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THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE

The Moody Blues

Crossover Prog


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The Moody Blues The Other Side Of Life album cover
2.24 | 103 ratings | 11 reviews | 6% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Your Wildest Dreams (4:50)
2. Talkin' Talkin' (3:55)
3. Rock & Roll Over You (4:50)
4. I Just Don't Care (3:25)
5. Running Out Of Love (4:25)
6. The Other Side Of Life (6:50)
7. The Spirit (4:14)
8. Slings And Arrows (4:29)
9. It May Be A Fire (4:56)

Total time 41:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Justin Hayward / guitars, keyboards, drum sequencing, vocals
- Patrick Moraz / keyboards, synths, arrangements
- Ray Thomas / harmonicas, percussion, vocals
- John Lodge / bass, guitar, keyboards, drum sequencing, vocals
- Graeme Edge / drums, percussion, vocals

With:
- Barry Radman / additional programming & sampling

Releases information

Artwork: Karl Lloyd with Alwyn Clayden (art direction)

LP Polydor ‎- 829 179-1 Y-1 (1986, US)

CD Polydor ‎- 829 179-2 (1986, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE MOODY BLUES The Other Side Of Life ratings distribution


2.24
(103 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
6%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(9%)
9%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (38%)
38%
Poor. Only for completionists (15%)
15%

THE MOODY BLUES The Other Side Of Life reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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, are 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.

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
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.

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

peace

Review by patrickq
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars It's true that The Other Side of Life is synth-pop. And it's true that The Other Side of Life is weaker than many Moodies albums. But to me the problem isn't its synth-poppiness - - it's the lack of diversity in the songwriting department. Eight of the nine songs were written by guitarist Justin Hayward, bassist John Lodge, or both. On their best albums, this ratio was much lower: Long Distance Voyager (1981), six of ten, and Days of Future Passed (1967), four of eleven. To be fair, nearly all of the Moody Blues' best songs were written by some combination of Hayward and Lodge. But I suspect that pop and rock songs often begin as pieces which are eventually fit together. Distributing the best musical segments across eight songs, as opposed to four, must impact the quality of the songs.

There are three solid songs here: the Lodge-Hayward collaboration 'Running Out of Love' and the album's two singles, 'Your Wildest Dreams' and 'The Other Side of Life,' both written and sung by Hayward. A #9 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, 'Your Wildest Dreams' was just the third (and final) US top ten song for the group after 'Go Now,' #10 in 1964 and 'Nights in White Satin,' #2 in 1972. The song's music video was also named the 'best overall video' of 1986 at Billboard's annual music video awards, quite a feat considering that Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer' was released the same year. Poignant and wistful, 'Your Wildest Dreams' is a rare 1980s pop song insofar as it had an apt and successful sequel ('I Know You're Out There Somewhere,' 1988).

The title song is a bit darker, though like all Moody Blues songs, it's about as edgy as a rubber butter knife. It's catchy enough, but at nearly seven minutes, it's way too long. While 'Your Wildest Dreams' is synth-heavy, with a stiff, digital bassline, 'The Other Side of Life' is even more programmed; the only thing that stops it from being robotic is its relatively low tempo.

While some aspects of the bouncy 'Running Out of Love' hearken back to the band's early days, it's an early eighties Moody Blues song if I've ever heard one, along the lines of 'Gemini Dream' or 'Sitting at the Wheel.' As such, it's not as synth-poppy as some of the other tunes on the album, like Lodge's equally animated 'Rock 'n' Roll Over You.'

The only song written by neither Lodge nor Hayward is 'The Spirit,' a halfway-decent number composed by drummer Graeme Edge and keyboardist Patrick Moraz, the latter of whom was summarily jettisoned in 1991 after complaining that his only contribution to four and a half albums was 'half a song (written) with the drummer.' Although the style of Moraz's solo compositions might not obviously suit the Moodies' 1980s music, he was certainly a prolific composer, as had been Edge, Mike Pinder (whom Moraz replaced) and Ray Thomas, whose practically nonexistent contributions to The Other Side of Life may have been limited by health issues.

Anyway, the remaining songs - - 'Talkin' Talkin',' 'I Just Don't Care,' 'Slings and Arrows,' and 'It May Be a Fire' - - are relatively weak, strengthening my perception that ideally, Hayward and Lodge would only be relied upon for half of an album.

Fans of 1980s pop-rock will appreciate much of The Other Side of Life, and of course it's an essential part of any Moody Blues collection. But to those curious about this era of the band, I'd suggest starting with Long Distance Voyager.

Latest members reviews

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" ... (read more)

Report this review (#1114999) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, January 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#811772) | Posted by Moses455 | Tuesday, August 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 t ... (read more)

Report this review (#359362) | Posted by Brendan | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#60071) | Posted by | Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#52243) | Posted by | Tuesday, October 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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