A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra

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A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra
A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra

Album Released: 1976

A New World Record ::: Artwork

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2.Telephone Line4:40
4.Mission (A World Record)4:28
5.So Fine3:56
6.Livin' Thing3:33
7.Above The Clouds2:18
8.Do Ya3:46


This is Classic Rock for those with limited attention spans, the types who need new ideas to pop up in their music every few seconds lest they get bored.

Hence A New World Record consists of powerful drumbeats, cooing choruses, soaring opera singers, and swirling strings in the background, all in service of an endless succession of vocal hooks. Many of the hooks are merely pleasant, but to frontman/producer Jeff Lynne's credit, the album turns out lush rather than irritating.

Of the samey pop/rockers, only the propulsive radio hit "Livin' Thing" stands out, but there are a couple or so other triumphs here too. "Rockaria!" is a tacky Little Richard ripoff, brilliantly executed. And Lynne bullseyes both extremes of 70's rock on the two best songs - "Telephone Line" has an aching melody and every vocal line in just the right place, and on the riff-heavy "Do Ya", Lynne curdles his guitar and voice into instruments of prefabricated rage.

The rest of the album isn't as timeless as it aspires to be, but three radio classics is a pretty good score.

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by Reviewer: Cosmic Ben

Even more slicked-down and hooked-up than Face the Music, A New World Record doesn't even have any instrumentals. ELO are by now strictly 'rock band with orchestral backing' and nothing more, though it's been more or less like that since ELO II.

I could say that A New World Record is catchier than ever, but I'm trying to tie the album into the wider career arc of the band, where the 'orchestral side' peaked early and the 'pop side' peaks about 1977, then somewhere in the middle the mix is perfect.

Though I'm not sure that's really the case, since the band went right on truckin' through the early and mid-80's, and still had some decent hooks at that time. No orchestra though, so maybe I'll just call the gradual drop in pop quality a long tapering-off.

All I'm really trying to say is that ELO are at their peak on A New World Record, as they were on their previous album, so for anyone looking for a place to start, this is probably it. This album has the cool "Telephone Line", home to some of the most desolate and soulful moments in the ELO catalog.

Then there's "Rockaria!", which is "Roll Over Beethoven II" really, except funnier and more rocking (not to mention half as long) ... to me, the rocking parts almost seem to be a rip on Southern Rock, and the opera sections seem to rip on um, everything the old ELO stood for.

The hit was "Livin' Thing", which whilst an improvement on "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic" from the last album, still strikes me as being somewhat less than what ELO are truly capable of ... It's a living thing, it's a terrible thing to lose is a weak choral hook after such a great build-up to the chorus, but the bridge If I could die upon the stage, hey! is fucking brilliant.

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

By the time of this album, Jeff Lynne had hit on a straight-forward, chart-conquering style of classical power/pop, and it resulted in another good ELO album.

But not as good as I wish it was. At their best, Electric Light Orchestra are completely winning, and this is no better demonstrated than on "Livin' Thing". Every bit of that song works, from verse to chorus to vocals to strings. It's the band in a nutshell.

Not far behind is the terrifically catchy "Do Ya", containing one of the band's best and most winning choruses, and a snarling, rocking touch. And I suppose I should give a mention to "Telephone Line", which does what it does well enough.

A problem is that Lynne slips into mediocrity a bit too often as well, like the song that is stuck inbetween those two, "Above the Clouds". It's so unnoticeable, it hardly needs to be there. Maybe it isn't really.

A bigger negative issue (that applies to some of the band's other work as well) is that a number of songs are quite good, but just lack that extra oomph to be treasures. Songs like "Rockaria!" and "So Fine" are indeed fine, but could've been better, like making the chorus to the latter a bit more interesting.

A New World Record is a decent, enjoyable record, but with a bit more imagination and care at crucial moments, it could've been a classic. Instead, I can't go past Eldorado as being ELO's crowning glory.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor