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DISCOVERY

Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog


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Mike Oldfield Discovery album cover
2.75 | 156 ratings | 20 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. To France (4:50)
2. Poison arrows (3:45)
3. Crystal gazing (3:02)
4. Tricks of the light (3:52)
5. Discovery (4:32)
6. Talk about your life (4:24)
7. Saved by a bell (4:36)
8. The lake (12:08)

Total Time: 41:09

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Oldfield / guitars, basses, drums, percussion, keyboards, synths, vocals
+ Barry Palmer / vocals (2-4-5-7)
- Simon Phillips / drums
- Maggie Reilly / vocals (1-3-6)

Releases information

Lp. Virgin V 2308 / Cd. Virgin CDV 2308

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Hip-O Records 2012
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MIKE OLDFIELD Discovery ratings distribution


2.75
(156 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
6%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (40%)
40%
Collectors/fans only (24%)
24%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

MIKE OLDFIELD Discovery reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record contains 8 songs, and 7 have a "pop synth rock" style with male and female lead singers. Well, those pop songs are unequal; I prefer the ones where the singer is a female: Maggie Reilly: her beautiful crystal clear voice can be heard at least in 3 songs: "To France", "Talk about your life" and "Crystal gazing". She has a perfect voice! But, on the other side, there is the ex-Triumvirat singer Barry Palmer, who makes a real fool of him in "Saved by a bell". I prefer short songs with the guest males lead singers on "Earth moving". Fortunately, there is the wonderful "The Lake", a 12 minutes instrumental progressive/New Age piece where limpid keyboards and guitars work together. We are still far from the Amarok performance!

Rating: 3.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#28395) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 12, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is Oldfield entering his first major low era. Yes there are some interesting songs with perfect vocals like ' To France', ' Crystal Gazing' and the overrated instrumental ' The Lake' but anyone considering listening to Oldfield for the first time should be aware this album is very definitely for collectors only.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#28392) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2004

Review by Fishy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Not a masterpiece by any means but I do find "Discovery" underrated 'cause of some pure magical moments. Three quarters of this album are conventional pop/folk songs but there's one great instrumental track entitled "The Lake". One of the best instrumentals the man's ever done in his entire career with lots of stunning melodies and great moods. Listening to this marvellous track with many mood swings and rhythm breaks you wonder why he didn't include more of this kind of brilliant stuff on this album. The highly symphonic melodies are the bridge between the very different excerpts of classical themes to reflective quiet moments to powerful rhythms of rock and folk. Like he use to, Oldfield added some great female voices singing diabolic melodies on the background. Every now and then there's some keyboard motives which refers to the exorcist excerpt of "Tubular bells". Just like on that album a lot of instruments can be found on "The Lake": bells, flutes, keyboards and a range of different types of electric and acoustic guitars. Simon Phillips handles the drums and he seems in top shape by adding some essential dynamics with percussion which found its roots in fusion. This piece de résistance alone makes it worthwhile for getting to know this album if you haven't discovered it already. Oldfield did longer tracks than this on other eighties albums but "The Lake" is the most enjoyable of the era, only Crises comes close to the beauty of this track.

For a hit single, "To France" holds the perfect mood for a romantic love story without slickness. I love this song with it's Kate Bush like melodies and folkish melody motifs. To the end of the track the delicate arrangements change into a wall of sound made of sharp acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and atmospheric keys. At the end of "To France" the dreamy sequence turns sinister as the intro of the mysterious "Poison arrow" starts to interfere. Again the folk rhythm section is heavy felt like on all the tracks. Again, take note of the excitable percussion sounds Simon Phillips provided this track from. All sorts of guitars are creating the atmosphere of paranoia quite effective even though the sinister keyboard line is helping a lot. The howling wolves are doing the rest of the job to get the listener shivers down the spine.

Other tracks on this album are barely excitable from a progressive point of view. These are decent pop tracks but nothing more. Still there's some progressive flavours like the symphonic sounding chorus of "Saved by the bell" or the exploding guitar work on the title track. Oldfield even seems to manage to use some instrumental themes of "To France" a second time for "Talk about your life". Here the vocals illustrate a typical male female argument in the emotional lyrics. Not a bad pop song.

This album deserves a three star rating for the good part. It could be described as a transitional album which has some inspiring traces of the best work of the previous decade and some worse pop influences from the disappointing albums to come.

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Send comments to Fishy (BETA) | Report this review (#36786) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I know that this is not Oldfield's best album and even some people don't treat this one as his album as it does not represent his main musical style. But, I really enjoy this album for a very simple reason: it's relaxing and accessible. Well, as prog fans we need some "change" to a lighter music, I guess. And this album serves that purpose really well. From the opening track "To France" with great vocal by Maggie Reilly to my favorite (and chief reason to purchase this CD) "Poison Arrows". It's not prog at all, but I really enjoy this track because the combination of music and Barry Palmer's vocal work is truly stunning! "Discovery" and "Saved By The Bell" are also another excellent track that I enjoy most. Keep on proggin'..!

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Posted Friday, July 29, 2005

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is a good Oldfield´s album, but maybe one of his 80´s weakest efforths...

Here we can see another time the 80´s typical album distribution by Oldfield: a few vocal songs (in this album there are more than the habitual...) and a long instrumental (but shorter than the habitual too...).

The vocal songs aren´s very good in general... But here is To France!!! This is a very well known tune, with a lot of medieval feeling, and a wonderful lyrics inspired in Maria Estuardo, queen of France. Wonderful song!!! Another good song here is Tricks of The Light, with a fine duet by Maggie Reilly and Barry Palmer. Another fine songs are Poison Arrows and Saved by a Bell. The rest vocal songs are a little execrable in my opinion... Maybe Cristal Gazing it not too bad...

But what makes this album a worthy experience? Of course...THE LAKE!!! This is just an awesome piece of music. It´s a really great song. One of the best Oldfield´s instrumentals. It´s epic, delicate and experimental at the same time! The only matter for me with this song it´s that it´s too short!!! With a longer duration, I were maybe talking of the best Oldfield´s instrumental... But anyway... A MUST SONG FOR EVERYONE!!!

Ending: a good album, with forgettable moments, but with two really impressive songs: To France and the wonderful The Lake!!! Nevertheless, this is an album plenty enjoyable by Oldfield´s fans...

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#52111) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 17, 2005

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars The 1980s definitely were not the decade of the classic prog giants of the 1970s. This is one of the weakest albums of Oldfield that I heard and apart from the nice and melodic Maggie Reilly-sung smash hit "To France", there is nothing on this album worth mentioning. Highly negligable work unless you are a die-hard fan of Oldfield.

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Posted Monday, October 17, 2005

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Worth discovering

Ironically, "Discovery" is probably Mike Oldfield's most vocal album. I say ironically, as he plays absolutely everything on the album except for the drums. The vocals are shared by Triumvirat singer Barry Palmer and the wonderfully talented Maggie Reilly. Palmer was at the time reportedly suffering from an infection which affected his voice, although it is not that apparent on the final recordings. The tracks tend to more or less alternate the vocalists, making for a pleasant series of contrasts.

According to the sleeve notes, the album was recorded "2000 metres up in the Swiss Alps", Oldfield being a tax exile in Switzerland at the time.

The opening "To France", inspired by the plight of Mary Queen of Scots (who was executed at Fotheringay Castle), is one of the best but most commercial pieces Oldfield has come up with. Reilly is at the top of her form vocally, while Mike adds some excellent lead guitar soloing. "Poison arrows" and "Crystal gazing" are rather more anonymous, the latter sounding like something Oldfield's sister Sally might have included on one of her albums.

"Trick of the light" is similar to "Guilty" from five years previously, very pop orientated, but undistinguished. Palmer's throat problems may have been at their worst for the title track, but it results in him doing a fine impersonation of Graham Bonnett (Rainbow), with some fine warbling.

Reilly returns with another stunning performance in "Talk about your life". For anyone who finds he singing as compulsive as I do, I cannot recommend her album "Echoes" enough. Strangely, Mike uses the same guitar theme here as he did on "To France". Palmer makes a credible effort not to be totally upstaged by Reilly on the following "Saved by a bell", a song which sounds like an outtake from Rick Wakeman's excellent "No earthly connection" album.

The only instrumental track on the album is the closing 12 minute piece "The lake". Oldfield's guitar work is the main feature here, the music being mostly relaxed with plenty of repetition. It may not match the lofty (Alpine?) heights of "Tubular Bells" etc., but it is a fine track.

In all, this is a decent album from Mike. It has a particularly strong second side, the first being slightly marred by a couple of only adequate numbers. Despite his instrumental dominance, Oldfield stays largely in the background with the vocalists occupying front and centre stage on all but the final track.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#94680) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 16, 2006

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
3 stars Albums from my teenage days (the 80's) - pt. 1

The 80's is remembered as a decade when popular music became more commercial, this great 'levelling' concerning the most of the long-time artists as clearly as the majority of new artists. Discovery was Oldfield's most vocal-oriented and mainstream pop album to date. It was also the last one featuring Maggie Reilly if I'm right. The (still awfully overplayed) hit 'Moonlight Shadow' from Crises had a great but nowadays too forgotten (= luckily NOT overplayed) successor in the perfectly produced 'To France' with its historic theme; it floats very nicely. The second track introduces the other vocalist, Barry Palmer, whose voice is not very far from Mike's own rarely used vocals. His songs represent the harder rocking side of this album except the soft 'Saved by a Bell'. Maggie's 'Tricks of the Light' with Barry's backing is an upbeat, synth-pop kind of a song. Other Reilly songs are 'Crystal Gazing', which I always thought to be very irritating and monotonous, and 'Talk About Your Life', quite an ordinary but pleasant melodic pop song.

These kind of tight pop songs alone on an Oldfield album would have been like an insult to his fans, but the best is saved to the end: a 12-minute instrumental 'The Lake', which continues the synth-centred crisp style of 'Crises'. Mike tried and succeeded to capture the spirit of his home lake of the time (or I don't know if he still lives in Switzerland?), Lake Geneva. The album hasn't been around me since the eighties, but I sorta miss 'The Lake' now; last time I heard it was on a film theatre, before the film, a long time ago.

Well, two or three stars? This is a pretty good 80's pop album after all, so let's make it three.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#134457) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The reaction from the progressive community (and OLDFIELD fandom) to this album was strongly negative. Following hard on the heels of the immensely successful 'Crises', with its worldwide hit 'Moonlight Shadow', this album definitely has 'follow-up' and even 'cash-in' written over it.

But I want to invite you to go just a little further into the music. On this album OLDFIELD repeats his traditional habit of reprising his main theme; this time, the theme featured on 'To France'. This lifts the album beyond a mere collection of unrelated pop songs. Aware of the critics sharpening their knives, OLDFIELD hired BARRY PALMER as well as MAGGIE REILLY to sing vocals in an attempt to add variety: by this stage REILLY was in danger of being over- exposed. The vocalists are woven expertly through the album, alternating until 'Tricks Of The Light' in which they both appear. None of the first four tracks are outstanding, instead merely competent rock, damning this album to the bargain bins. The title track is excellent, with welcome power around the main theme. 'Talk About Your Life' is a simple reworking of 'To France', a trick he uses again on 'Islands': the advantage is that on first listen it makes the album sound familiar, but it wears out its welcome far sooner than otherwise. I'd rather he hadn't made this so very obvious.

My focus here is almost entirely on the final twelve-minute track, the only part of the album that could be considered in any way progressive. 'The Lake' encapsulates MIKE OLDFIELD in this phase of his career: rhythm-dominated, with synths chosen in place of the multitracked guitars of his '70s output. The track opens tentatively, with woodwind-sounding synths (if you don't like eighties synths, don't bother with this!) augmented by the introduction of a pulsing bass, with the percussion arriving dramatically on an offbeat. The main theme appears again, heralding a simple rhythm backing a simple tune played by guitar and synth. A pause for breath, then a majestic theme appears twice, separated by OLDFIELD'S trademark liquid guitars. More pulsing bass heralds a magical guitar sequence underlain by complex rhythms. The first ten nine of the track, excellent in themselves, serves to set the stage for the finale, which is jaw-dropping in its beauty and simplicity. Impossibly heavy drums announce a layered synth theme of immense power and a melancholy beauty, repeated and then brought to a close, leaving the listener wanting more. One of the highlights of his career. It won't make a believer out of you, but it helped OLDFIELD believers keep the faith through this period of his career.

A two-star album becomes three stars because of 'The Lake'. As with all MIKE OLDFIELD'S output in the 1980s, avoid if you hate pop songs and/or the eighties sound.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#138379) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 15, 2007

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It`s been a very long time since I listened to this album for the last time (was it ten years ago?). In fact, I never bought it. But one of my brothers has it, and he played this album a lot. So, despite the passing of time, I still can remember some of the melodies for some of the songs of this album, which I consider a very melodic Pop Rock album from Mike Oldfield, released in 1984. It seems that he also became influenced by the changes that several Prog Rock bands and soloists did to their musical styles, playing more "light" songs. Among the light songs that I still can remember from this album are: "Trick of the Light", "To France", "Crystal gazing" and "Saved by a bell" . I didn`t remember that Barry Palmer sang some songs in this album ("Trick of the Light" and "Saved by a bell" , if I remember well). I think that he sang lead vocals in one album of the band Triumvirat (one song from that album titled "Old Loves Die Hard", was called "I Believe"; it is the only song from that album that I remember now because I listened to that album in 1981!). Maggie Reilly also sang other songs ("To France" and "Crystal gazing" from the songs I remember; I thought that the female lead singer was Sally Oldfield!).

I also still can remember that Mike Oldfield played some very interesting and strange sounds in some songs, and I think that these sounds are very original. He is a very good multi-instrumentist and composer.

In conclusion, this is another Pop Rock album recorded by a noted Prog Rock musician. Anyway, it is a good album.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#158372) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 11, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The start of the eighties didn't affect too much the quality of Mike's production till Discovery.

He didn't reach the climax of his first three excellent albums but during these difficult times for prog artists, he always managed to release decent albums so far (three stars on my scale). A more commercial aspect was felt in his previous work "Crises" and is more developed during "Discovery".

Loads of vocals as well on this work. But this time, no Anderson nor Chapman. The great Maggie Reilly is still present but to have chosen "Barry Palmer" for most of the sung tracks was not a great idea. And "Poison Arrows" is trying too much to recall "Moonlight Shadow".

Great moments aren't too many on "Discovery". "To France" probably. But it is seriously damaged with a poor song as "Crystal Gaze". The worse probably being "Tricks of the Light". A fully synthetic pop song; typical for the mid-eighties. This track is well in the mood of the era, of course but this doesn't prevent me to rate it as a poor number. These beats are really horrible. The type of "press next" song.

Mike was also willing to be fully on the command of this album and this is probably affecting the end result as well. Little input from the outside. And living in autarky for a solo artist is probably not the most brilliant idea.

This is the weakest Oldfield album so far IMHHO. Songs as "Discovery" (somewhat AOR- oriented) and the naïve "Talk about Your Life" shouldn't have been featured. The latter has a vaguely Far-Eastern mood; especially with these high pitched female vocals sounding as a twelve years old girl like in some Ars Nova songs. Not the best one here either.

Awful vocals during "Saved By The Bell" confirms that the choice of the vocalist was not very much inspired. Why the hell did Mike brought Barry Palmer on board is a mystery to me (I even wrote misery in my first draft). He was the singer on two albums from "Triumvirat" the German symphonic band ("Old Loves Die Hard" and "Pompeï"). Both from the mid seventies. He just confirms the weak impression I had while listening to these albums.

To save this work, I confess that the long instrumental piece "The Lake" is by far the best track one can find. It is a more normal Oldfield song : rich, varied, folky, inspired. It brings you almost ten years earlier and even if it can't compete with the grandeur of Ommadawn it is still an enjoyable song. One of the very few.

Two stars for this album (but only thanks to the closing piece).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#160362) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars Discovery sounds more like an Alan Parsons Project album than a Mike Oldfield album. This is especially apparent on songs like Poison Arrows, Tricks Of The Light and the title track. Typical of Alan Parsons Project albums is that there are different singers on different tracks; this is also the case with Discovery. The female sung Folk Pop of To France and Crystal Gazing remind me very much of Blackmore's Night.

Discovery is almost a pure Pop album with only very little of Mike Oldfield's musical identity. Only the instrumental 12 minute The Lake is in the typical Oldfield style we know from his earlier albums.

Mike had flirted with Pop music before on albums like Platinum, Five Miles Out and Crises. But on these albums the balance between Pop and more progressive material was about half of each. On Discovery the balance tilts heavily towards the Pop side of things. In one sense this is a good thing because it gives the album a sense of direction that the other mentioned albums lack. Crisis was a particularly schizophrenic album, with the excellent progressive title track filling up half the album while the other side contained some awful Disco Pop songs. Nothing on Discovery is as bad as the worst songs from Crisis, but also nothing reached up to the Crisis track.

As far as Pop albums go, this is not bad at all. But it is not very impressive either and I can only recommend this to Oldfield's fans and collectors.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#201748) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2009

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Perhaps inspired by how well Roger Chapman's rough and ready vocal style suited his contribution to the prior "Crises", Oldfield recruited former Triumvirat crooner Barry Palmer to share the billing with the everpresent Maggie Reilly on this 1984 release, while taking over almost all instrumental duties at the expense of the Mike Oldfield "band". The results are mixed, but there can be little argument that the turn towards 80s pop stylings is irreversible by this point.

"Discovery" sounds a lot like the Alan Parsons Project for most of its duration, particularly on Palmer's gothic "Poison Arrows" and the hard rocking title cut, reminiscent of early APP a la "Tell Tale Heart" or "Dr Tarr". A sprinkling of Abba can be sampled on the nonetheless impressive opener "To France", which somehow barely dented the UK sales charts. Reilly and Palmer even do a duet on the infectious "Tricks of the Light". "Talk About Your Life" reprises the "To France" theme only to expose its own failure to endure even more than an album side. But the real dud is "Saved by the Bell" which lyrically and musically finds MO stuck in reverse, perhaps the nadir of his career to that point. Palmer's screeching beseeching only amplifies this listener's irritation.

The album is partially redeemed by the multi-part instrumental "The Lake" which gets better and better over the course of its 12 minutes and shows that Oldfield could do an instrumental epic without having to pad it to 20 odd minutes. Sure the 80s synths are in copious rotation but it was the 80s, and, unlike much of that decade's keyboard extravaganzas, this one remains relatively tasteful and emotionally charged.

While this 1984 installment won't likely rank as your discovery of the year, it's worth a listen if you want an example of why Mike Oldfield might be classified as crossover prog. It hasn't aged well, but it's still undeniably Oldfield, with quality in spades, and that's some pedigree.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#208675) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars Discovery clearly suffers from trying too hard to repeat the formula that had led to commercial success of Crisis.

The album stars ok with too great pop songs, but the chorus Poison Arrow almost literally repeats some of the vocal melodies of Moonlight Shadow, an unforgivable thing to do. Also Crystal Gazing tries to hard to repeat the old magic. After that it gets really worse with the faceless pop-rock of Tricks of the Light and the Shadow on the Wall remake Discovery. It gets so bad that Talk About Your Life even clones the opening song of the album. Also Saved By The Bell and The Lake are very poor.

Despite the gorgeous To France, a 1 star could be justified here as this is Oldfield's worst album so far. It just happens that he sank even deeper on the next one.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#279113) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 23, 2010

Latest members reviews

1 stars I found this album on a pile of use vinyl a got for free. I'm glad i didn't pay for it because, there is nothing good here, except maybe the opener "To France". I listen to that album a couple of time and... Nope! It's definetly a very low effort by Mike Oldfield. How can a guy who did masterpie ... (read more)

Report this review (#80574) | Posted by Fido73 | Wednesday, June 07, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Or maybe just good. Got 4 stars because of instrumental track, which is a must hear. An underrated follower of Crises (underrated too) and Five Miles Out (of course underrated). These three albums form some kind of trilogy, not of some story but rather of common feel, sound and overall impres ... (read more)

Report this review (#78283) | Posted by Zavgorodny | Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars A great big sigh for this album. Up until this point, despite that Virgin tried to commandeer some of Mike's music (covers on QE2, "Sally", side two of Crises, etc.), he continued to put out 4 and 5 star albums. This is where it all went wrong. Discovery is just not a good album. The first seven ... (read more)

Report this review (#77774) | Posted by dagrush | Wednesday, May 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I simply love this album and i think the point is not to compare with Tubular Bells or Ommadawn, for example. The eighties was a very special decade, i know. And it was not easy for the artists to create something that could be once intelligent and not very complex. The songs of this album are g ... (read more)

Report this review (#77700) | Posted by incubus | Tuesday, May 09, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm not a fan of Mike Oldfield but I really enjoy some of his albums (Tubular Bells, Amarok, Crisis, Incantations...). In fact I really want to erase of my mind most of the the 80's-90's-90's Oldfield albums. But "Discovery" is one piece in a million: delicated, well composed, no-pretencious, ... (read more)

Report this review (#77679) | Posted by progadicto | Tuesday, May 09, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album may not be a major landmark in Oldfield's discography, but it's far from poor. There's a sense of narrative linking the vocal tracks, which adds to this album's strength. Taken alone, the songs are strong, but connected together, they form an excellent album. This album's vocal tracks ... (read more)

Report this review (#28393) | Posted by | Sunday, September 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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