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Electric Light Orchestra - Secret Messages CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

2.59 | 152 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Another attempt to produce a "symphony" ?

Sounds so with the intro of the title track (as usual since "El Dorado"). Only with the intro. After forty-five seconds, we are back again in the pop / disco / synth ELO repertoire. Lots of poor stuff here. The worse is being reached with "Time After Time". It is a real pity. At least the ones who bought the vinyl album have escaped this track, but the lucky ones who purchased the CD version (not talking about the remastering one with three "bonus" tracks) had to suffer an additional four minutes of the poorest synth and uninspired music. Dreadful, really.

The first bearable track is "Four Little Diamonds". It is not a jewel of course, but at least it is a decent rock'n'roll song. A nice little rock break in an ocean of syrupous "music". "Stranger" is not too bad either : a nice melody like the master wrote an awful lot during all those years. The chorus is a bit childish, but compared to the other tracks, it is good to hear that Jeff's talent has not completely disappeared. I can also live with "Letter From Spain" which is a very smooth ballad.

"Rock & Roll Is King" is another bearable track. It is the closing number ... At least, when writing a rock'n'roll song, Jeff is still performant. He should have stuck more to this genre if the he couldn't find the inspiration for the fabulous melodies he used to write. At the very end of the song, the intro from the title shows up again (you know, like in "El Dorado"). But "El Dorado" was a masterpiece.

This album leaves me with the feeling of misery, really. Compleztely dull, almost all the way through. Gone the superb vocal harmonies, gone the wonderful melodies, gone the great string arrangements. What's left is just a boring record. An insult for this great songwriter that Jeff used to be.

At this point of time, I think it would have been wiser to call it quit for ELO, but they will still go on. Alas. This "record" will reach the fourth spot in the UK charts. Yes, number four, you are not dreaming. The best feature of this album is probably the cover artwork.

One star of course.

ZowieZiggy | 1/5 |


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