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The Moody Blues - The Other Side Of Life CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues

Crossover Prog

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Rocking all over the world?

A rather lightweight and generally uninspired outing for the Moody Blues, partially saved by a couple of good tracks. The opening tracks on each side of the album, "Your wildest dreams" and the title track, as easily the best on offer here.

"Your wildest dreams" is a typical MB opener, an up tempo number with classy harmonies and an infectious melody. "The other side of life" is a bit slower, but also more powerful, with the feel of a slowed down Status Quo number. It has over the years become a live favourite, where the Status Quo similarities are even more apparent. Most of the remaining tracks are fairly run of the mill harmonic pop rock tracks, with even the couple of ballads being sub-standard by the band's standards.

Patrick Moraz is slightly more noticeable at times than on other albums, he even co-wrote the pop rock track "The spirit" with Graeme Edge. Ray Thomas on the other hand appears to have spent the recording sessions in a different room.

If you enjoy the music of the Moodies, this album is worth catching up on for the tracks which open each side, but don't expect too much from the others.

Report this review (#15760)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Agree with the reviewer who says there are only 2 good tracks here: 'Your wildest dreams', and 'The Other side of Life'. Felt somewhat 'ripped off'/disappointed overall, and don't think I bought any of their later releases after this, which became increasingly bland.
Report this review (#52243)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars It happened to Genesis in 1978, and it happened to the Moodies here. The prog rock sound is replaced by a pop sound and the band becomes commercial. It doesn't make the music bad, just lesser. Ray Thomas did little to nothing here, which may disappoint fans of the veteran cosmic rocker. Also, there is less seen of poet Graeme Edge, which further drifts from premises of the Moody Blues I always enjoyed of the Core 7 (DOFP through Seventh Sojourn): 1.Everyone was a lead singer; Moraz broke that. 2.There were upbeat and trippy songs per album ("The Balance" still gives me shivers) If you want a newer Moody Blues album, you might rather want "Strange Times" or their Christmas album. But who am I to tell you what you like? I don't know you. I'm just a teenage prog rocker.
Report this review (#60071)
Posted Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars "The Other Side of Life" could easily be named "The Other Side of Moody Blues" since they definitively jumped into pop. One may say that MB are poppish since the 70s with some eventual and sparse progressive flashes but we have to admit that many of these flashes were outstanding.

TOSoL has some good songs: the soft and MTV friendly 'Your wildest dream', the mellow 'I just don't care', the animated 'Rock & roll over you'; other tracks are hearable too. But when talking about progressive, nothing is heard.

Moody Blues is a band that I appreciate too much and I tend to acquiesce with their works but this one is only a piece for collectors/fans. Total: 2.

Report this review (#63206)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Difficult to imagine that the Moodies would grant us with a great album at this time of their career. And don't worry, there is nothing as such here. Not even the syrupy opener "Your Wildest Dreams" (certainly not mine.).

Sub-par ELO (the one of the eighties) with "Talkin' Talkin"(but not only), awful pop-disco beat all the way through. It seems that we are going to get embarked for quite a ride! Gosh.And their attempt for a rock (?) is totally ruined. "Rock 'N' Roll Over You" is a poor electro pop tune, even if Moraz is effective and more on the forefront than usual (but it is not difficult).

The ballad "I Don't Care" pretty much illustrates my feeling about it. Press nextT. Some sort of Bee Gees stuff. Help! But the whole album is really unbearable. While they write "Running Out Of Love" I have more the tendency to say out of ideas. Completely. To confirm, just listen to "Slings And Arrows"

I have never been a deep fan from the band, but they have invented a style, produced several good albums and wrote some memorable songs. But apart from the title track, this album is another major disappointment even if "It May Be A Fire" is a pleasant melody and a second good track (although on the mellowish side).

I'm a melancholy man.

Report this review (#166403)
Posted Friday, April 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars "The Other Side of Life" provided the Moody Blues with a huge commercial boost and allowed them to continue releasing progressively less interesting material over the next decade, until even the new-found pop fans had quietly slid away. Suddenly the group has turned into a singles machine, with a few standout tracks and not much else of worth.

The two standouts are "Your Wildest Dreams" and "The Other Side of Life". The first is a direct descendant of "The Voice" from "Long Distance Voyager", while the title cut is simply the best thing they've done since the glory years, a blues inspired and deliberately slow paced, almost plodding, yet strangely swinging, number in which repetition of motifs only serves to enhance the effect. Hayward sings with dignity and plays a short but blazing lead solo. The most impressive aspect is that it really doesn't sound like anything they have done before to these ears.

As mentioned, most of the rest is throwaway, although "Rock and Roll Over You" adapts the Lodge rocker to the late 1980s synth pop with reasonable success, and the closer is a brilliant Lodge melody, "It may be a Fire", which sits comfortably along with the band's classic ballads.

I would rather have an album with 3 excellent songs and one good song, even if the rest is drivel, than one with 9 decent songs. This means I come down on the other side of 2.5 stars.

Report this review (#192240)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars You probably already know that this is a typical product of eighties pop. So the question I should be answering is 'are there any surprises?' Well, yes and no. Okay, that doesn't really answer any questions. 'In your wildest dreams' is a really melodic song. The country-ish 'slings and arrows' and the tender ballad 'I just don't care' are strong, some of the rest of the material is pretty predictable. Kind of reminds you of ZZ Top's Afterburner album, or many other albums from the time, in fact. You get a swathe of uptempo 80's pop songs like 'rock and roll over you' which are kind of enjoyable but shallow, and feel like recreations of other well known hits of the time. Then there are a couple of token progressive numbers, the title track and 'The Spirit', the latter is co-written by Patrick Moraz, his only song-writing credit for the band. These two songs are actually quite good, I especially like the title track. The album is finished with a lifeless ballad, 'it may be a fire', but this album contains plenty of heartfelt emotion, which the band do so well, and some nice melodies. Also, they are great singers and the album is enjoyable, though a few tracks are not that good.
Report this review (#359362)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
1 stars This was sort of a 20th anniversary album for the Moody Blues who had actually been around for almost twenty-two years by the time 'The Other Side of Life' released but who's counting really? Other than the album, cover which bears a resemblance to the 'Caught Live+5' cover and Justin Hayward's distinctive voice, there's very little here that sounds like either the first (pre-Hayward) Moodies album or pretty much anything pre-'Long Distance Voyager'. In fact, I kind of wonder if Graeme Edge and even Patrick Moraz got a little bored in the studio considering the amount of programming that went into this release, including drums, weird digital sounds and even some sampling tracks. True, the days of mellotron and orchestras were long gone but seriously, the extent of programmed music on this album was shocking the first time I heard it despite the fact that virtually everything released in 1986 was programmed, digitally enhanced or otherwise fake.

Not that this seemed to put anyone off, given the album went platinum throughout North America and gave the band two of their biggest hit singles ever with "Your Wildest Dreams" and the title track. Go figure. And really most of the songwriting here isn't too bad despite the complete absence of Ray Thomas along with his flute, harmonica, tambourine and sixties folk pastiche that was way too dated for what Tony Visconti (formerly known as a good producer) was trying to turn the group into. Thomas doesn't get a chance to crank out anything like the chick-flick soundtrack tear-jerkers he penned for so many of the good Moodies albums, and other than a brief credit for backing vocals (can't hear them but the liner notes don't lie) he is nothing more than a phantom memory on this record.

Anyway, back to the songs. They're not bad, at least not the songwriting and even the arrangements are decent. "Rock 'n' Roll Over You" is a piece of crap of course, as were every song written after 1964 with the phrase "Rock 'n' Roll" in the title except Zeppelin's "Rock 'n Roll" and Rockpile's "I Knew the Girl (When She Used to Rock n' Roll)". And "The Spirit" sounds like a Mentos commercial, but that has nothing to do with the songwriting.

The problem here of course is that there is nothing left that made the Moodies what they were other than Hayward's voice and John Lodge's songwriting, and that just isn't enough. Besides Thomas' complete absence and Graeme Edge's synthetic replacement, these songs are also missing anything resembling orchestral arrangements, and even where the synthetic ones pop up they sound like spiced sound effects (which is what they are) rather than tasteful accompaniment. Also missing are the rich, analog keyboard sounds and fat, inefficient and totally wonderful mellotron/Chamberlin sounds, which of course had been gone for quite a while but given everything else stripped away are even more noticeable.

Every time I hear this late eighties dress-on-a-pig prog-rock schlock I just can't help visualize Don Johnson in his Miami Vice pastel-pants-and-deck-shoes-with-no-socks 80s getup. Seriously, how did people fall for that crap? The guy was forty years old before that stupid show went off the air, and he was still being portrayed as some sort of contemporary hipster (sorry, that's really dated but I can't think of a better word than "hipster"). Same goes for these guys, and for ELO and Jethro Tull and Alan Parsons and Roxy Music and Asia and a pile of others I can't think of right now. Yes, "Your Wildest Dreams" was a catchy tune. And several songs here would sound decent if they had some tasteful orchestral accompaniment, maybe a little flute, actual percussion and a couple of old prog codgers singing backing. But it doesn't have any of those things, so in the end six and a half good songs got wasted. So sad, but can't be fixed now.

Bah, this thing is crap. Don't buy it. One star. The next one was a little better; not much, but a little. Check that one out instead.


Report this review (#590178)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Indeed this is a very disappointing album by the Moody Blues standards. I found 'The Present' a brilliant and mellow album. This album is too uptempo, too pop, no creativity and no Ray Thomas. Hence, only 9 tracks. Not having Ray is noticeable, in the juvenile whimsy essential element he brings and his organic flute playing. Also, that baritone voice is missing. It is not all a failure, there are four nice tracks. 'Your wildest dreams' is a sumptuous melodic Justin Hayward tune, and 'The other side of life' is a slower, but very slightly progressive number. The synths are slightly more subtle here than on many other tracks that are ruined by Moraz's indulgences. The other two tracks I like, that don't seem to be so popular here, are 'I just don't care', which I think is a beautiful melodic soft ballad - this is the sort of track Justin excells in, in his sleep. Love this song. Also, 'it may be a fire' is a nice song and has a lovely instrumental break, where the electric guitars and synths work in melodic harmony. Rest of the tracks are forgettable. But 'rock and roll over you' is total garbage. One of the worst tracks in their whole repertoire.
Report this review (#811772)
Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars I follow the line of records made by The Moody Blues and between 1967 and 1983 I have liked what I have heard. But on this twelfth album my opinion about them has changed, or the music has changed.

Three years had gone since "The Present" and now 1986 they released "The Other Side of Life", a record with the same line up than before but with a certainty less interesting sound. As before Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge and Patrick Moraz was there but to be honest I have hard to hear many of them. You could get a hint of the music's direction just by looking at the cover; it isn't fascinating and artistic as the band's former covers.

I am very sure this is the worst "The Moody Blues" album since "The Magnificent Moodies". On that album is wasn't either prog. These songs unfortunately seem to me like quite anonymous pop rock tunes from the eighties. I can't say I appreciate whether the compositions or the arrangements. The record sounds pale and uninspired and sometimes really bad. I would say a couple of songs are okey and worth listen to if you are interested in "The Moody Blues". The "common" prog listener should avoid the album. "The other side of life" also the title track is harmonic, varied and a fine and detailed composition with depth(6/10) and "The spirit" also has some form of spirit(5/10).

The other songs have got four stars of five by me. They sound cliché and like the band had lost their spirit. I am sad but my review of this is negative. Two stars and not recommended.

Report this review (#1114999)
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 | Review Permalink

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