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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells III CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.34 | 249 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Re-using the title of his legendary debut album can raise suspicion. Is it just riding with the old fame? Endless circulation of the same musical themes? Thankfully, no. These albums (I'm speaking of TB II and TB III) do not eat each other at all, they all have an identity of their own, and the variations of the original themes are far from cheap copying. I used to enjoy TB II at the time of its release (1993) but nowadays I like it less: here and there it sounds rather phoney, too computer-sounding. The follower came only five years later and feels much fresher and stylish in a modern way. A bit more acid and up-beat electronica is spilled into the familiar New Age/Electronic trademark this time, and it works to a surprising effect. Yes, it even "rocks" as someone put it. It may horrify the most puristic Oldfield fans, but as can be seen from the reviews here, it has gained appreciation. In my opinion this is one of the best Oldfield albums since... hmm, since Crises (1983!).

Thank God he uses real female singers instead of a computer (mostly wordless, voice-as- instrument approach). And funny how he always seems to find very similar vocalists. 'Man in the Rain' is the album's only vocal pop song (the name Cara doesn't ring any bells for me) and a pretty good one. It sounds quite a lot like 'Moonlight Shadow', Maggie Reilly's highlight. I don't actually prefer either one to the other, but at least this one hasn' worn out. I'm thanking Oldfield for not trying to make it a hit, which it surely had potential for.

The entire album is keeping the listener active (awake) and is quite enjoyable from start to end, minus one track, rather noisy 'Outcast' which I always skip. The album ends in a majestic and cathartic way, saving the appearance of the tubular bells till the last track 'Far Above the Clouds'. Also I like the silver-toned cover art that reflects the music fantastically. 3,5 stars.

Matti | 4/5 |


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