Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Electric Light Orchestra - Time (1981)


Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by the 2001 remastered CD with bonus tracks.

By the time I became an ELO fan in 1979, they were moving past their prime. I think this LP was meant to be a concept album about time travel, but it doesn't quite hold up all the way through. At the time of this album's release, I was so distracted by the production and space age electronic whirrs and bleeps that I paid little attention to how bad some of the songs were. The strings that gave this group their distinctive sound (not to mention the group's name) are MIA here, replaced by synths. Jeff Lynne's previous songwriting was heavily influenced by the Beatles; here it is more like the Alan Parsons Project. I stayed with them through this release, but then I was done with them (although I was glad to see Lynne appear later as a Traveling Wilbury). Judging from their subsequent record sales, I wasn't alone in abandoning them. Still, like most bad '80s CDs, I enjoy listening to this occasionally for nostalgia's sake. Very occasionally.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #16 (Sept 19, 1981)
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #9

Tracks: The best tracks here are Twilight, The Way Life's Meant to Be, The Lights Go Down, and Hold On Tight (which recently appeared in a Honda Accord ad). Yours Truly 2095 is painful to listen to now (see below). Other clunkers include Another Heart Breaks, From The End Of The World, Here Is The News, and 21st Century Man. The 3 bonus tracks were all b-sides of 45s and, upon hearing them here, they were obviously b-sides for good reason.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: My sophomore year in high school, I was part of the company for the school's one act play. Somehow, the song Yours Truly 2095 became a sing-along on bus rides to and from performances. Imagine 30 overly dramatic teenagers singing a bad ELO song at the top of their lungs on a big yellow bus. The horror. It was if David Lynch directed an episode of Glee.

In high school band during my senior year, we put on a marching show with a magic theme. The director must have liked this album because the show began with the Prologue from this album. The voice over lyrics were greatly altered to fit the magic theme (I think they were in verse!). Seems cheesy now, but we enjoyed it back then.

I miss Scott.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Xanadu Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1980)
Discovery (1979)
ELO's Greatest Hits (1979)

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