the whims of pleasing the crowd consume his life (e.g. "his LOVE is rock'n'roll" becomes "his LIFE is rock'n'roll"). Both of these songs concern performing for an audience, but while the earlier One Night Stand stresses communal spirit between the main performer, his band, and the audience themselves (e.g. "we" is the common pronoun, the band is always mentioned with the singer, they are "selling wares" to the audience, an exchange between the entire community), VCR shows the main performer as totally isolated. He is totally alone in his own nightmare of performance failure due to the drug. People desert him. "His manager signed the one night lease" in betrayal, a "joker" spiked his drink, which seems the entire audience's fault ("a crowd of fools got him high") and the rocker is first mentioned "in the wings", NOT as part of his own band, but stuck in an area of anticipation and separation. His band is not even mentioned, as if he is totally alone with no allies. "He steps into the remaining light" not only describes him taking the stage but also hints at his decline - his world is gradually getting darker and darker.

I think Painted Smile and Reflective Smile add to Thomas' overall artistic statement. Painted Smile seems to be about pleasing his loved one through the use of humor and cheerfulness, which leads to his being taken for granted, and in turn obscures the fact that there is much more to him than his silly, childlike persona, e.g. "No one's believing / when I say that I'm bleeding / and I hurt deep inside all the time". There is a direct link to VCR thematically: while a "joker" spikes the drink in VCR, here Thomas plays the part of the joking entertainer: "Laughter is free / but it's so hard to be a jester all the time.

I would guess that Reflective Smile was created last as a provocative bridge between the two main songs. But is there any real meaning behind it? I think it can definitely be interpreted as so. The poem talks about the fickleness of the audience ("and all around the milling crowd...their love's forgetfullness abounds") which definitely foreshadows the same sense of an ultimately shallow audience in VCR. "Your painted smile hides you still while you search yourself within": this is interesting because it is Thomas (or at least the "character" of the singer) who bears the painted smile; perhaps this is why the band purposefully used a British DJ, not Thomas himself, to recite these lines on the recording. But why is it "reflective"? At the end, it goes "Be thankful for your greasepaint clown / if loneliness bears the crown / of the Veteran Cosmic Rocker" This is confusing, because it first addresses the clown, and at the end it addresses the person who is entertained by the clown. Maybe this is why it is "reflective", because the each person is both a clown to someone else and knows someone who is a clown to them, in the sense of Painted Smile. Perhaps the message is that these roles of entertainer and person being entertained apply to everyone, and therefore reflect on every listener. Moreover, while the singer is the jester in Painted Smile, this character (the joker, at least) is the one who hurts the rocker in VCR. Reflective Smile seems to show how everyone can play any role in a situation at different times. Ultimately it seems to give the message that we need to appreciate the ones who love us, or otherwise become lonely, lost and exploited like the Veteran Cosmic Rocker.

Now I know a lot of people may disagree with some of my ideas on this, but I just wanted to show that this final string of songs is actually quite deep, and shouldn't be written off as filler or something without any edge. If I had more time and interest I would love to rant on about the quality of the lyrics even more. Obviously, however, these are a very playful bunch of tunes. The circus-music in the first two, and the over-done psychedelia in VCR definitely parodies the Moodies' past (e.g. the flute-harmonica middle eight, and most obviously the backwards sitars and vocals at the very end). What I like best about VCR is that it seems to operate on several levels at once. It is essentially about a guy having a bad, unexpected, and frightening drug-trip in front of an audience, but it's more generally about him being exploited by those around him. We have "he's afraid he's GONNA die" showing the performer's fear of ensuing performance failure, even drug-induced death, on stage. But we also have the closing "He's afraid that he WILL die". That seems to be an altogether different statement, i.e. this rocker has to come to terms with his own mortality in general and the rock'n'roll lifestyle that has overtaken him. As a final thought, these songs, as Painted Smile indicates, may present a very playful lightheartedness (typical of Ray Thomas) but also reveal a depth of emotion lying underneath it.


Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

I have the opposite opinion of the album's production -- while Moraz's keyboards were tastefully supportive of the songs on the last one, here they are laid on too thickly (although there was worse to come)!

The songs are rather a morose bunch, except for "Sitting." There's angst everywhere -- about the state of the planet ("Blue World"), aging ("Going Nowhere") and relationships (just about everything else). It's the album that puts the "Moody" in the Moody Blues!

The only real classics here are "Blue World" -- I also love that bass line as well as the guitar solo and Patrick's swirling keyboard arpeggios; and "Going Nowhere," which I find very moving, especially since I'm now a "child of middling years!". The rest is at least listenable, and they didn't make the mistake of coming up with a lame attempt to be funky like "Gemini Dream." It's the last Moodies album I can listen to all the way through without cringing at any of the tracks.

Gast, Judy <> (11.08.2000)

[Album cover] It's from "Daybreak" by Maxfield Parrish. The Moodies probably could have used Parrish prints on all their album covers.

Tom Anger <> (08.08.2002)

I think this work has flashes of brilliance- 'Meet me halfway' is not bad, 'blue world' is a cool song, and I like 'Running Water'..really you can play this album thru and not get disgusted- which is why I liked the Moodies from years past- you could play an album thru and enjoy a little trip- but after the first 7 - until the Present, I could not stand to listen to anything all the way thru (except maybe Blue Jays) but:

The reason I wrote is I always thought it was interesting that the boy on the cover art was handing the girl a glowing "X" -- a thinly veiled reference to is obvious that the boys had been turned on to ecstacy. And I guess it worked for them up to a point.

Getting old sucks, you're smarter and have more money but its easy to lose interest in things..

But its all we know so carry on, lads.

Gerard Nowak <> (26.03.2003)

A classic one, actually better than some of the classic 7 ones. I noticed something unique for this album as compared to the other Moodies' post-Pinder records. The present songs would have sounded hardly better if they'd been recorded in the seventies. Only "Running Water" would (but still, it was my favourite track on the album when I first heard the record when I was 16, so it did its job). And Moraz' contribution to the arrangements is great (for instance, he almost saves the otherwise average "It's Cold Outside of Your Heart"). The two opening tracks are the best, though not by far. "Blue World" is their only minor 1980's hit having any value off the charts. "Meet Me Halfway" is my favourite one, a great little song with the simple but effective guitar part. It continues the tradition started by "Ticket to Ride": there's a precious "something special" in the end. I used to detest "Sitting at the Wheel", but I've grown more analytic and now I simply enjoy Lodge's vocals (amazing progress since his weak deliveries in "The Eyes of a Child"!) and of course Hayward's finest moment ever as the guitarist. Thomas is great on the song written by Edge (it's good it's just a SONG), and there is another special thing about this "Going Nowhere", a great coda, something the Moodies cleverly used to avoid (Why cleverly? Confront "The Sun Is Still Shining"). Not boring in the least, definitely going SOMEWHERE, as all this album does. It's a pity the authors rather despised it themselves. Hayward: "We had "Blue World", some reasonable singles from it, but it didn't make it on the whole". Strange.


David Sheehan <> (09.09.2005)

Hey George, I've been an avid reader since 2001 or so, and this is my first message. How sad it is that it's on the Moody Blues' The Other Side of Life review. I wondered when you would get around to reviewing this one, and I am somewhat surprised that you gave it a 6(9). For me, this is just as bad as Sur La Mer, though admittedly bad in a different way. The songs are a little better on this one, but I think the keyboards are beyond atrocious. "Heavenly synths" on SLM are bad, but they're nothing compared to the bleeps and bloops and croaking frogs (the outro to "Running Out of Love") on here. Ick. I'd give it an 4(7).

Bob Josef <> (03.10.2005)

They were really pushing it with the keyboards on the last one, but here they go totally over the top, adding totally unnecessary sequencers and drum machines, Ugh! The only real debate is what's the worse album, this one or the next. On SLM, almost everything consistently burns at the mediocre-to-awful level. While here, there are two songs that are definitely better than anything there, but three songs that are infinitely worse -- "Talkin' Talkin' ", "Slings and Arrows" and especially "Rock and Roll Over You." These bastard disco mutants of "Gemini Dream," made even worse with the overproduction, trying to disguise themselves as rock songs -- thanks so much, John. Oddly enough, "Rock and Roll Over You" seems to have a similar melodic structure to "I'm Just a Singer," but everything else about it is atrocious beyond words. "I Just Don't Care" calls for an intimate sound like "Who You Are Now?", not Visconti's overly electronic extravaganza. "The Spirit" is interesting because Moraz's music is the closest the band ever came to actual Yes-like prog, but Edge's lyrical attempt to return the band's cosmic past is pretty awkward. I have to agree that the first and last songs are the best. You've got the weird spacy intro like "The Voice" (played by Visconti), a funky bass like on "Blue World," but add a more accessible lyric, and it's no surprise that "Your Wildest Dreams" was everywhere on the radio that year. As for "It May be A Fire," I don't suppose that we needed a third rewrite of "Say You Love Me." But Moraz's keyboards provide appropriately tasteful orchestration, and Justin's guitar solo on the coda really makes the song. So. I guess when you average everything out, it gets the same score as SLM for me -- a very low one.


Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

"Leave this Man Alone" brings to mind, oddly enough, a R. E. M. garage rocker, for some reason. And if you think R. E. M. and the Moodies don't belong in the same sentence, try playing "Texarkana" back to back with "The Voice" some time. Separated at birth?

"Please Think About It" is such a blatant rewrite of "Go Now." It's a good thing Mike started dropping acid and producing stuff like "Love and Beauty," which almost could be a On the Threshold of a Dream outtake. And the rest is a lot of fun for hardcore fans.


Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

In agreement here. Mediocre songs, further ruined by overproduction, for the most part, thanks in no small part to producer Tony Visconti. And no Ray!! "Here Comes the Weekend" is indeed ridiculous. And "Love is on the Run" mines the "Say You Love Me" mine once again. Actually, the one song I do enjoy is "Breaking Point", which creates a dark, ominous feeling unlike anything else the band ever recorded.

George, you have somehow missed this album's predecessor, The Other Side of Life, Visconti's first crucifixion of the band. Be forewarned!

Kevin Muckenthaler <> (28.08.2000)

Easily the worst Moody Blues album. The 80's were not kind to the Moodies sound, and here they fully succumb to irritating synths, drum machines, and hideous pop songwriting. It was actually the same on their previous album, The Other Side of Life, but at least some of the music was GOOD, even behind all the sterile 80's production. Sur la Mer starts off with a 'sequel' to "Your Wildest Dreams": "I Know You're Out There Somewhere." I never liked it much, but at least it's pleasant. The next track, "Want to Be With You," isn't too bad either. But then comes "River of Endless Love." The title is so dumb that the song is already bad even before you listen to it. "No More Lies" is upbeat and catchy. "Here Comes the Weekend" has some of the most annoying keyboards and electronic drumbeats ever, plus hideous lyrics. "Vintage Wine" is kinda Beatle-ish and harmless. "Breaking Point" is so horrendously bad that it could be used as an example of how not to write a song. The weak John Lodge vocals at the start strive in vain to be spooky. "Miracle" is a generic and monotonous ditty. "Love is On the Run" is just...bad. Finally, there's the infamous "Deep," which is Justin Hayward's most sexually explicit song and another clunker. Such a sad album, but at least the band's last two efforts are better.

Gerard Nowak <> (16.03.2003)

This is not their worst album. The Other Side of Life is - even the very compositions are nightmare on that one. Here, on the other hand, at least some songs could actually work if arranged in a totally different way. For me, the second middle eight of "The River of Endless Love" (the one with the backing vocals) is an instance of very powerful songwriting, but Mr. We-know- who kills it all the way. The chord progression in the middle eight of "Miracle" is also innovative for the Moodies, though I can imagine that it could have been a result of the lack of inspiration. "Vintage Wine" and "Want to Be with You" are both rather neutral and forgettable, but at least the synths are not that prominent there. There is also "Love Is On The Run", which I find rather decent, at least there's the idea of a guitar theme intervowen with the chorus towards the end. And there's "Deep". Apart from the hm female sounds in the background, this is perhaps the only song on this album with a sense of some greatness. I like the guitar solo very much. Yes, "Deep" is perhaps the only red song on this album. The other songs are rubbish, there's absolutely nothing positive about "Breaking Point" and "Here Comes the Weekend". Very sad an album for a fan...

Jean Marlow <> (25.04.2004)

With this album, the Moodies have done something I never thought them capable of; they made me wish that I hadn't gone out and paid good money for one of their albums. This is APPALLING. I don't mind 'I know you're out there somewhere', but from then on, it goes downhill rapidly. 'Here comes the weekend' is hopeless, but I think that 'No more lies' is easily the worst song on the album. As George said, the melody is OK, but the lyrics must be the most banal they have EVER written. Whatever possessed Justin Hayward to think that this little ditty about telling the truth would fool us into thinking that there was any truth in it at all. He sings with all the insincerity of a used-car salesman trying to pass of a lemon as the car of my dreams.

Their lyrics have often been strange, obscure, esoteric or down-right *what are these guys on???* but on this album, there is no mystery at all. I wish there was, then I could use the excuse that I just didn't get it, but unfortunately, I get it all too well

The one thing that I am glad about is that I had already bought a lot of their back catelogue before this, so that I know that it isn't typical; I just hope that no-one ever bought it to find out what they were about. They have so much more going for them, it just isn't available here

David Moses <> (14.05.2004)

This must be the worst Moody blues album. There are three types of songs on here- the forgettable, the good and the darn right ugly. I have to say that, as a huge Moody Blues fan, I still quite like the album- it is simply in comparison to their other releases this falls flat. Oh, and needless to say, that artificial 80's sound that- while great for erasure or the pet shop boys, makes the Moody Blues sound sterile.

Good songs- 'I know you're out there somewhere' (but way too long, and a poor man's 'your wildest dreams') (8/10)

'Want to be with you' - great ballad, with nice vocals. Stand out track for me. (9.5/10)

'Vintage wine' - nice pop ditty- very beatlesque. Good vocals too. (8.5/10)

'Deep' - Actually not that bad. Like the vocal melody line, but the backing 'sounds' are silly. (8/10)

OK songs- 'No more lies' - nice melody, but the lyrics are ultimate trite, and its simplistic. (7/10)

'River of endless love' - at the lower spectrum of ok- because the middle 8 is great. But the main song features rubbish unison vocals from John and Justin and more pathetic, banal lyrics. (6/10)

'Love is on the run' - boring, but not offensive. (6/10)

'Miracle' - Lowest point of OK. Can't remember the melody now- but seem to recall a nice mid 8. Saved from crap for same reason as 'river'. (Somewhere between 5-6/10)

The rubbish- 'Breaking point' - no melody, no direction, no atmosphere. Total nonsense. (2/10)

'Here comes the weekend'. Probably the worst song in the Moody catalogue. No lyrics, a terrible attempt to rock, and done with horrid synthesisers. This is the nadir. This is where the 80's Moody Blues were heading. Thankfully they picked up after this. But as for now.... (0/10)

J G <> (12.07.2004)

Oh geez! What's with the drama; "Worst Album Ever"?! Not hardly. OK, OK, it's not the Core 7, but what is? I too, hate that Ray wasn't involved, either but, Sur La Mer is still entertaining and in no way THE WORST ALBUM EVER! (The Moody Blues couldn't even do a Worst Album Ever!)

'I Know You're Out There Somewhere' is a wonderful opener and the Man Hayward said himself, it's his favorite to sing live. 'Vintage Wine' is one of my favorite Moodies ditties. Always has been, always will be. Just a pure, pleasurable up-beat, sing-a-long tune. 'Deep' is a pleasurable song for altogether different reasons.


John McFerrin <> (25.08.99)

A couple of things. First, Moraz is on the album; they sacked him midway through, but he stayed long enough to do two of the shitty songs ('SWYM' and 'Magic') and one of the great ones ('Celtic Sonant'). Second, there were three different producers on this album; Tony Visconti, who also did TOSOL and SLM (responsible for 'ITH', 'SWYM', 'CS', 'Magic', and 'NBTRFTR'), Christopher Neil ('SIWL', 'LOM(T)', 'HAP') and Alan Tarney ('BTW (TBYB)', 'SOTW', 'OIE'). Third, while I agree that half of this album is great and the other half sucks, I'm not in total agreement with your choices for each. For instance, I LOVE 'Bless the Wings' (that's an actual orchestra, btw) and, believe it or not, 'Hope and Pray'. I know it's surprising, but it reminds me FAR more of the best moments on The Present than it does of anything off SLM or TOSOL. In any case, I'm not that big on 'Is This Heaven'?. It's not bad or anything, but I consider it somewhat of a letdown after the first two tracks (though MUCH better than 'SWYM'). And 'Shadows on the Wall' is just kinda ehn. Lodge's vocals sound ... clogged, for lack of a better word. Something must have happened between this and ST (or between this and June '98, when I saw them live) because his voice sounds much more soothing and pleasant now than on this album.

All in all, I'd say there are 6 GREAT songs on here, ('SIWL', 'BTW', 'LOM', 'HOP', 'CS', 'NBTRFTR') two alright ones ('ITH', 'SOTW') and three SHITTY BEYOND BELIEF ones ('SWYM', 'OIE', 'Magic'). I cannot believe that I once considered 'Magic' to be a highlight of this album. UGH. Overall, 7.

Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

More mediocrity. The most interesting thing about the album is that the lead vocals are brought more front and center in the mix, and the overwhelming sequenecer and drum programming of the last two albums is practically nonexistent. Instead, more straightforward, orchestral arrangements are used. This results in their most more pop oriented album yet.

The two attempts to get funky -- "Once is Enough" and "Say What You Mean" are indeed disastrous. "Say You Love Me" puts in two appearances this time, as "Chasing Shadows" and "Lean On Me". "Magic" would be more appealing if those stupid saxophones were mixed out -- horns just do not jell with the Moodies sound (see also "Top Rank Suite", "Driftwood" and "Miracle"). The best tune here is the welcome return of Ray with "Celtic Sonant", a spacy, full voiced almost-return to pre-Octave days. Their most uneven release since that album, though, thanks to the producer-go-round during the sessions.

One track form the session with Tony Visconti didn't make the album. Called "Highway", it's a jaunty, upbeat tune by Justin and John that's a lot better than most of the songs on the album. It eventually made it to the Time Traveler and Anthology collections.

Gerard Nowak <> (14.11.2002)

I side with John McFerrin on "Hope and Pray". It's a great song, I definitely wait for when the album is on (and it's seldom, for obvious reasons). Its nostalgic flavour seems honest to me, it's actually one of the few late-Hayward moving songs. I heard him say that he finds it harder and harder too write good songs, and easier and earier to write average ones. So he had learned his lesson in introspection, as the next album Moodies put out 8 years after. Still too soon, as "Haunted" shows.

<> (14.06.2005)

Obviously, I'm a huge Moody Blues fan--HUGE--and was really upset when I discovered that because I had Keys of the Kingdom on cassette, I didn't have a song. ("Once Is Enough" appeared only on the CD release.) Thus I went out of my way to get someone to burn me a CD with ONLY that song on it a few years later, only to discover that it was the single worst song in the band's career. By far. Augh! Not only was it about nothing, and with no substance whatsoever, but it delivered that void with the cheesiest, blandest possible vehicle. It was embarrassing.

I lost that one-song CD. I never really bothered to look for it.


Gerard Nowak <> (14.11.2002)

Oh, will I be opening the reader comments section? Great! I'll show 'em!! Well, eh, wait a moment. Oh, now I can see. There is nothing to write about! So neutral, so boring, so needless! Actually, "Tuesday Afternoon" is the only one worth paying attention to: they changed something significantly - play it faster. Yes, I mean that the orchestra might as well be absent on all these tracks - I can see no reason why they bothered to hire them.

Bob Josef <> (03.01.2003)

In the 70's, I would occasionally wonder what the group would sound like with orchestra instead of a Mellotron. And the answer is: less eerie and mysterious. Certainly, though, a certain amount of grandeur is maintained with the arrangements. ("Isn't Life Strange?" stands out, with those huge horns). I don't agree that the musicians and orchestra don't mesh. They work together well enough.

Where, I do agree, though, is that the vocals are pretty weak. Lodge was never a great lead singer, and Hayward's voice had lost most of its depth and body by this point. (This first became apparent on the '89 orchestral remakes of "ILS" and "Question", from the Greatest Hits album). He really strains his way through the 60's and 70's songs <sigh>. The female backing vocalists are way too prominent and sound out of place, except on "Nights in White Satin". Ironcially, this is usually where the girls sound great live, but you can't hear them here for some reason. The only outright disaster, though, is "I'm Just a Singer", which is just a jumbled mess vocally. They simply cannot duplicate those harmonies live, so they shoudn't bother, despite good guitar work from Justin. My favorite on the original CD, though, is "Lovely to See You". I had seen the band a few months earlier (pre-orchestra), and the opened the show with this number. Very exciting, since they hadn't performed any OTTAD numbers live in almost 20 years.

The original issue of the Time Traveler box had a fifth CD containing the other eight songs from the concert, which I guess are now going to be on the remastered reissue of the album. Two are rather obvious hits (a by-the-book "Gemini Dream" and a raucous "Story in Your Eyes") and two more songs are from Keys ("Bless the Wings" and "Say it With Love"), which they were then promoting. Three less obvious album tracks also showed up. "New Horizons" wasn't that surprising, since they included on the '86 tour. Despite Justin's limited voice, it got the most beautiful arrangement of any of the orchestrated tracks. "Voices in the Sky" was a bigger surprise, again, somewhat marred by the vocals. Totally out of left field comes the rather obscure "Emily's Song". This version is the one song from the show that improves over the original, with the smooth orchestration substituting for the wimpy instrumentation of the studio version. And here, Lodge's lower register voice works better as well. The real stunner, though is a ten minute "Legend of a Mind", with the flute/keyboard duet the band had been playing since the Octave tour. Add the orchestra and Thomas's great voice, and you have the most outstanding track of the concert. Since all the songs are in one place, the new two CD package is highly recommended for fans, even if the vocals are not up to even current studio snuff.

That fifth TT CD also contained one studio track, only one of two covers that the band performed post-Denny Laine. It's a rather peculiar version of a song called "This is the Moment", from the Broadway show "Jekyll and Hyde". What possesed them to do this? It has a rather wimpy vocal from Hayward. Thomas would have been better suited to the song. As someone else said, he has a big voice well suited to show tunes, having covererd one already.

Henry Rybaczewski <> (08.11.2005)

I am surprised that no one has commented on the fact that Ray botches the lyrics in "For My Lady". He does the last verse twice. I love Ray's stuff and his voice, so I'm willing to overlook the flub. I do wish there had been more of Ray's songs in the concert. I know they would go over well, as the arrangements could be made simple - totally capable of the 4 guys by themselves.


Philip Maddox <> (01.10.2000)

I bought this a few months ago and... well... no! I don't like this album much at all. I've never been a big fan of generic ballads, much less an album of generic ballad after generic ballad after generic ballad. I do greatly enjoy the title track - it's got everything a classic Moodies tune should have - ultra-pretentious lyrics, a solid melody, and a great, engaging atmosphere. It is without question my favorite song here. Second place goes to 'English Sunset', which sounds like one of the better tracks from the post-Octave pre-Keys days. The techno elements are annoying, but the melody is solid. That's about it, though. Oh, 'The Swallow' is decent, too. Not great, but pretty enough (and memorable!). The rest goes straight through me. 'Forever Now'? 'Haunted'? 'Foolish Love'? 'Words You Say'? Nope, not for me. Generic and tuneless, it seems to me. Oh, special last place honors go to Ray Thomas for his extremely embarassing 'My Little Lovely'. I thought 'Nice To Be Here' was stupid, but it has nothing on lyrics like "Fairy tales sometimes come true/Use fairy dust and pixie glue/And all the love will stick to you/My little lovely!". This time, though, there isn't even a good melody to back it up - it's a syrupy and banal as possible all around. I mean, Moody Blues lyrics are usually dumb and cliched, but this is bad, even for them. This gets a 4 from me. Maybe even lower.

Bob Josef <> (02.10.2000)

I waited a year to pick this up, because I wanted it cheap. I didn't want to pay full price for something that might have been as mediocre as Keys of the Kingdom (which I did pay top dollar for).

But you know something? I was very pleasantly surprised. Easily the best thing they've done since The Present. The most stripped down, laid back production style ever from Hayward and Lodge. Clearly, Justin took the lessons learned from View from the Hill and brought them to the band. There's none of the abuse of sequencers, synths and drum machines from The Other Side of Life and Sur La Mer, and none of the overorchestration of Keys. Those tracks that do feature strings have arrangements that are tasteful and unobtrusive (Even if Lodge still comes up with nothing BUT orchestrated ballads that sound like "Say You Love Me" AGAIN!). And although they still can't resist trying to be "hip" and "funky," at least they keep that to a minimum. The techno arrangement on "English Sunset" is a bit annoying, but Justin makes up for that with a jaunty melody and very interesting lyrics. No "Gemini Dream" in this vicinity, fortunately.

The songwriting is also greatly improved. Ray's "My Little Lovely" is, well, a lovely little folk ballad, and the music backing "Nothing Changes" is good enough to make me wish that both Graeme and Ray got more to do. (I never minded our drummer's pretentious poetry, so that's not an issue.) Lots of lovely ballads from Justin, although I could have used a few more upbeat tunes -- I expected the title track, for example, to be a lot more rocking. But then again, I guess it's a bit much to expect guys in the mid 50's to "rock out." But if you keep your expectations low and don't expect another Seventh Sojourn (or even Long Distance Voyager, for that matter), there's a lot to enjoy here.

It does look like their age is catching up with them, at last, if you look at the words to some of the songs. There seems to be a streak of fatalism running through a lot of the lyrics -- "Nothing Changes," "Love Don't Come Easy," "Words You Say," "English Sunset." Even when the guys were down (7th Sojourn, The Present), you'd never get lines like "I'll watch the sad decay/Because it's the English way" on a classic Moodies album. I guess the happy, trippy lads of Days of Future Passed are history. Sunset for the Moodies?

Kevin Muckenthaler <> (15.10.2000)

Yet another chapter in the adventures of Justin and John. The album opener "English Sunset" is an average dance track that is probably, like you said, a last ditch attempt at getting some younger listeners. "Haunted" is a rather weak ballad with rather weak Hayward vocals. "Sooner or Later" is a fairly good track that has all three vocal Moodies trading off (how fun). Next comes "Foolish Love," a great Justin song that seems like a throwback to Long Distance Voyager or earlier. "All That is Real is You" is a countryfied tune in the vein of "It's Cold Outside of Your Heart." The title track is one of the best tracks, with some Beatles undertones. Ray's offering "My Little Lovely" is great but really short. "The One" is a weird song, and the little riff in the middle is nabbed from "Mellow Yellow", among other songs. Justin plays some good classical guitar on "The Swallow," which is a definate album highlight. The closing Graeme poem/song "Nothing Changes" has forced lyrics but some good atmosphere and music. The part of the album I haven't mentioned are the Johnsongs, which are all slow and, for the most part, pointless. "Forever Now" starts off with an annoying synth noise and doesn't get much better. "Love Don't Come Easy" is the best of the lot, and somewhat different from most Moody material. "Words You Say" is one of the worst Moody Blues songs ever. It's completely boring, trite, and depressing. "Forever Now" is pretty much along those same lines. The highs and lows are pretty large on this album, and I wish Ray and Graeme would have gotten more to do.

Greg Rowe <> (15.11.2000)

It seems that Moodies fans (including me) tend to like this album; after years of very effectively having our standards continually lowered (Sur La Mer, Keys to the Kingdom), this album is well ... "OK". Maybe even as good as "all right". Forget the core 7, there's no going back, but halleluah! there's still some good music left in the lads after all. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of wince moments, the annoying dance beat on 'English Sunset', the du-du-du's on 'Haunted' (I picture the Lawrence Welk singers), John's voice mixed right out front on the beginning of "Words You Say" or "Forever Now" (are these really two different songs?), "My Little Lovely" (nice guitar, nice idea, miserable lyrics), "The One" (sounds like a Sur La Mer outtake)and "Nothing Changes" (less said the better). All right, I've just trashed a large part of the album, but I really do like the balance. Sure you're not going to put the top down and cruise through the local Dairy Queen with this thing blaring on the CD player, but there's still a lot of enjoyable moments. Good strong melodies and arrangements for the most part. Justin and John stick to their strengths and for the most part appear to be making the type of music that they like and are good at rather than trying to fit into perceived musical trends. Program your CD player to skip "My Little Lovely" and end after "Forever Now" and you will have a very solid 43 minute album. Way to go guys!

Gerard Nowak <> (07.12.2002)

I guess that we all here agree that it's their best effort since The Present, much as we may disagree on which song to pick up as the best. For my money, "The Swallow" is an obvious choice. The song itself is decent, and I like the strings playing along with the band, rather than over-blowing somewhere there in the background. Of course, ELO played like this 30 years earlier, but never with such charm, and never (after all) with such a singer. And, I prefer the novelty of "The Swallow" to, say, the laughable novelty of "English Sunset" ( I do it better on my acoustic guitar, wanna demo?) Out of Lodge's contributions I choose "Words You Say", a Blue Jays track (actually better than Blue Jays' "Maybe"). I really appreciate Lodge's progress as the vocalist, listen to "Peak Hour" on CL+5, right channel, for a laugh, er for comparison. Yet, I'd rather hear Hayward and Thomas in harmonies, rather than the multi-tracked Lodge here in the chorus. There is a glimpse of Moodies' good old massive harmonies in "The One", so I like the one. Come on, it's not as bad as the Sur La S**t stuff - no synths, no programming, no problem. Edge's poem is his worst. It reads as a kindergarten rhyme. But the song is saved by the splendid, moving couplet towards the end and the following orchestral coda. Apt. The rest is at least passable. For some reason, I like, "Foolish Love", but I won't kill myself if someone doesn't.

Michael J West <> (27.06.2005)

The thing about this album to me is, it's their first middle-aged-sounding album. Which is not a bad thing at all-it's the first time they've owned up to the fact that they're grown-up, aging men, and they're neither trying to recapture the youth market nor looking back with nostalgia on their OWN youths. They're acting their age, playing music directed toward people their age. ("The Swallow" is the best example of this, I about time going by, and learning not to rush it any faster...although "Nothing Changes" does a pretty good job too.) That doesn't make it great music for twenty- and thirty-something music geeks, I agree-but it's sure as Hell a lot less embarrassing than Keys of the Kingdom-to me their worst album by a longshot.

I'm listening to Strange Times today for the first time in a few years, and again I'm amazed that, yes, as you and so many commenters agree, it is the best album they've done since The Present. And I think I just explained why, and I hope I explained it well.

I also agree that there's something faintly stupid about "The One." And I think it's the falsetto-the one thing that they ARE trying to recapture from their glory days is those soaring, high tones. Alas, they are gone, and when Justin and John are trying to hit those notes again they just sound a little silly.


John McFerrin <> (25.08.99)

Gotta go with you on this one, George. As much of a hardcore fan as I am, I too would only give this a 7. Sure, some of the songs are utterly fantastic ('This Morning,' 'Saved By The Music'), but the rest is just the rest. I don't really dislike any of them, and by themselves each would be just fine, but taken together, it's like sucking down warm cream. There's only so much of the 'romantic' feel that one can take (another example that immediately comes to mind of an album where the warm feeling is overdone is ELP's Trilogy; sure, it's nice and peaceful and serene, but all it does is put me to sleep).

Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

The orchestration just crucifies "Nights," "Maybe" and "I Dreamed Last Night." My favorite track is the one with the simplest arrangement -- "Who Are You now?", with that haunting cello and low-key synth. Beautiful! The rest is OK, but, like Seventh Sojourn, the record could do with a few more upbeat rockers.

Greg Rowe <> (14.12.2000)

"You" was actually penned by John Lodge, not Justin Hayward. And if you can be wrong about that, then I submit that you can be wrong about your entire review. However you're not. Personally, if I'm in the mood for this type of music, I can easily listen to an entire album of it. Problem is, that side 2 just flat out sags. WIth the exception of stand-outs "Saved by the Music" and "Who Are You Now", the rest of it is forgettable non-content. So what I'm saying here is that it's not the lack of style variety, but the lack of strong song-writing. But there are no truly bad numbers and there are some tunes as worthy as most anything in the Moodies catalog. So I think this ranks a half step below the core seven and above anything subsequent. Oh yeah, and I actually LIKE 'Nights, Winters, Years'.

David Benson <> (05.04.2002)

Maybe I am just ignorant. But if so, in my case, it is truly bliss. I actually know nothing about the technicalities of music; but I find this album as powerful and beautiful as any of the first seven Moodies albums, all of which I regard as classics. I especially have a strong emotional response to 'When You Wake Up'. The melody results in my crying tears of appreciation which gives me a very pleasant high. As long as it is great music, I do not care if the songs sound repetitive. I confess that I am a highly sensitive and emotional person, which is both a blessing and a curse. This probably explains why the Moodies are my favorite all time band. Their style of music allows me to escape into my own alternate reality. Supertramp has a similar, though less intense affect on me. When I want great music while in a less emotional mood, I will turn to Jethro Tull.

Gerard Nowak <> (07.12.2002)

Thank you, David Benson, for posting your comment - now I'm not (that) ashamed to type in mine. Blue Jays tends to be my favourite album of The Moody Blues, so to say. All the same, the review is fair. I guess that one can only defend this album - successfully- from a highly objective and personal point of view. As this site aims at something more scholar, I'll skip my history and mention a few univerals. So, the lead vocals and overdubs are impeccable, even on Lodge's part. The guitars are also great, not only a blue guitar, for that matter. I mean the colour rather than the techniques - this album defines the Hayward sound better than any other. And the songwriting is still brilliant. I know, the impression of sameness . . . But look, the J's consciously decided to perform each track in a different tempo and key. They kinda succeeded and not all the 'versatile' albums can boast with that.


Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

No, it's not the Moodies, but I do admire the variety of styles on the album. I think "Doin' Time" is a great rocker that could have been on EGBDF, "Lay it On Me" and "Country Girl" are fun, upbeat songs. He does make a major error in oversentimental judgment in the backing vocals on "Raised on Love", but the song itself is very moving. "Nostradamus" is also Moody-worthy. But, you're right, this sets the precedent for Octave and all that followed.

Gerard Nowak <> (21.03.2003)

The main fault of this album is poor arrangments. Synthesizers (probably most often played by Hayward himself) instead of Pinder's mellotron - it could never work. Thus, even great compositions are spoilt (I mean "Songwriter" in particular). The obvious exception is "Nostradamus", but I must admit I can't listen to this without laughing (the lyrics), definitely not my spiritual cup of tea this. But the flutes and cellos are incredible, this is the only case when the record benefits from the fact that the respective instruments aren't played by Thomas and Lodge. The other great songs are "Doin' Time" (great chorus, by all means) and "One Lonely Room". There are some fine moments elsewhere as well (the chord progression in the chorus of "Stage Door", for instance) but these are rather few. And that's how it will be with Hayward's solo's - particular songs work very fine, but the albums never make it on the whole (and that's sad for me, after all this is definitely my favourite singer). A compilation most wanted.

<> (27.02.2006)

'One Lonely Room' is Outstanding yes but I feel 'Doin'Time' and 'Raised On Love' are strong just as well he may well have his own re-mix in the works after all he is The Songwriter


Kevin Muckenthaler <> (28.08.2000)

I like this one less than you do. This is a putrid album. Justin goes disco. Not only disco, but BAD disco. Lots of lame beats, cheesy brass, atrocious lyrics, and boring melodies. The four Hayward-penned numbers are uncharacteristically dismal. The title track is actually interesting due to its sheer hokeyness factor. But it also contains lines such as "I can see the starlight/silver a gypsy girl." Yeesh. Other fabulous lines from the album include "Oh Penumbra/I'm just like you/Feeling so shy/Hiding behind somebody too." He's singing about the moon or somesuch. And something just doesn't sound right about Justin Hayward singing (in a wimpy way, mind you) "lay along side me beautiful lay-day." Yet I agree that the best song is probably "It's Not On", which is kinda sappy, but not so bad.

Gerard Nowak <> (19.03.2003)

His first solo was a huge disappointment after Blue Jays. Now I knew what to expect, and... At least all the slow ones are satisfying. The best is "Suitcase", almost a MB track, but for the rather poor lyrics (note Hayward playing drums on this one). And that's it, unfortunately. The "Crazy Lovers" opening is powerful, but the song goes more and more boring as it goes longer and longer. And I don't find "Nearer to You" that bad. I mean, it IS bad, but there is something ominous in the chorus, for a while ("without YOU-OU-OU"). I like this line very much. One more thing: that's perhaps the best produced Hayward solo album, my favourite trick is the separation of the acoustic guitar plucking within the stereo channels on "Maybe It's Just Love".

Vintage Wine <> (14.08.2004)

There are only 3 artists, other than the Bee Gees who could pull off disco: Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and Kool & the Gang. Justin Hayward ain't in that list.

As much as I enjoy and admire Justin Hayward's vocals and guitar-pickin', I cannot, for the life of me, get into this album at all. And I really did try. Honestly. The whole "Justin Going Disco" thing is just PLAIN wrong!

Bless his little heart - he did a good job....he was just keeping up with the trend at that time (1980), but cheesy isn't what he's about. That's like putting a $100.00 saddle on a $10.00 horse. (Justin being the $100.00 saddle, of course.)


J G <> (07.07.2004)

I have to admit, I held my breath before hearing Justin's cover version of "Stairway to Heaven" but it was very lovely. Well orchestrated and beautifully done as only Mr. Hayward can do!

If you are a true Moodies fan or rather, a Justin fan, this album is a must. In my opinion, Justin can sing the alphabet song and I'd go out and buy it!


Bob Josef <> (07.02.2000)

This one was a pleasant surprise after Keys from the Kingdom. The production is much more low-key. He's not real great at social commentary ("Billy"), and the songs do go on too long. But "Troubadour" is indeed a fun track, and Justin's romanticism comes through on the rest. I miss the full-bodied range of his voice, but he is after all over 50!

Gerard Nowak <> (14.11.2002)

I wouldn't highlight "The trobadour" as the best one. It's indeed catchy but for me it says it all at one go. After more listenings, "The Way of the World" came up front as a surprise winner. I love the chorus with the synth gliding from G-major to A-major, almost like the good old mellotron! And the "Sometimes Less Is More" lyrics! Surely within Moodies' Top Three! If only the music was more unpredictable...

Joan <> (06.12.2003)

Wow! This is an album-- THE VIEW FROM THE HILL--do we still call them that?--that I actually had personally autographed backstage by the man himself. I am one of those "faces in the crowd" who idolizes the "divine" Mr. Hayward, which is why I read with great interest your critique of these guys. They come with different names now: The Moody Two's, Justin and the Justinettes, since the departure of Ray Thomas.

So here's my two cents worth. What they were was legend, what they have evolved into is sad. Perhaps it's technology, certainly, laziness, ego. I feel Justin always hid in a shell. He held back. John has been posing lately as a phantom Beatle. Too me, he is even trying to sound Lenonesque. With Ray gone--a core member--it's over for me. I can't do with the broads--just can't. And when you talk about the class/cheese border--that would be poor Justin. Many a photo has been posted of a partial chest bearing Justin in performance. A shirt open down to there, a pec exposed. It's sad. He doesnt need to go the Vegas nightclub performer route. He, in my opinion is the most beautiful man in rock history.

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