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Electric Light Orchestra - Time CD (album) cover

TIME

Electric Light Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.38 | 216 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
5 stars The late 70s had been a roller coaster ride of success for Jeff Lynne and his ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA as they shifted gears from the more classically induced take on Beatles harmonies and experimental pop to the more sophisticated produced disco pop right out of the Abba playbook that made them extremely successful. After the growing fan base that the band had gained from their hugely popular albums like "New World Record" and "Discovery," it seemed that ELO had gone totally disco pop and sold their soul to the devil. This mood was only amplified by their collaboration with Olivia Newton-John on the soundtrack to the lackluster movie "Xanadu." However into the 80s following all the increasing blandification into the ever sterilizing world of the pop music world, Lynne was utterly exhausted from the direction the record label was steering ELO and all that stemmed from all the world that casted their gaze and attention upon their endless tours, stream of top 40 hits and Beatle-esque harmonic ear worms. On TIME, Lynne focused on the futuristic effects of synthesizers which creates layers of pleasing counterpoints placing it firmly in the period of which it was composed while allowing the liberties of embellishing it with the concepts of time travel.

After a trilogy of albums that focused on banal lyrics and often saccharine pop hooks, ELO retrograded back to their more progressive years and opted to follow in the footsteps of their concept album phase as heard on "El Dorado." As their first album of the 80s, TIME turned back the clock while intrepidly racing towards the future as a concept album that takes a man from the 1980s and catapults him into the year 2095 where he struggles with not only the anachronistic longing for the past but also struggling with acclimation to the technological advances of the future. While the theme of the album is clearly set in another century as heard on the super slick futuristic synthesizer sophistication of tracks like "Yours Truly 2095" and "Here Is The News," there is just as much reflection on the past. Not only in Jeff Lynne's personal life lyrically speaking with much of the turmoil surrounding his career as the leader of the ELO outfit adding an element of emotional reflection but also musically speaking as TIME is an outright salute to the great artists of the 50s, 60s and 70s covering the spectrum of everyone from the ubiquitous harmonics delivered in the perfect cross-pollinating forces of The Beatles, Queen as well as The Beach Boys as well as a healthy dose of old school pop artists such as Roy Orbison on tracks like "The Way Life's Meant To Be."

TIME is not only a beautifully crafted journey into the future with the production taking all kinds of liberties of crossing every "t" and dotting every "i" with every pop sensibility explored to the nth degree but also by creating some of the most sophisticated ELO ear worms of their entire career leaving absolutely no note on this release without an addictive coating! The tracks are all reminiscent of the true classic bands whether it take form of The Beatles in "Rain Is Falling" or a disco laden Donna Summer feel (from "I Feel Love") on "From The End Of The World," or the rockabilly 50s feel of their single "Hold On Tight," TIME manages to celebrate the harmonic and pop achievements of the previous three decades all the while adding progressive touches that embellish TIME to a new level of ambitiousness. It's almost as if the band felt the finality of their career and were going for the pop hook jugular and with TIME i personally find that they achieved exactly what they set their sights for.

It was never a secret that Jeff Lynne's ambition after departing from The Move in the early 70s that his goal with his ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA was to take the classical ambitions of The Beatles and expound these possibilities into a blossoming fruition, however with most albums ELO failed to deliver entirely cohesive and satisfying albums with extremely satisfying pop hooks surrounded by mediocrity that resulted in dysfunctional and derailing filler. On TIME, Jeff Lynne and the band totally went for it and created an entire album of equally satisfying tracks that not only navigate a saga of a futuristic concept but at last deliver upon the ideals set forth with the band's formation with extremely strong pop hooks interspersed with vocal harmonies off the hook, production values that audiophile dreams are made of and perfectly paced rhythmic cadences that create their absolute zenith of musical creativity. Personally, i find TIME to be the absolute best example of the ELO sound with every possible ingredient sifted into its proper place. TIME is the perfect mix of synth pop, disco, new wave, retro old school rock 'n' roll mixed with progressive rock and rock opera to create one of my absolute most favorite progressive pop albums of the ages. This is one that i literally have to let play out in its entirety if i dare put it on for one track and then i want to hear it again!

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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