Electric Light Orchestra
Out of the Blue



by Oliver Thatcher Watson USER (19 Reviews)
October 16th, 2021 | 0 replies

Release Date: 1977 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Adventurous, inspired, and incredible

After 4 excellent albums back to back (with the previous 3 coming close to perfection, already), there didn’t seem to be any room left to grow, what with the band already cementing their status as legendary, as well as Jeff Lynne cementing his status as a phenomenal songwriter. But one year after the infectious, focused, and excellent “A New World Record”, Jeff Lynne and the rest of the band would somehow go further. They took everything that worked, expanded on them, added some theatrical flair, and incorporated a lot more soul, all of which would result in the band continuing on their near perfect album streak—only this time, being as big as can be with 17 tracks—nearly double what the previous album had. That may seem like a lot, but the way this album flows and how wonderfully everything is written makes the seemingly long runtime of 1 hour and 11 minutes go by quick thanks to how fun and heartfelt it manages to be.

One reason for that is the albums diversity. Of all the ELO albums, this one easily does the best job of incorporating so much into one LP—and that’s not just because of the extended runtime. As stated previously, the band added some theatrical flair to their style, which makes the diverse moments of this album really feel like an adventure. Whether it be the absolutely epic “Across the Border”, adventurous and wonderful “Jungle”, the heart pounding and infectious “Standing in the Rain”, the big and romantic “Summer and Lightning”, or literally anything else on the album (would take too much of the paragraph going over all of them), the band really does pull out all of the stops in making each song here have that extra umph, and it works splendidly from start to finish. Do I even have to mention the fantastic “Mr. Blue Sky”? That’s not even the only amazing song here thanks to the aforementioned qualities of the album.

And the best part about all of that is that the album still manages to be sharply focused throughout. Everything feels like it was composed and structured with purpose, which better helps this album come together as something incredible. When you play this album from the start, the commanding, yet hooky and infectious “Turn to Stone” lets you know that you’re in for a pretty wild ride, and one that would show no signs of stopping. And from there until the phenomenal and theatrical “Wild West Hero” that closes this epic, it doesn’t stop, indeed. It’s rockin’, groovy, poignant, beautiful, and phenomenally put together from start to finish, all with excellent composition with its sweeping orchestral numbers mixed with rock and roll, and Jeff Lynne’s per usual superb production to boot. It’s an album that blossoms into something truly special, and is one of the best of its kind of all time—with the only other one like it I can think of being Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, another classic in its own right.

Do you wanna know the craziest part, though? It apparently only took Jeff Lynne 3 and a half weeks to write everything here. Yeah. What would be one of the most adventurous and most inspired rock albums of all time only written in under a month. If Lynne’s status of being a great songwriter wasn’t already cemented with the bands last few albums, this sure as hell did, because that’s incredible, what with everything on this album being as great as they are.

Overall, this album is every bit as surprising as it is excellent. Its long length may seem a bit overwhelming to some, but I assure you that it’s worth it. It’s not just a rock album. It’s also an experience. It’s not only diverse and full of soul, but it’s absolutely epic. Whether it be the aforementioned sweeping orchestra mixed with rock and roll or it’s abundance of variety, the album really does feel like an adventure—and a fun one at that. And to think this amount of excellence was only written in under a month is just incredible. Believe me now when I say that this album is amazing, as you may turn to stone due to the quality being as big as a whale, as it's as good as a sweet talkin' woman from the beginning until it's over.

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