The Present by The Moody Blues

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The Present by The Moody Blues
The Present by The Moody Blues

Album Released: 1983

The Present ::: Artwork

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1.Blue World5:19
2.Meet Me Halfway4:08
3.Sitting At The Wheel5:40
4.Going Nowhere5:33
5.Hole In The World1:54
6.Under My Feet4:51
7.It's Cold Outside Your Heart4:27
8.Running Water3:23
9.I Am1:40


As the 1980's progressed, The Moody Blues found themselves compelled to write music that matched the times, which is why you'll find an abundance of drum machines, forceful synth-bass lines, and cheesy synthesizers on The Present.

Sometimes, when old bands adopted such new sounds, they'd be completely out-of-their-element, but with the first two songs here everything seems like a strangely perfect fit for The Moody Blues.

If you're going to use a synth-bass, let it play an interesting pattern! ... that's what Justin Hayward did on “Blue World”, the album's rollicking and memorable opener. The synth-bass line is so mesmerizing that I could probably just sit and listen to it all day. Making it even better of course is that the melody is extremely catchy and soaring in that way that showcases Justin Hayward's voice in the most magical way. And Moraz's synthesizer arpeggios also add to the song's decoration in a very cool way (particularly at the beginning where he plays an inspired pattern ... don't expect that to happen too often).

The album's second song is “Meet Me Halfway”, a collaboration between Hayward and John Lodge, and it's as fantastic as the opener. Perhaps the synth-bass doesn't mesmerize me quite as much, but it's still an integral part of the song's captivating texture. The melody is again gorgeous and sung in Hayward's trademark soaring manner (I believe Lodge and Hayward are singing it together, but it's Hayward's vocals that stick out).

Unfortunately after that point, the 80's instrumentation is run-of-the-mill, and even confused at times. The synth-bass in “Sitting at the Wheel” boringly plays eighth notes, and the drum machine is very loud in that stereotypical 1980's way, though the melody is catchy and John Lodge's singing is spirited, so it ends up not being such a huge deal.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

The Present follows The Moody Blues' previous Long Distance Voyager fairly closely in terms of style and presentation, and generally succeeds just as well, even if it does seem to struggle a bit in matching that one for quality.

This is a very steady, mid-paced album, which could be seen as routine and bland, but it's helped by some pretty and fetching melodies, particularly on the first half. The opening "Blue World" is Justin Hayward at his silky best, while John Lodge's "Sitting at the Wheel" - a rare lively moment on the album - is nice and snappy. And Graeme Edge's "Going Nowhere" (sung by Ray Thomas) has its lovely moments, as well as choral sounds which hark back to the band's glory days in the 60's.

Things get a bit shakier on the second half, thanks partly to Lodge's clunky "Under My Feet", while Hayward's "It's Cold Outside of Your Heart" and "Running Water" tread a fine line between pleasantness and mawkishness. That sets the scene for another conclusion by Thomas, who first hits us with one more return to fifteen years previously with the haunting and chanting of the brief "I Am", before it's time for "Sorry", the other lively section, which is quite different from most of what had gone before (even "Wheel", really), but remains pretty rousing, although hearing that lovely flute has me wondering why it's used so sparingly. They don't have to get all Jethro Tull about it, but still ...

A constant strength of The Moody Blues has been their way with melody, and The Present really benefits from that. It might've been in danger of falling apart at the seams, but the album somehow stays together thanks to the band's combined skill at writing tuneful songs, and making them work.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor