Time by Electric Light Orchestra

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Time by Electric Light Orchestra
Time by Electric Light Orchestra

Album Released: 1981

Time ::: Artwork

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3.Yours Truly 20953:11
4.Ticket To The Moon4:07
5.The Way Life's Meant To Be4:38
6.Another Heart Breaks3:48
7.Rain Is Falling3:54
8.From The End Of The World3:16
9.The Lights Go Down3:33
10.Here Is The News3:45
11.21st Century Man4:08
12.Hold On Tight3:06


This isn't a bad album, it's just that it doesn't stack up very well against ELO's earlier outings. That's reflected in part by the lack of any real blockbuster hit singles here, with only the 4 star closer "Hold On Tight" registering any airplay in my neck of the woods.

Part of the problem seems to be that, due to excessive processing with vocoders and the like, the distinctive ELO sound has been somewhat homogenised here, rendering it rather anonymous. And a side effect is that throughout much of this album, ELO often end up sounding like someone else, whether it be Frankie Valli (or perhaps The Sweet) meets the Alan Parsons Project ("Twilight"), Buggles of "Video Killed the Radio Star" fame ("Yours Truly 2095"), Jean-Michel Jarre ("Another Heart Breaks"), Chris de Burgh ("Rain is Falling"), not to mention the wholesale pilfering of the intro to "Crimson & Clover" ("The Lights Go Down"). And then of course, we shouldn't forget the rather grumpy-sounding dalek that introduces the album ("Prologue")!

Still, ELO were already a distinctly 1970's-sounding band by the 'time' that um, Time was released in 1981, and the start of a new decade wouldn't be a good er, 'time' to be releasing retro-music such as this. Plus it was bit darned premature to be reviving glam/rock anyway! So on this occasion I'd go along with the allmusic.com assessment, that closes with 'Time proves to be competent ELO but not great ELO'.

Yep, this is the sound of a band just marking time.

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by Reviewer: bluemoon

A stupendous album Time, Lynne's and ELO's last gasp of greatness before they were destroyed by the very synth/pop that makes the album so brilliant.

Though some of the good ol' ELO trappings are still available, notably the choruses of multiple Lynnes, some synthesized string things, and of course the mock-symphonic pomp thing that pumped up the band's more 'classic' albums, this is New Age ELO, one that emulates Buggles with "Yours Truly, 2095", Roxy Music on "Ticket to the Moon", and Gary Numan with "Another Heart Breaks", all mixed in with George Harrison and The Cars for "From the End of the World", along with the operator's manuals for their Prophet 5's.

While some of the sharper eardrums in the audience will still spot a few disco-ish beats (which was all but inevitable in 1981), I contend that this stuff is the result of a deft about-face ... Lynne realised that Xanadu had painted him into a corner, so he wised up and went for what must've seemed like the best option to recreate the success he'd had in 1973 ... synth/rock was nothing if not the prog of the early-80's.

What matters though, is that Lynne put more thought into Time than any album since New World Record, and the result is an album that not only flies the flag with some amazingly strong melodies, but also a compelling sci-fi theme that saves the record from ever being boring.

Lynne's ironic / witty take on the future may not necessarily cause fever dream-hallucinations like Yes, but it's sure a lot more interesting. From the threat of isolation that's "Ticket to the Moon" (another "Can't Get It Out of My Head" rewrite, but a great one), through to the effective synth minimalism of "Another Heart Breaks", to the hilarious and off-putting "Here Is the News", Lynne puts a lot more humanism into his futurist vision than the corresponding Alan Parsons Projects, Asias, and Utopias, all of whom were exploring similar territory in the early 1980's.

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by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza (blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct])

Jeff Lynne was practically the whole group by now, and he was embracing the electronic 80's, the strings having been shown the back door in favour of keyboards and synthesizers.

That could be seen as a shame by some, myself included ... despite my love of synths and suchlike, the strings were such a trademark of the Electric Light Orchestra, that the very thought of them fading away could almost be seen as heresy.

However, Lynne knows how to use whatever comes to hand, and this album - a concept piece about a man travelling from 1981 to the future - shows once more his gift for appealing tunes and clear production, although one senses that, not for the first time in ELO's career, things could've been better.

After the "Prologue", the record starts off with a couple of driving pieces in "Twilight" and "Yours Truly, 2095", before widening too far into diversity. Whilst there are some deft melodies found throughout, such tracks as "The Way Life's Meant to Be" and the concluding (aside from the "Epilogue") rockability of "Hold On Tight" just sound out-of-place, and don't seem to make much sense. They're not bad songs at all, it's just that I sit listening to them and wonder what they're doing accompanying "Yours Truly" and "Here Is the News".

Time is certainly a good album, but due to its inconsistencies I also find it somewhat disappointing.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor