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.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record (1976)

Note: the CD I listened to was the 2006 reissue with 6 bonus tracks.

This was ELO's sixth studio release and arguably their best album - it's succinct, full of hooks, and there are no tracks I want to skip.  According to the excellent liner notes included in this reissue:
It's hard to believe now, but it only took a few weeks to record and complete whole album. The songs started to flow and most of them came quickly to me. To have all those hits, it was just ...I mean amazing really. Going from doing okay for probably three or four years to suddenly being in the big time, it was a strange but great thing.  --Jeff Lynne
Sure, ELO tried to copy The Beatles (and why not?), but I also hear some Procol Harum, Yes, and Moody Blues in these tunes.  The production, orchestration, and arrangements, however, could only be Jeff Lynne.  Certainly a defining work for the band.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #5
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #10

Tracks:  In addition to the Top 40 singles, Livin' Thing (#13), Do Ya (#24), and Telephone Line (#7), I like Tightrope and the cheesy Rockaria!, but like I said earlier, there's nothing to skip here until we get to the...

Bonus tracks:  Of the six bonus tracks, the only one worth listening to more than once is Surrender.  The remainder are alternative versions of Telephone Line and songs that they cleverly label "Instrumental Early Rough Mix" instead of calling them what they are: backing track demos.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  I had heard this album on various formats throughout the years, but never owned a copy until I recently spied this CD in the clearance rack of the local music store.  The nice thing about loving music from 1976-85 is that you can easily pick up new CDs of music from that era for $3 these days.  And I do.  Often.

Livin' Thing reminds me of the movie Boogie Nights.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Zoom (2001)
Time (1981)
Xanadu Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1980)
Discovery (1979)
ELO's Greatest Hits (1979)

1 comment:

  1. A New World Record is my second favorite ELO album - you covered my very favorite ELO album three years ago during Greatest Hits Week.

    What I like about ANWR is the seamless melding of Jeff Lynne's Beatles and pop music obsession with the band's classical music "gimmick" and the obvious influence of the prog rockers you mentioned as well as Genesis and Pink Floyd. I'd also include the Alna Parsons Project as well but their debut came mere months before ANWR so they were obviously mining the same prog rock vein.

    The opening salvo of "Tightrope", "Telephone Line" and "Rockaria!" define the band's singular vision and signature sound. Ambitious prog and studio experimentalism, emoitonal balladry and Chuck Berry riff-rock versus classical (and opera!). But as you said, every track is worth a listener's time and the 2006 "bonus tracks" laden reissue was also a remaster which improved the original album's sound remarkably.

    This one only climbed to #5?!?! Peaked on the first Top LP's chart of 1977 and stayed there for two weeks before tumbling out of the Top 10 altogether. And the same four albums held it back both weeks though their positions shifted slightly:
    Songs In The Key Of Life - Stevie Wonder
    Hotel California - Eagles
    Boston - Boston
    Wings Over America - Wings

    I withdraw my obection as all of those albums are classics as well and indeed mighty fine company for A New World Record.