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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.11 | 1154 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Some albums just rub you the wrong way. Tubular Bells is one of those with me.

Do you wonder what would happen if you had the band room to yourself in middle school? I think this is what happened with Mike Oldfield. Hey, listen to the cool sound I can make with this wood block! Listen to this to this little tune I just came up with! Isn't that great?! How about this sound---it's called a tubular bell! Neat!

(The irony for me is that Richard Branson encouraged this and somehow made the resulting album a cult classic. I attribute this more to marketing than musical quality.)

Imaging sampling these bits together into one "song" and calling it an album. That's honestly what Tubular Bells sounds like to me.

Of course, I'm over-simplifying. Oldfield could play decent guitar, and he was young, which meant there was plenty of potential to make meaningful contributions, which I think he has to progressive rock. However, that doesn't turn his early cutting room floor droppings into great music, even if there were indeed some diamonds in the rough in those cuttings.

The notoriety of this album brings home 2 major points for me: 1.) marketing works: an attractive young man with the novelty of playing numerous instruments can sell; and 2.) there is a larger market for prog, but most people just don't get exposed to the best stuff in the right context.

I'm not trying to tear this album apart, because it sparked some good things to happen after. I should also note that I'm not a fan of ambient music, so that could bias my rating. That said, this is one of very few prog albums that I simply would not buy again if I could do it over.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |


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