Review Summary: Lead songwriter Jeff Lynne proves that an imagination is the most powerful piece to a person's being.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
The dreamer, the unwoken fool
In dreams, no pain will kiss the brow
The love of ages fills the head
The days that linger there in prey of emptiness
Of burned-out dreams
The minutes calling through the years
The universal dreamer rises up above his earthly burden
Journey to the dead of night
High on a hill in Eldorado...
Like it's 'The Wizard of Oz' themed cover that Sharon Osbourne designed, Eldorado
is a concept album with a story that takes place in a dream. The main character is a Walter Mitty-like figure who spends his time constantly daydreaming to escape the realm he normally persists in, and he escapes his reality to find solace from pain and sorrow. As Electric Light Orchestra's fourth release, Eldorado
is a thirty-nine minute symphonic rock opera, and a classic in it’s own right. It successfully blends the rock and symphonic genres together with a slight progression as well, but when people cite Electric Light Orchestra’s masterpiece, they tell the story with the motive that was just, that set the boundaries forward for contemporary music. The main character of Eldorado
survives the most dangerous wars of treachery and wickedness alike to earn justice for his country, but lead songwriter Jeff Lynne showed that dreams are the most powerful piece to a person’s being, that an imagination is what sets us apart from anything in existence. It’s wild, fervent concept, is right here in "Eldorado, A Symphony."
When the main character (also known as the 'Dreamer') enters the dream world, it is lit as a kingdom with colorful grandeur with “Eldorado Overture,” and the violins flutter into the unforgettable “I Can't Get It Out Of My Head”. He tells of his love for his dreamland, saying “my old world is gone for dead.” His travels in his mind's eye piece himself into the strangers in reality. He envisions a soldier coming home from an endless war to his family (Boy Blue), a childhood reverie where he is one of Robin Hood's merry men (Poor Boy/The Greenwood), a search for great riches that turns up in his head (Mister Kingdom) as well as a fantasy of the young boy being seduced by an older girl (Painted Lady). Note that some of the tunes actually had ties to real life problems during it's release. The time period was during the opposition to the Vietnam War, and “Boy Blue” was plucking the heart strings of many who had family overseas, and “Laredo Tornado” has the ideals of a protest song against the propagation of cities and artificial land (concrete to be the specific word), striking a chord with those who have lost their land or something reminiscent of a past life in order to be sacrificed for someone else's greed-driven ambition.
Where this boy's imaginary world fades out is where “Illusions from G Major” takes place. It's a rockabilly influenced relaxing song with a prog groove where the Dreamer tells the psychiatrist about his adventures, asking for meaning with his now-out-of-reach adventures. The result is unknown, but we can assume that it only confirmed his despise of the real world. The Dreamer realizes that reality has no worth to him anymore, and so the title song Eldorado is a hopeless lullaby drowned in sorrow, basked in the fact that he will never again return to the physical world. Just after the album was actually released, the song was mis-viewed to a group of religious fundamentalists who accused Lynne of (being one of the first musicians) to utilize backmasking to include satanic lyrics into the title track: "He is the nasty one - Christ you're infernal - It is said we're dead men - Everyone who has the mark will live.” Of course, the section of the tune purported to hold those lyrics was found to be completely devoid of any similarity, and the case was dropped. Jeff Lynne denied the satanic accusation numerous times, later rebounding the stupidity of such a wild allegation into his later albums “Face the Music and ‘Secret Messages’. Nevertheless, the song is incredile and Jeff Lynne's vocals on Eldorado are flawless, bellowing passionate folk inspirations intertwined with the band's solid symphonic rock. Any attempt to beat this record should take heed, for Eldorado is a masterpiece, and the word does not overrate the album. The unique aspects that drive Eldorado do not deplore the listener with controversial material, the songs are unanimously passionate with fantasy, glory and are each memorable, no second of any track asks to be rated sub-par or to be in fact overrated. They all collaboratively mold a musical story that can't be forgotten and anyone who is a detractor to Eldorado simply had not taken the time to actually listen
, for the music is there, and the beauty is in tune, together they create a story that rivals any other, one that is told with the fury of a thirty-instrument orchestra and its musical inexorability that is truer to all of us than any other story. It brings back our childhood. “And I will stay, I'll not be back. I will be free of the world, Eldorado.”
I've seen bold knights dropping down like flies
I've see kings rolling in the mire
I've seen God point the finger of doom to our foes.
I have fought in the holiest wars
I have spent some of the holiest chores.
I've been jailed, been impaled, and been dragged through the world.
One thing I have learned through these years
Is that no man should be stricken with fear.
It should be that he walks with no care in the world.
So my friends, who are gathered today,
Hear this clear, for I'll not further say
That no man shall cause me to take up arms again.