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Mike Oldfield - Platinum CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield

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Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Very brave, especially after Incantations. This guy was so confident he even put some charleston swing into it. Excellent spin on all genres at that time, Oldfield produced a masterpiece which I highly recommend to play as loud as possible. Why? Merely to justify it's cocky brilliance at kncking all that was stereotyped at the time. 1979 was a difficult year to stay with the game and Oldfield transgressed into realms that showed his level of genius with contined simplicity. I wish more periods were graced with these wonderful challenges. Platinum was and still is true platinum.
Report this review (#28352)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Crow
3 stars This album supposed the Mike Oldfield's rupture with the symphonic, traditional and epic style of his first four studio albums, and his entering in a more pop and electronic sound. It's a good album, but it's obvious that Mike was experimentating and trying to find a new way, but don't reaching all his objectives... This album has the classic 80's Oldfield format of a long instrumental song in a side, and another side full of little instrumentals and vocal songs.

The suite Platinum it's pretty good, with outstandig bass sections and with a great cover of the Phillip Glass's North Star. Woodhenge is an strange ambient experiment that I personally don't like very much. The song Into Wonderland sung by Wendy Roberts it's mediocre, but it has a great keyboard solo. Punkadiddle is a good celtic tune, being a parody of the punk phenomenom. And I Got Rythm is another fantastic sung cover of a George Wershwin classic.

A good album, with great parts and some mistakes, but easily enjoyable.

Report this review (#44071)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Yes, 2 (or 2,5) stars is unfair rating for a 70's Oldfield album. Platinum is in terms of composition an interesting and fresh phase in his career. In the same year the live double Exposed had tied up the previous works up to Incantations and here begins the formula of albums with a side-long track and shorter - more or less sung - pieces. Principally this could be closely 4 stars but I spot too many weaknesses.

'Platinum' is a wonderful composition that grabs you at once. It offers that famous Oldfield electric guitar style, it creates a colourful band sound - perhaps the most important guest musician being Pierre Moerlen on drums and vibes - and it flirts bravely with several musical styles from charleston to contemporary music of Philip Glass ('North Star'). But when you've got used to the superb (but shorter) live version on The Complete Mike Oldfield, this original sounds quite flat. Especially 'Charleston' with its sharp horns and discoish moments after that, and the finale gets pretentious with the fake choir. A pity really.

Side two begins with a magical, ambient 'Woodhenge'. (If Robert Holdstock's novel Mythago Wood was filmed, this music would fit there.) I think it's the best produced part of the album even if it bores most listeners. 'Into Wonderland' is nearly awful sweet song. It is naive but not in a charming way. Also the sound quality is strangely blurred, the lady singer's S's jump out horribly. I always wonder at first is it my speakers' fault. Maybe it doesn't happen in CD editions, but never mind: worthless song anyway. I don't say much of 'Punkadiddle': more like a musical joke than fine music to listen. It mostly annoys me. The album's final number is a lush interpretation of Gerhwin's 'I Got Rhythm'. Perhaps surprising from Oldfield but not bad at all. The singer again could be better: Maggie Reilly was yet to be found.

I rarely go into details this closely, but I hope you see now why such a low rate to such an adventurous and intriguing album.

Report this review (#46808)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The start of Oldfield's second period, "Platinum" was more commercial than previous Oldfield albums and featured shorter songs than before. The only long song here is the "Platinum" suite that starts the album. It's a excellent piece of music, though not as "serious" that earlier. Still the best track on the album. "Woodhenge" is a dark but beautiful, ambient-like piece and is the 2nd best track, IMO.

The rest of the album is rather poor. "Sally" (named "Into Wonderland" on this site) is the worst track on the album. It's a naive and rubbish piece that i usually skip over. "Punkadiddle" is a nice celtic parody of punk music, though not as great as the two first tracks. "I Got Rhythm" is another weak track that I really don't like much.

Overall: Get it if you are a Mike Oldfield fan, but if you are not familiar with him yet, get "Ommadawn" or "Tubular Bells" first. 3 stars - "Good, but non-essential".

Report this review (#53633)
Posted Thursday, October 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Into blunderland?

I cannot really get excited about this album, in fact some of the history behind it is more interesting than the music itself. Yes, the performance is as always exemplary, but with Oldfield at the time beginning to wear out the path he was repeatedly walking, the need for strong compositions was even greater than on preceding albums.

The feature track Is the four part "Platinum", which occupies the whole of side one of the LP. The piece has the usual variety of themes, but I found the links between them somewhat more jarring than usual. Oldfield appears at times to be on cruise control when playing guitar. As he descends into full Hank Marvin mode you can just about picture him smiling and winking at the camera as he plucks each note. There is some variation from the norm in the Chicago like brass, and a rather jazzy piano interlude leading up to the "Ommadawn" like ending, with non-lyrical vocals. Overall though, it is just a bit too dull and Oldfield by the numbers like.

Side two is an eclectic mix of mismatched songs. They range from the ambient, rather spacey "Woodhenge" to the crooning George Gershwin cover "I got rhythm". "Into wonderland" is a jaunty female vocal piece, with strong pop connections. "Punkadiddle" is Mike's reaction to punk rock, a genre he did not take to. Punk had of course had a major impact on the success of Oldfield's releases, not least because Virgin had been signing and promoting punk bands while putting less than 100% effort into marketing their original benefactor. The track itself is something of a simple lightweight collection of melodies, fun but entirely dispensable.

The history of the tracks "Sally" (a song about Oldfield's then girlfriend Sally Cooper who worked in the Virgin press office and played tubular bells on this album) and "Into wonderland" is somewhat confusing. If your version of the album has a track with the lyric "Sally, I'm just a gorilla, I'll say I'll love you ever more" you have the version of the album with the track "Sally", otherwise you have "Into wonderland". Indeed the lyrics were the main reason the confusion arose. Initial copies of the album were pressed with "Sally" included, but when Richard Branson (Head of Virgin records) heard the song, he insisted that it be removed from the album. Future pressings therefore had "Into wonderland" instead. The sleeve artwork was not changed though, leading many people to think that the song "Into wonderland" is called "Sally". Apparently, even Wendy Roberts, who provided the vocals for "Into wonderland", thought the song she had sung on was actually called "Sally"!

"Platinum" is certainly not a solo effort by any means. Oldfield brought in many accomplished musicians, including a number from the then current line up of Gong. Indeed this was the third Oldfield album Gong drummer Pierre Moerlen played on. Meanwhile, another drummer, Morris Pert, was making the first of his many contributions to Oldfield's work.

In all, a rather disappointing album which is pleasant but undemanding. The second side of the LP gives the impression that Oldfield is running short of inspiration, even reverting to a rare cover version to fill the time.

In the USA, the album was released under the title "Airborn" (Listed separately on this site) with the track "Woodhenge" replaced by the single track "Guilty".

Report this review (#71881)
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album marks a new direction of M.O's music, with less complexity than in his previous albums. It also featured a few songs with real lyrics, unlike his earlier albums. The Platinum suite (part 1-4) might be the best series of tracks ever recorded by M.O! Varying rhythms and melodic guitars that float together perfectly! Each has it's clearly defined character. Here is M.O. at his best - with a mix of complex arrangements and strong melodies. As well as on later albums it's the instrumentals on Platinum that are the strongest contributions to the album. The vocal tracks are short songs that appears as a bit "light-weight" in this context. About the vocal tracks (which could be described as soft folk) I have to say that they appear as less disturbing than the pop songs that would come on later albums. But they still pull down my review from five to four stars. However, the album is too good to ignore and is one of my favourites!
Report this review (#76283)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 Stars

Unfortunately, this album marked a change in what was to come in terms of Oldfields musical output. However, it also started the trend that compromised between apealing to the general audience as well as the Progheads. Bubble gum chewers will buy the record for side two, and Progheads vice versa! What a brilliant formula!

The peices of interest here would be the Platinum suite, and Punkadiddle.

There's a odd thing about much of the instrumental work from Mike of the 80's. It simply doesn't work nearly as well as it sounds live. There's too much compression, electronic sounds, and general veil to the music. It's also a little too perfectly played.

The Platinum suite is a gem, and a great listen. It's very upbeat most of the time, and there's some weird, if a bit corny moments like the vocalisations, and that dreadful trmpet sound. But the guitar playing is excellent.

Punkadiddle is a funny little tune which is picking on the new wave of punk rockers that took over half of the music of the late seventies. The live versions are great, excellent emotional soloing.

The other songs are what bring down the rating from four stars, though Woodhenge isn't too bad.

Start here, farmiliarize yourself with the album, then go to something like the Montruex 1981 DVD for increased enjoyment!

Report this review (#101553)
Posted Monday, December 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, i find it hard to say scores in stars becuse of the limited number so i will just say


this album has a rock felling in it but of course with mike's fantastic melody creativness. i think most fans appreciate this (and they should!) due to its creative parts 1 - 4 and the songs.

this is a very ingaging and definately non lingering album which i will hghly recommend.

some songs were dull (woodhenge, and the song after it) but thats about it, plus other people appreciate them but they will definately appreciate the parts and i got ryhthem.

punkadiddle is not bad either if you get into it.

Report this review (#126349)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Phase two of MIKE OLDFIELD'S career begins with a decent enough album - one that I loathed at the time, but one that has grown a little on me.

The twin enemies of prog rock, punk and disco, had arisen between 'Ommadawn' (#4 on the British charts) and 'Incantations' (#14). Like many late '70s progressive acts, OLDFIELD'S position in the industry was threatened by these musical trends, so much so that Virgin, his record company, favoured their new punk signings over him and other established acts.

Gone is the sober, weighty music of previous albums, painfully constructed using layers of sound from instruments OLDFIELD plays himself. The new approach, evidenced on this album, is to assemble talented musicians such as PIERRE MOERLEN and MORRIS PERT, and play a much less sophisticated, more accessible brand of music. It's still progressive, but does not soar like his first four albums. And no doubt that was the intention.

I'm certain that as well as reprising the instruments used on 'Incantations the year before, Part 1 of 'Platinum' actually makes fairly free use of one of 'Incantations' main themes. Those who would label MIKE OLDFIELD as a producer of New Age pap would, I imagine, have a hard time with the title track! Driving percussion guides us through Part 1 and 2, solid if unremarkable, to the surprising (and aptly named) 'Charleston', all EARTH, WIND AND FIRE horn honking in a parody of the true 1920s style. And here we encounter OLDFIELD'S bizarre humour: he's not above making aural fun, as we see at the end of part 2 and all through this piece. Sometimes he's successful, other times not; I'm not convinced by his whispered scat here. However, he brings the suite to a satisfying conclusion with a remake of PHILIP GLASS'S 'North Star'.

'Woodhenge' is a gentle ambient track, the sort of thing that begins side two of 'Tubular Bells' and 'Ommadawn'. While 'Into Wonderland' is forgettable, 'Punkadiddle' certainly isn't. Supposedly a send-up of punk, one has to wonder quite what OLDFIELD meant by it. An enjoyable enough romp, but since when did his fans buy his music for such average fare? His slaughter of GERSHWIN'S 'I Got Rhythm' makes me cringe every time I hear it. Was he being ironic, showing us that he most definitely does not 'got rhythm'?

By the way, it was a good decision to remove 'Sally' from the album and replace it with 'Into Wonderland'. Fun's fun and all that, but there needs to be a modicum of musical merit accompanying it, and 'Sally' doesn't have it.

Pleasant enough, then, but 'Platinum' is not a patch on what he's capable of. This is music he wrote on his day off. We'll have to wait a couple more albums before he's again able successfully to marry his guitar prowess, his search for his 'voice', his gift for melody and his hit and miss songwriting.

Report this review (#137944)
Posted Thursday, September 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is still a good album from Mike. But mostly thanks to side one of this work. Very much in the vein of his previous works (even if the beat got more electronic).

One can't really talk about a lack of inspiration nor weaker song writing. Of course, this album has adapted to the working environment. Popish, more electro-beat oriented : that's for sure.

But remember, "Platinum" was released in 1979. Most of the prog giants were fighting hard to get the boat on sail, so no wonder : Mike did try as hard as he could to produce an album that would sound fresh and modern. But this was a daunting task for such an artist.

His major problem was that he was a "solo" guy. And it is a hell more difficult to be as effective as in your previous works while you are the only one on board instead of being surrounded with your fellow band members. But so is the destiny of solo artist.

Still, three stars.

Report this review (#159888)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Platinum has the same structure as the Crisis album, with one long composition taking up the first half of the album and several shorter pieces filling the second half. As with Crisis, the long pice is the best. Platinum (divided into four parts) is hardly up to par with the great Crisis track however, and the short pieces here are at least as bad as the worst ones from the Crisis album.

Platinum parts 1 and 2 are very good. Great guitar and keyboard work. The ad-lib vocals at the end of Platinum 2, however, destroy it for me. Just plain silly! The jazzy part 3 is dominated by brass and is a bit less interesting. Here the ad-lib vocals are even more silly. Part 4 is more typical Oldfield; symphonic and dominated by choir.

Woodhenge is a bit of a New Age thing that I find utterly boring. Sally and I Got Rhythm are among the worst Oldfield compositions ever, just straighforward pop songs. Not my cup of tea. Punkadiddle is a bit of throwaway, with some audience sounds and a reprise of a theme from Ommadawn (I think).

One of Mike Oldfield's least good albums.

Report this review (#190238)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars After the overly long, experimental, and near clinical "Incantations", Mike Oldfield, ever the student of his own work, made some adjustments and a few bold steps. Not all were successful, but we can see where he is heading with this interesting work.

Side 1 is taken up with the nearly 20 minute title suite, which is one of his most compelling. Unlike all its predecessors, this one does not malinger in one area too long, and it is absolutely NOT new age! While divided on disk into 4 parts, they run into each other such that there can be no doubt of their connection, and the strict need to listen to all together. "Airborne" is powerful indeed, although future live versions would harness this potency to a greater degree. It is a showcase for Oldfield's lead guitars while offering plenty of chances for the keyboards to shine, as well as the drumming of Morris Pert and GONG's Pierre Moerlen. "Platinum" itself is part 2 and is built on an infectious Oldfield riff, with bass playing a key role as well. String synthesizers are used to good effect, and the doo-wop vocals are placed just so. How does this all work? Perhaps its contrast to earlier ambient work is so striking that it succeeds merely by default, but I think Oldfield was wise to keep his own melodic instincts in place and equally judicious in creating a rock ensemble feel for the first time in his "solo" career. The transition to "Charleston" is so abrupt yet so effortless. The horns yield to a superb keyboard theme that sounds left over from "Incantations", yet much more imposing and economical, and some fluttery acoustic guitar. The female and scat vocalizations blend with the chunky bass, and the segue to the "North Star" finale is simply brilliant in its continuity. This last 5 minutes is classic Oldfield, an adaptation of Philip Glass' work, but with a persistent beat that was very much of the time.

As great as the Platinum suite is, the second half of the album is mediocre. It gets extra chutzpah points for being Oldfield's first attempt at "conventional" song structures, and I use that term loosely. It's all interesting, but really a prehistoric version of what we would hear on QE2 but especially "Five Miles Out" and "Crises". None of it is bad, and "Punkadiddle" is a rather entertaining take on 3-chord street rock of the time while preserving MO's trademark quirkiness. But there are no keepers here.

So how to categorize this chameleon of an album? 3.5 stars rounded up because the suite is essential. With one foot in the past and another in his future, Mike Oldfield produced this present worth its weight in some precious metal or other.

Report this review (#205689)
Posted Saturday, March 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Decline begins

Yes, decline begins, but no, this is not compilation album instead of the name - Platinum. I think this name doesn't suits good for this album, except the first song Airborne - the best and the sole significant track on the album. The second song - Platinum, is first Mike Oldfield's commercial single and last reasonable on the album. After that it is followed by mediocre song after mediocre song. This album is the first touch of MO with pop, disco and so on. His attempts are fairly not the best examples of these genres. Except all these negative thoughts, there is worse - From this album on, most albums consist of very bad reconstructed old ideas of Mike. It means making money without fair labour! The biggest example of that is Punkadiddle. Airborne and Platinum doesn't help the album of passing the 2,5 stars verge!

Report this review (#247976)
Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Platinum won't go down as a highlight in Oldfield's discography. It lacks the artistic ambition of his previous sidelong tracks and consists of nothing but 5 minute folk diddles. There is an overwhelming sensation of déjŕ-entendu here, as if Oldfield has done each of these melodies somewhere before already.

The smooth commercial production doesn't help. Oldfield introduces rock drums on this album but they sound mellow and cheesy. Alan Parsons must have been the unfortunate example that Oldfield took the production inspiration from. Only Airborne and Woodhenge are an interesting listen. The tracks with vocals, Sally and I Got Rhythm are most disappointing of all. Straight Christmas carol pop junk.

Platinum is the first in a series of cumbersome Oldfield release that ultimately made me loose my interest in this artist entirely. File under writer's block.

Report this review (#278848)
Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was my second Mike Oldfield album. The first one was the Orchestral version of Tubular Bells. I was 13 or 14 years back then.

I was immediately blown away by the epic title-section Platinum. Great progrock with funky/catchy deliverance. I was also a great fan of the band Sky. And this record and the Sky-records have a lot in common.

I know, that a lot of people don't like the more pop/rock side of Mike Oldfield. Him being one of the first ambient/new age artists. But when you don't compare this to Hergest Ridge/Ommadawn/Bells than it's a great record.

It rocks, it funks, it has humor. Maybe this is the record of Mike that is closests to Canterbury Scene prog. The bassguitar and drums especially are Canterbury-style, aswell as the silly vocals.

The second side of the album is least favorite to me. I got Rhythm sounds stupid to me. Mike would eventually write better songs in the eighties (To France, Moonlight Shadow, etc.). Punkadiddle is a satire to punkrock music, and also sounds a little stupid to me.

But as said: the Platinum-suite is a great piece of music. As funky and funny as prog can possibly be.

Report this review (#1158562)
Posted Monday, April 7, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Side A Great. Side B...ughh

The title track, taking up side A of this album (Platinum) is great, while the side B - a mix of throw-away shorts and covers - is pretty poor. This album sees Mike Oldfield in his post-Exegesis period, when he changed from being painfully introverted and shy to out-going. Tom Newman, the engineer at the Manor who recorded Tubular Bells with Oldfield, said he thought Oldfield lost some of his musical inspiration once he got over his pain and shyness. While the first three albums (and Incantations too to an extent) are introverted musical journeys, this album is light as a feather. It was recorded at the commercial height of disco, and is clearly influenced by it. Platinum, the title track, is formally broken into four sections, but is a seamless 19-min instrumental piece of music. It is definitely of a light-hearted vibe - fun, playful - yet still classic Oldfield, with similar melodic structures, bass lines, etc. It seems like Oldfield was having a lot of fun writing and recording this one, playing off the disco thing and the jazzy side of commercial music. And it is quite musical. Up there with the best of Oldfield post-Incantations. Side B is another story. The only song I can listen to here is "Punkadiddle", although it is also quite light. The cover of "I got Rhythm" is so totally not Oldfield - the contrast with everything that came before it will shock. Oldfield's first colossal failure. I would recommend still getting the first side of this album - it is an essential addition to the Oldfield catalogue. But side B is better left alone. I give Side A 8 out of 10. But side B only garners 3.4 out of 10. Since an album rating has to take into account the entire album, I can only give this 6.0 on my 10-point scale (slightly weighted to the first side, because the first side is longer than the second side on the original vinyl).

Report this review (#1718278)
Posted Saturday, May 6, 2017 | Review Permalink

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