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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.11 | 1153 ratings

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3 stars Tubular Bells was an amazing debut work for the great Mike Oldfield. It was the unexpected rookie home run that allowed this young man the chance to continue on with an amazing degree of artistic freedom. But it is not his best work and it's ironic that there are many people for whom this was the only Oldfield album they ever heard. It is historically important yes, and so long as that is noted it is not revisionist to point out that it is far from Mike's best.

I am right there with Sean Trane and James Lee that this is an overrated work that may be overflowing with musical ideas, but just having ideas and executing in a satisfying manner are two different things. So much of this album is full of little ideas, bits and pieces of things that are never entirely fleshed out. There are some very nice little melodies that appear from nowhere but they languish. And then you have the unfortunate and cheesy instrumental introductions and the caveman vocal to deal with, the kinds of things that may be fun once or twice but don't exactly enthrall listeners by their 50th spin. Oldfield would quickly learn that developing good melodic flow over the chaos of the TB approach would lead to more mature compositions. I really enjoy every album from Hergest Ridge through QE2 much more than I ever have Tubular Bells. All of them are more musically satisfying. These days I'll even take TB2 and TB3 over this one because they are much more fleshed out thematically as opposed to tinkering ad infinitum.

This won't be a popular opinion to those who see this album on the same level as Dark Side Of The Moon (or above it), but there are a few of us who believe Mike was still junior-varsity on this debut. Promising to be sure, but not there yet. 2 3/4 stars.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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