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Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

3.40 | 330 ratings

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3 stars This album was released when ELO still had some art to their pop, and that's why it seems to have some substance for me. Also the fact that I loved this album when I was much younger helps it bring back some memories. But, there isn't a lot of prog here. It's mostly a collection of well-orchestrated and thought-out tracks that are quite well written and very melodic. They are songs that stick with you through time.

"Tightrope" is a definite highlight, not only on this album, but also in all of ELO's later repertoire. That lovely, orchestral passage at the beginning just really sets the stage for the album and the feelings of melancholia (warm breezes blowing through a car window in the early evening) are very strong, but the music only evokes those feelings. Even the contrast with a more rock-ish style once the vocals start, the contrast between the orchestral part and the heavier part just flows so smoothly. "Telephone Line" is another nice track with a sort of doo-wop sound of slow early rock from the 50's-60's, plus a lot of more modern twists. I'm not a huge fan of "Rockaria!" as it seemed a bit convoluted with the operatic vocals mixed with the harder rock sound and the somewhat corny lyrics, but I never really skipped past or ignored the song either. Then "Mission" brings back the melancholic style again with an edge of mystery surrounding it and the "alien" theme that goes with it. Again, warm summer nights come to mind.

The 2nd half begins with the two main singles from the album, both of which were still nice sounding artsy pop and always pleased the ear when they were played on the radio. The funk (albeit a bit plastic sounding) of the goofy "So Fine" and the nice, smoother sounds of "Livin' Thing" that even throws in a bit of dissonance to show that Jeff Lynne still used a bit of risky sound, yet pulled off a hit anyway. Between this and the next hit on the record, that hard rocker "Do Ya" with the irresistible guitar riff (reminiscent of "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" from an earlier album), is a nice little track that tends to get lost because of it's placement on the album, that is "Above the Clouds". I always loved this track because it seemed to be the most ignored, but it always seemed to give me a sense of peace and well-being when I heard it. It was always my own personal favorite from the album. It all ends with the symphonic "Shangri-La" which works as a perfect finale for the album, even though it had that obvious and somewhat corny reference to The Beatles. Still, it all came together quite well and I always had a lot of love for this album back in the day.

Be that as it may, it has lost a bit of that charm that it used to have for me. It hasn't really garnered the long-lasting respect that other albums from back in the day still have. At least, this album still has a degree of artiness to it's pop, but for ELO, that would even soon be given away for safe, more commercial pop that would come after "Discovery" where all of the art would be taken out of the art-pop of ELO. This album will always be important for me on a personal basis, but as far as from a respected and progressive style, this album is only a good album and not really that essential. I always get a little torn about reviewing albums that mean so much to me mainly because they were around while I was younger, but looking at this from a progressive stand point, 3 stars seems fair.

TCat | 3/5 |


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