Out Of The Blue

Electric Light Orchestra

Jet, 1977

http://www.elo.biz

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/20/2007

Capitalizing on the Star Wars craze of 1977, Jeff Lynne released this biggie-size intergalactic opus, Out Of The Blue.  As double concept albums go, this is one of the very best. And as far as Electric Light Orchestra albums go, it is Jeff Lynne’s personal favorite.  As the group’s leader, producer and head vocalist, Lynne has always been able to wear many hats on any given project and wear them well.

With its galloping beat and full-on symphonics, “Turn To Stone” is the perfect song to open Out Of The Blue. Of the next six songs to follow, only “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” is as strong. It became a hit single and is perhaps the most memorable, one of those tunes that seems to have it all, from its multiple acoustic guitars playing in unison to its otherworldly-sounding men’s chorale droning on in the background. nbtc__dv_250

After a bunch of formulaic cuts, we are presented with “Jungle.” It comes as a welcome addition too, since I was beginning to get bored.  This is one song that kids really take to -- I know I did when I was little.  It’s is the sound of what would happen if a spaceship landed in the Brazilian rainforest. With its terrific hand-jive percussion and catchy nonsensical chant, “Jungle” is proof that story songs can be fun. Signifying that the orchestra is back, “Believe Me Now” is a brief and pointless interlude that brings us to the end of Part One with the song “Steppin’ Out,” a heartbreaking slow song to swoon over (even if it does sound like a Xanadu outtake).  

Known collectively as a “Concerto For A Rainy Day,” the next four songs represent the best sequence on the entire album. Conducted by Louis Clark of “Hooked On Classics” fame, the orchestra picks up the pace on “Standin’ In The Rain” while incorporating baroque elements into the mix. Also notable is “Summer And Lighting,” which has a great electronic dance break that helps to bring it to a whole new artistic level. 

And then there is “Mr. Blue Sky,” the hit song that jumps off the record and demands that the listener bow down and beg for mercy. The final four songs on Out Of The Blue come as somewhat of a letdown, especially compared to the other material that came before them.       

Another masterstroke of genius was to design ELO’s concert stages in the form of the glowing spaceship that is often featured on many of their album covers, including this one. It’s sad that more bands today aren’t as daring as Electric Light Orchestra or Pink Floyd when it comes to putting out concept albums or creating elaborate stage spectacles.  All of that stuff is now a memory, but it is certainly a memory worth treasuring.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B-


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© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Jet, and is used for informational purposes only.