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Mike Oldfield - Man On The Rocks CD (album) cover

MAN ON THE ROCKS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.14 | 173 ratings

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thief
2 stars First things first: I'm so happy for Mike Oldfield to come back from semi-retirement and continue recording! "Man on the Rocks" was the first album in six years and Mike himself admitted that 2012 London Olympics ceremony reinvigorated him so much. In an interview I've read at the time, Oldfield claimed he started amassing a brand new collection of instruments and recording software. This album might very well represent the beginning of Phase 4 (or maybe 5?) of his illustrious career, hopefully the most harmonious and peaceful.

Regardless of my enthusiasm and numerous times I've listened to MOTR in its entirety, I'm certain he could've done a better job. This release is merely a collection of generic, poppy soft rockers, rarely shooting for anything grander.

Generally speaking, we have two categories of songs here. First group tries to be vigorous, uptempo, positive (i.e. "Sailing", "Minutes"). Unfortunately they turn out to be unconvincing, lacking in the hook/riff department and very forgettable. Title track also fits in this category and I find it marginally better, maybe for its lyrical content. "Chariots" might be the most edgy, it starts like John Paul Jones solo efforts, but quickly falls off the cliff imho.

Second group is more sentimental and almost tear-jerking. "I Give Myself Away" is apparently a cover, but it falls in line with "Following the Angels", "Nuclear" and the rest of tame, soft ballads. Among these, I find "Following the Angels" a bit better, though overlong... and "Moonshine", oh wow, this one is actually good. It sounds like Oldfield meets Coldplay meets Auld Lang Syne. Easily the best here.

I have a hard time with categorising "Castaway", it has elements of both, but fails so miserably and drags four minutes too long. Very unimaginative and uncharacteristic of Oldfield.

I can't find any enthusiasm to write on this album anymore. It's simply too tame, too safe, too wimpy most of the time. The production and vocals, although "Correct" from a technical point of view, just scream Adult Oriented Rock and lack that organic quality of better Oldfield albums. It reminds of me "Earth Moving" way too often to justify a good rating. I'm giving it two stars for the sake of sweet "Moonshine" and optimistic, marine themes.

Funny that both "Earth Moving" and "Man on the Rocks" were followed with so different and astonishing albums. The man is a unique talent, there is no denial.

thief | 2/5 |

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