Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Face the Music – ELO [#450]

ELO_Face_The_Music_album_coverOut of the Blue aside, having only ever really having listened to best of compilations of ELO I was reluctant to listen to an ELO album for fear I would become tired of the band and look away. However, what I wasn’t expecting was to actually enjoy the album.

Face the Music is ELO’s fifth studio album and features a new line up for the band. There are a fair number of tracks on the album I was unfamiliar with, tracks 3, 4 and 7 being the ones I had heard before. I would be inclined to put the album in to the “country and western” phase pigeon hole but the first and last tracks on the album spin in a different direction entirely.

ELO have been an integral part of my growing up from having the single Diary of a Horace Wimp since I was old enough to turn on a turntable. Following that I developed a rather hefty collection of “Best of” compilations of the band on cassette which kept my Walkman happy when I delivered the Liverpool Echo. In recent years though, the band has taken a back seat in my listening capacity with only popular songs occasionally popping up on random MP3 playlists.

Recently, as is most curious with the music project, ELO had a bit of a revival with Jeff Lynne relaunching the band as Jeff Lynne’s ELO, taking it on tour and appearing on chat shows to promote the new album. Of course, I’m a teeny bit uneasy about revivals and reformations having been stung by bands like Nightwish and Yes in the past. Really good bands, reform under different line-ups or names and then their music becomes a bit shit or unremarkable, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe for example.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (OST) – Various Artists [#434]

Eternal_sunshine_CD_coverThis will be the last week of Music Project entries before a two week hiatus unless someone comes forth offering to write for two weeks while I’m on the other side of the planet.

While not a great lover of  Michel Gondry’s 2004 rom-com starring Jim Carey and Kate Winslet, the soundtrack does have some nice songs on.

Which is, in part, why I keep the album in my collection. Happy Twee-rock and pop abound, with the likes of Polyphonic Spree, ELO and Lata Mangeshkar interwoven with Jon Brion’s equally twee romantic soundtrack.

Great for feeling twee.

 

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Electric Dreams – OST [#418]

Unknown-1A film ahead of its time was the little known eighties film Electric Dreams. Possibly more familiar is the song from the closing credits performed by former Human League and car stereo buyer Phil Oakey.

Electric Dreams tells the story of Miles (Twin Peaks’ Lenny von Dohlen), a geeky architect nerd who happens to fancy his new neighbour Madeline (played by Dune Princess Virginia Madsen) just at the same moment he buys himself a home computer and accidentally makes it sentient by spilling wine all over it. As you do.

The music is a perfect eighties music time capsule with songs by Culture Club, ELO’s Jeff Lynne and P.P.Arnold (currently doing the Caribbean Cruise circuit).

I love this soundtrack. I love the film too. It’s such a shame that it’s hardly ever shown on TV these days and it’s pricey on DVD.

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Discovery – ELO [#373]

DIRTY+DANCINGDiscovery – ELO

Me again. Here I am with the second of my guest posts, in this seven day run.

ELO. I have an odd relationship with ELO. <Anecdote> In the early eighties, when I was on the cusp of being a teenager, my Mum was an Assistant Librarian. This meant I visited the library a lot, and along with reading a lot of books, it also meant I got to borrow cassettes (and later CDs) for free! In turn this meant I got the chance to experiment with a lot of music without paying a bean – if I liked the cover of an album I’d borrow it. I suppose it was a bit like the music subscription services of more recent times. Anyway, one of these experimental albums was by ELO. Not the titular album I’m afraid, another album called Secret Messages. I was smitten by it, with its weird blend of multitrack vocal, orchestra, and original sound. It’s one of those albums that will forever be burned in my memory. For good or for bad it’s also forever associated in my mind with the Moomin books, which I was reading a lot of at the time. Anyway, getting back to the odd relationship bit. You would have thought that my love of the album would have lead me to listen to more ELO, but oddly it didn’t. The exact reason why is lost in the mists of my faltering memory, perhaps there weren’t any more ELO albums at the library, I wasn’t open-minded enough, or just didn’t think of it. </Anecdote>

Anyway, to present day, and it’s quite an odd thing breaking my second-ELO-album virginity. Discovery goes through all the right motions. It sounds a lot like Secret Messages and does a good job of treading that fine line between not being a copy, yet not being too different to confuse the listener. Yet it does nothing for me. Perhaps it’s too similar. Or I need to listen to it again. Music is a fickle beast. *shrugs*

For fact fans, it transpires that Discovery actually pre-dates Secret Messages by 4 years, with the former released in 1979, and the latter in 1983. Discovery was ELO’s first number one album in the UK. Oddly Wikipedia doesn’t give much if any information about how the album came together.

Here’s the opening track. Make your own mind up, if you’ve not heard it before.

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The Best Prog Rock Album in the World…Ever – Various Artists (#176)

The Best Prog Rock Album in the World...Ever - Various Artists (#176)The Best Prog Rock Album in the World…Ever – Various Artists 

This is one of the last CDs I bought. A wicked compilation showcasing a massive range of prog bands covering Canterbury scene, Zappa and even the first sprouts of New Romanticism.

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#164 – The Best of Electric Light Orchestra

R-1595939-1342163964-6251 The Best of Electric Light Orchestra

Jeff Lynne and his beard again and yet another “Best of” compilation for the band. It seems to me that all ELO did was release regular “Best of” albums.

Of course I know that’s not entirely accurate.

This “Best of” as compared to the other “Best of” is clearly a best of best ofs. Some of best of tunes from ELO’s best of albums feature here including:

Livin’ Thing (from many of the best of compilations)
Mr Blue Sky (from all of the best of compilations)
and
Standin’ in The Rain (a first on their Best of compilations)

Perhaps that’s what they’re best at? Making Best ofs. Meh.

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Album #63 – All Over the World – Electric Light Orchestra

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 11.52.16 All Over the World – Electric Light Orchestra

The Very Best of, apparently.

I really liked ELO when I was a kid. I suppose the tweeness and the optimism of their tunes lent some colour to my otherwise plodding teens. I can recall listening to them (on cassette of course) while doing my evening newspaper delivery round, whistling and singing away.

The selection of tunes here are what I’d probably pick if someone said: “Do us a compilation of ELO like”. But there are a few tracks I would have added that aren’t on this mix. I often wonder what goes through the head of people who make compilation albums like this. What makes them decide “Oh this is a banging choon, lets ‘ave that one on like” and yet neglect to put a song that is far superior in quality? I will no doubt explore this further when writing the reviews for the numerous Best Of compilation albums that will feature in this project.

Curiously, it wasn’t until recently that I actually found out what lead singer Jeff Lynne looked like.

Beards.

Says it all really.

 

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Music Project – Album #35 – A New World Record – ELO

A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

 

If you have been around since the seventies, chances are you’ve heard ELO. Chances are you’ve even heard of their music. Chances are you even probably know more than Mr Blue Sky. 

 

I’ve liked ELO since childhood and even to this day, I find their music easy to listen to and never offensive. Indeed, I would probably go as far to say, listening to ELO frequently involves me saying “Oh! They did this did they?!”

A New World Record is the sixth ELO album and was released in 1976. It has a number of their hits such as: Telephone Line and Livin’ Thing. According to my records I’ve only ever listened to this album twice before (in MP3 format since 2001). Still enjoyable but surprisingly short at just over 36 minutes in length…..

 

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