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Face the Music (Bonus Tracks)

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Album Review

Face the Music was sort of ELO's return to a more basic sound after the ornate (and highly commercially successful) experimentation of Eldorado, and that's what's on display on this remastered edition as well — everything is in high relief and all of the sound richly detailed, but it's the core band sound that stands out most, amid the rich, multi-layered production on "Fire on High" and "Waterfall." With some layers of compression and the limitations of a previous lackluster digital transfer removed, Jeff Lynne's voice now sounds almost sweetly textured on the latter number, and that points to one of the most important benefits of this kind of upgrade — yes the mixes are made more transparent and the instruments more vivid along with everything else, but one of the subtler aspects is that the nuances of the singing, and whatever warmth there is in a voice, even in one as highly processed as Lynne's, can be heard in some of these settings, it's brought out, and that's as important in the listening as the removal of any noise or compression. Even a piece as familiar as "Evil Woman," which has been played and heard as much as any tune ELO ever cut, achieves a bracing freshness in these circumstances. What's more, the volume on the playback of this CD is something that one will have to monitor very carefully — the louder parts of this disc could make one a real nuisance in an apartment building, even one with thick prewar walls and floors; not that the softer, more lyrical strains of "One Summer Dream" don't benefit also, but those won't break your lease. The bonus tracks are a little leaner here — the "Fire on High Intro" is more a curiosity piece than anything else, whereas the stripped down mix of "Evil Woman" deserved an airing long before this; it's still the song, and even still the record, but with the basic elements moved to the fore, and in all likelihood it could have been about as big a hit as the more lushly finished version that was issued — by itself, it's worth the price of the CD. There's also the U.S. single mix of "Strange Magic," to fill in that picture, and an instrumental mix of "Waterfall" to close out this special edition of the original album. The notes are thoroughly detailed and informative, and it's difficult to imagine any ELO fan missing out on this edition of Face the Music.

Customer Reviews

Is it really a Blue Sky?

Great find...was very sceptical but wow what a surprise......enjoy !!!

Not essential - but a great ELO record

The album bridges the gap between early ELO - sometimes rambling, orchestral prog rock - and the middle period, take over the world ELO. The experimentation is still there in songs like Fire on High and Down Home Town, but the future was clear to see in the shape of Evil Woman, ELO's biggest hit single to date. Add to this the beautiful Waterfall and One Summer Dream and you've got a great record. Well worth the money especially now the album's been remastered by Jeff Lynne and a load of previously unreleased material has been included.

The Ultimate

From the eerie atmosphere of Fire On High to the majestic wave of coolness of One Summer Dream fading out, this is a faultless classic album, my favourite album of all time (and I like a lot of music). I could enthuse about every track but if you haven't heard the album, I'll leave you to discover it all for yourself. I would point out the short orchestral piece that precedes One Summer Dream with the most heartfelt lyric ever from Jeff Lynne as the highlight for me.... fantastic. For all it's brilliance there are a few even better tracks on Eldorado but as a complete album, Face The Music is the one. I was there at the time, over 20 years ago, bought the album and the t-shirt and when the shirt no longer fitted proudly had the album cover image sewn to the back of my denim jacket..... now have it as wallpaper on my PC... it's the Ultimate!


Formed: October, 1970 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The Electric Light Orchestra's ambitious yet irresistible fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography rocketed the group to massive commercial success throughout the 1970s. ELO was formed in Birmingham, England in the autumn of 1970 from the ashes of the eccentric art-pop combo the Move, reuniting frontman Roy Wood with guitarist/composer Jeff Lynne, bassist Rick Price, and drummer Bev Bevan. Announcing their intentions to "pick up where 'I Am the Walrus' left off,"...
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