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Jeff Wayne - Highlights from The War of the Worlds CD (album) cover


Jeff Wayne

Crossover Prog

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Tristan Mulders
2 stars Jeff Wayne - Highlights from The War of the Worlds

I find this somewhat of an unnecessary release. All the album tracks have been cut up into radio friendly lengths; ...and that's exactly where the album loses its power (and credibility).

I always liked The War of the Worlds very much because of the fact that it was quite weird and abstract and not the least for Richard Burton's wonderful narration, both are lacking on this release. Instead of that you get something that sounds like a Best of The War of the Worlds box, whereas it's not best at all, it's totally ruining the concept of this work of art that is the full War of the Worlds.

I think this release was meant to attract listeners that normally wouldn't listen to tracks of epic lengths; big mistake I think!

Unless you are a big fan of Jeff Wayne, I recommend you to not get this album, for it's far from essential!

Report this review (#43228)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I had seen the double CD version of this album for a long time at our local CD store here and I never got any willingness to purchase it as I was affraid that it's a pop song. It's because of the review in this site that "clicked" me to consider buying this CD. But when I returned back to CD store I was confused as there was another version with one CD only which is this album now being reviewed. So I decided not to purchase and awaiting other comments. Luckily my prog mates Rizal has the single CD version and he gave me on a loan basis. Oh my God ... what a shocking experience when I listened to it the first time. Well, so sorry that this music - especially this edition because as colleague collaborator Tristan has put it that this is "have been cut up into radio friendly lengths; ...and that's exactly where the album loses its power (and credibility)" - is like a pop music with orchestra arrangement that reminds me to the music of John Tesh, Yanni, or James Last. I may be wrong but from track 1 until the end I don't find something that is really unique about this album. Well, I do agree that Richard Burton's narration is good but at the end the music seems boring to me. Thanks God I did not purchase the CD and with this version I don't even want to purchase the double version CD. I doubt that it will help. I'd rather listen to the Jesus Christ Superstar than this CD. My big apology for all fans of this album. I have to tell honestly that the music featured here is too straightforward, nothing special - let alone talking about progness of the music. There are bunch of albums with good orchestra. One big problem with this album is that the melody and composition seem like being forced to sound this way. That's my humble opinion. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#43233)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars They survived the Martians, but still ended up butchered

The title here is slightly misleading, as the tracks included are not simply extracts from the full album. Since the double LP version ran to just over 90 minutes or so, one might reasonably expect all but around 10 minutes of the original album to be squeezed onto a single compact disc, not so. This CD runs to a mere 56 minutes, about 8 of which are occupied by a couple of remixes (not included on the LP version). Thus we actually have less than 50 minutes of original music from the albums.

Most of the songs which appear on the full version are included here but in edited, no make that butchered, format. "Eve of the war" is abruptly abbreviated from 9 minutes to 4, while "Horsell common..", which has been slightly remixed, loses about 7 minutes. Most of Richard Burton's narratives, which did so much to give the album its continuity, are consigned to the not required bin.

Even the order of story is not respected, with "The fighting machine" appearing after the criminally edited "Forever Autumn" and thus between "Forever autumn" and "Thunderchild". Phil Lynott's wonderful performance on "The spirit of man" becomes a shadow of its 17 minute running time on the double album, while the closing "Epilogues" vanish altogether.

The music is of course excellent, and no amount of interference can completely remove the quality of the writing and the performances. One does however have to ponder on the logic behind a release such as this. Even if the objective was to cash in by issuing a single CD set to the budget market, this miserly offering completely fails in its objective.

The bonus remix of "The eve of the war" dates from 1989, Ben Liebrand bringing out the dance beat while distorting Richard Burton's narrative and developing the orchestration. As remixes go, this is pretty good. The 1996 reworking of "Forever autumn" on the other hand adds an inappropriate and superfluous disco beat to the song, resulting in what can only be described as a mess.

Report this review (#182644)
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | Review Permalink

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