Why Am I listening to ELO’s Discovery Album so much lately?

Hailing frequencies open… Forums Media Music Mr. Blue Sky Why Am I listening to ELO’s Discovery Album so much lately?

Tagged: ,

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #11572
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Offline

    Okay… if the “Blessing” runs all the way through the middle of the Earth, then how does it get around the Racnoss ship at the core of the planet?

    There’s so many oddities about Earth as described on Doctor Who that there’s no way to keep them straight anymore. Maybe the Silurians can dig deep underground and kill the Blessing at the source. Or they can use the rift energy in Cardiff to short circuit it. And so on, and so on. Are there any other planets in the universe that have so many special things about it? I know that Earth is supposed to be a Temporal Nexus Point (as mentioned in the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game), but still, it’s a bit much.

    Edit: So what’s Sarah Jane and U.N.I.T. doing while Miracle Day is happening, since they’re in a shared universe? Wouldn’t Martha have called the Doctor back for something this important? Wouldn’t Mr. Smith be able to figure out a morphic field was in place coming from a pink stony vacuous vagina that runs through the center of the Earth? So when does K-9 zip in and shoot it, saving the day once again?

    #11574
    ubikuberalles
    Moderator
    • Offline

    @Steve W wrote:

    It’s a shame John De Lancie’s character had to get blown up by the Family mole in the CIA. He came across as a douchebag in his first appearance, but I warmed up to the jerk pretty quick.

    Serves him right for make two airliners crash in Albuquerque…wait that was a different show. Never mind.

    I don’t even know why I’m even reading this thread. Chances are I won’t be watching “Miracle Day” until it comes out on NetFlix or Amazon Prime six months or a year from now. Glutton for punishment, I guess.

    #524
    ubikuberalles
    Moderator
    • Offline

    For years ELO’s Discovery album represented to me the moment when Jeff Lynne and company totally sold out and went completely disco. Granted, some of their previous albums had disco-like qualities but they were unique and distinct enough to avoid the dreaded “disco” label. However, this album…this…thing…cast off any pretensions and blatantly declared “Hey, I’m disco. Deal with it.”. For a long time I didn’t deal with it. Now, I guess I have. At the very least I am listening to that album a lot lately.

    I bought the album when it came out (actually I got the cassette tape) and played it for the first time among two of my friends (“J” and “C”). Initially we all reserved comment and suspended judgment until the album was over just so we could hear the album uninterrupted. When it was over the mood was reserved but generally positive. Keep in mind that the three of us generally hated disco with a passion and so we, big ELO fans, were troubled with what we heard. “C” was particularly disgusted by “Last Train to London” and “Shine a Little Love” but not all of the songs in the album had the disco beat. “The Diary of Horace Wimp”, for example, was well-liked by “C” and he could forgive the disco elements of the album if he focused on these non-disco songs. “J” and I were less forceful in our opinions. We both were uncomfortable with the disco influence in he album but we weren’t ready to condemn it…yet.

    Unlike “C” I was (and still am) unable to form a definitive opinion on an album on just the first listen. I need to listen to it three or four times and then mull over it for a while before coming to a conclusion. And that’s exactly what I did years ago. After the fourth listen I decided that I could not reconcile the disco songs with the rest of the album. So I put the album (OK, cassette) back in the shelf with the rest of ELO’s tapes and almost never listened to it again. I dubbed it ELO’s worst album ever and lamented the decline of ELO. Every once in a while I would wonder if I was too hasty in my conclusion and play the tape again only to quickly hit the “eject” button and put the tape back on the shelf.

    When the album came out on CD I bought it but mostly because I am a completest and I wanted to make sure my ELO collection was complete even with that turd in the bunch. Heck, I even got the remastered DVD years later. However, other than a test to make sure the CD was working, I never really listened to the album. My disdain for disco was still strong after all those years.

    Now? Not so much. It’s been many decades since Discovery came out and, in my mind, Disco is no longer that hated affront to all things musical. As a result I’ve been listening to the album quite a bit lately. The disco songs make me cringe a little bit but I’m more amused now than embarrassed or angry. Despite the pandering to Disco, the album has a number of really good songs in it and I generally like it now. Some of the songs make me feel happy when I listen to them and that’s a good thing.

    So, Discovery is no longer ELO’s worst album.That dishonor now belongs to Zoom which, even ten years after it came out, I still cringe when I listen to it. **shudder*

    EDIT: ELO did redeem themselves, however, when they produced the album Time. It’s a damn fine album and it is comparable to the likes of Eldorado. Considering that Eldorado is my all time favorite ELO album, that’s high praise indeed.

    P.S. I posted the above on my blog.

    #3792

    Funny thing is, I really like Zoom, give or take a couple of songs.

    Discovery is a strange beast. How much I like it depends on my mood going in. Generally, though, my gut feeling is that it was probably too soon to try to squeeze another album out of Jeff Lynne as a songwriter, what with having spent over a year on the road touring Out Of The Blue. The material is not on the same level. Even the weakest songs on OOTB (let’s say, for the sake of argument, Jungle and Believe Me Now) are more engaging than the best on Discovery (for my money: Need Her Love, On The Run Again, Midnight Blue). The ELO half of the Xanadu soundtrack is more listenable and more ELO-esque than Discovery, and I love Time and Secret Messages. The songs omitted from Xanadu which cropped up later on Flashback (Helpless, Love Changes All) were stronger than anything on Discovery.

    It’s just an album that didn’t need to happen when it did, and the songs sound like Lynne was just exhausted. Let’s crap out some new material to fit the formula. Including the Lynne cover of Little Town Flirt on the Discovery remaster was pure folly, because it just pointed up the weak material: look, for comparison, here’s a real song.

    Discovery was the last ELO album I bought (prior to such things as Flashback and Afterglow and Zoom and Part II/The Orchestra), and I didn’t really buy it – my mother got me the cassette, just a few months before she died. I always try to keep an open mind, aware that Discovery may be suffering some bad memory overspill there, guilt by association. But I just have a hard time getting into the songs, regardless.

    And yet there are days when I can dance around the room and sing along to Last Train To London with the best of them. You know, after doing a concentrated sweep for surveillance devices.

    #3793
    ubikuberalles
    Moderator
    • Offline

    Zoom is at the bottom of my list because when I hear it, it makes me sad. It’s true.

    OOTB on the other hand has really sad lyrics but I still feel happy whenever I hear any of the songs from that album (Jungle? Not so much).

    I don’t know if I agree with your “Jeff is exhausted” theory but I do think the album was an attempt to cash in on the Disco sound. Some of the songs do sound Out of the Blue-ish but they pale in comparison. Overall Discovery has fairly unique sound in the ELO gallery.Mostly because of that Disco beat.

    BTW, I left in a hurry after I posted my blog entry and the OP of this thread and I forgot to post the following conclusion (I’ll update the OP and the blog real quick too):

    ELO did redeem themselves, however, when they produced the album Time. It’s a damn fine album and it is comparable to the likes of Eldorado. Considering that Eldorado is my all time favorite ELO album, that’s high praise indeed.

    #3794

    No argument from me there; Eldorado contains my favorite ELO song from the ’70s, which also happens to be my all-time favorite specimen of their sound (Laredo Tornado), while Time contains my favorite ’80s ELO song (Rain Is Falling). There seems to be a meteorological theme going on there…

    I also like how Eldorado is the fuzzy dividing line between the “original ELO sound” (truckloads of rough ‘n’ ready cello) and the “new ELO sound” (truckloads of slick rented studio session players). That combination could have persisted for another album or two and I would’ve been happy.

    #3795
    ubikuberalles
    Moderator
    • Offline

    Another reason to hate Discovery: After that album Jeff Lynne stopped using the string section in future albums (except for Kim Kamanski for a bit in Secret Messages).

    EDIT: CORRECTION. Lynne didn’t stop using the string section after Discovery. In fact Discovery is the first ELO album that didn’t feature the string section. which makes you want to hate Discovery even more.

    I also like how Eldorado is the fuzzy dividing line between the “original ELO sound” (truckloads of rough ‘n’ ready cello) and the “new ELO sound” (truckloads of slick rented studio session players). That combination could have persisted for another album or two and I would’ve been happy.

    That “new” sound is what really turned me on to ELO in the first place. Eldorado is, to me, the definitive album for ELO. Jeff Lynne made extensive use of “violin licks” (as opposed to guitar licks) and it brought the classical aspect of their music to life (The long saw-like bass playing from the previous albums was good but it got old). Those violin licks became a standard feature of the band until after Discovery but it wasn’t until the “A New World Record” album that the use of violins achieved the same brilliance as it did in “Eldorado”.

    #3796

    Also, if you think about it, Eldorado was the only time they really tried to work any part of the orchestra other than violins into their sound. Eldorado had a horn section on songs like Boy Blue and Eldorado itself; I can think of maybe one post-Eldorado song in the entire ELO catalog with horns in it (Across The Border from OOTB).

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.