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The Moody Blues - Days Of Future Passed  CD (album) cover

DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

4.14 | 526 ratings

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Mr. Gone
5 stars If a person has a single Moody Blues album in their collection, this is probably it. And deservedly so, since it paved the way for so much terrific material from so many other artists in its wake. Its impact is probably still being felt in the music industry today.

Supposedly, to fulfill record company wishes, the reconstituted Moodies (with Justin Hayward and John Lodge firmly ensconced as the replacements for the departed Denny Laine and Clint Warwick), years and personnel removed from their one big hit to that point, were to record a rock version of Dvorak's "New World Symphony". Instead, they locked the door and huddled down to record "Days of Future Passed" with a collection of British session orchestra musicians. While the music may seem a bit slight in light of what came later, one simply cannot rate this album down - it influenced far too many bands even if it wasn't in and of itself perfect.

Bookended by two Graeme Edge poems, the music here tells the story of a day in the life of one guy. Not just what he experiences, but in many instances what he feels about his surroundings and circumstances as well. Nothing overwhelmingly interesting happens, but it's a unique take nonetheless.

The music on the album starts with Mike Pinder's "Dawn Is a Feeling", sung by Justin Hayward in one of the few instances of the composer not singing the song for this band. It may also be the only waltz time song the band ever did (I've run through most of their songs in my head, and generally they're just about all in 4/4 time. Odd time signatures were not something this band did, for better or worse). The sweeping mellotron and piano provide a lilting backdrop for the introspective lyrics.

Ray Thomas then offers his first real composition with the new line-up, the quirky "Another Morning". All the Thomas hallmarks are here - slightly comical lyrics from the perspective of a child, some pleasant flute interludes and a generally positive tone. John Lodge does some excellent bass work here as well. Earthshaking? Probably not. Groundbreaking? Perhaps. Fun and enjoyable? Definitely.

Next up is John Lodge's rocker "Peak Hour". Somewhat Beatle-esqe, with a great Justin Hayward guitar solo and some good vocal harmonies. It also nicely provides a counterpoint to the more somber tone of the remainder of the album going forward.

Justin Hayward penned two hit singles for side two. "Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)" has a memorable mellotron/bass opening and starts a more dreamy feel for a bit. One can kind of feel the creeping lethargy of a sunny afternoon with no huge goals to reach - in good and bad ways. It's a memorable song at a number of levels.

Next up is basically a three-part suite: "Evening (Time to Get Away)" by Lodge, complete with some orchestration; "The Sunset" by Pinder (the most ominous of the three) and Thomas's classic "Twilight Time". Of the three, "Twilight" is my favorite, with its driving piano, illuminating word pictures and fantastic vocal melodies, but "Evening" is certainly a great song as well, and "The Sunset", while probably my least favorite of the three, is still an enjoyable if slightly offbeat excursion (Thomas provides some nice flute work here as well - even better live).

Finally, comes The Song - "Nights in White Satin". This is probably the band's most enduring hit (though there have been plenty of other great chart-hitters along the way). The flute solo (probably somewhat unusual at the time), the eerie vocal stylings and the sheer vulnerability of the narrative make it an all-time classic people seem to never tire of hearing. And it is an awesome song, on an album with not a single weak track and several one would consider great to outstanding.

Does it seem a bit primitive in the wake of such bands as The Flower Kings, Gentle Giant or Van Der Graaf Generator? Probably. But every musical movement has a starting point, and it could easily be argued that progressive rock started here, along (perhaps) with "Sgt. Pepper" by The Beatles. Taken on its own, this is certainly a worthy album. With its legacy in mind, it's simply a classic. Don't hesitate to add this to your collection. Five stars.

Mr. Gone | 5/5 |

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