Review Summary: Face The Music completes the departure from their old, rustic moods and enters the transition into the bands fullest creative sound.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
After the grand exposure of “Eldorado”, The Electric Light Orchestra shifted to make themselves even more electric. The cover, featuring a death chair in a dim lit room only sparked more electricity to their name, as the topic was slightly controversial to be subjugated a music album. Along with the previous accusations of satanic backward messages in their songs, ELO denied the accusations and intentionally packed the songs with massive back masking. Jeff Lynne used the opening track “Fire on High” as his instrumental of attack, featuring an unrivaled dark and daunting intro. The horror themed strings thrust and jab at the listener through a barrage of operatic vocals, and into a synthesizer and a doom ridden sound. The entire track then catapults into a jump acoustical jam of epic proportions. Throughout the album, you really do have to face the music. After the intensity of "Fire on High", Jeff Lynne enters a symphonic ballad entitled “Waterfall”. The violins slide across the notes just as a moving stream, and the Jeff Lynne fully creates the vivid melancholy feeling well, while influencing a strong sense of harmonious interest. The lyrics can be quite a jab at the soul, for Waterfall is a true and honest perception to the sting of a love gone astray.
“Those who hesitate got no one,
But they don't understand and no one hears the sound.
It's like a waterfall; it's an illusion.
Love is all, waterfall, love is what you are,
It pulls you in, takes you down, it's a sad affair.”
That’s just the tip of the album’s iceberg. As a worthy side note, the phrase “Face the Music” itself has been coined into music culture more than band itself it seems, being used everywhere from movies to Family Guy. Its no joke either, it has the essential original sound that ELO was perfect with. The music fit the mood of what they were capable of, and with a little polishing their future endeavors on A New World Record would subsequently craft the greatest symphonic rock album in history. Who really shines on this however is the backup vocalist, Kelly Groucutt. Sadly his death in 2009 threw aside any chance of the lineup to ever return to place, but on Face the Music, his backup vocals on all the songs are like cheesecake. Seriously, how can you not like cheesecake? Face The Music is a catatonic fulfillment all-around.
There’s rock and roll too, as well as a nighttime mini-epic. “Night Rider” and “Poker” only add to the flavor, with the musical shampoo and conditioner needed to make the very hairs on your ears feel clean and refreshed. Perhaps the most well known of the bands songs, “Evil Woman” was originally created as cheap filler to the album, but subsequently it became the biggest hit off the album, reaching as far as the top 10 in the US and across the sea to the UK. In fact, every song off the album was a success in its own part. The other hit, “Strange Magic” became the psychedelic flurry of pop that cemented ELO’s foot in the billboard for the rest of their career, and is commonly overplayed everywhere imaginable, from shopping malls to shoe stores. The tail of Face the Music is a strange pace for ELO, “Down Home Town” is a bouncy straightforward piece with slick country violins and a tar of a vocal part as catchy as it is annoying. “One Summer Dream” closes up the album with a symphonic blizzard of puzzle pieces from all over the album. The guitars are tuned with the sensation of “Strange Magic” and the opera in the background is reminiscent of “Waterfall” while the vocal part slides through the piece calmly. “One Summer Dream” is exactly what it sounds like, a relaxing and seamless finale. The album consists of only eight tracks, but eight songs of symphonic steel. Forget grounding this haywire, Face the Music is an electric super weight.