Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra (2012)

1. Mr. Blue Sky 2. Evil Woman 3. Strange Magic 4. Don't Bring Me Down 5. Turn To Stone 6. Showdown 7. Telephone Line 8. Livin' Thing 9. Do Ya 10.Cant Get It Out of My Head 11.10538 Overture 12.Point of No Return


The Electric Light Orchestra, sadly, is becoming one of those bands that releases a "new" greatest hits album every couple of years for no other reason, to my knowledge, other than to "cash in". The feeling is probably to repackage the same old hits with a bright new spaceship-like cover, and rake in some more dough. True, most classic artists seems to fall victim of this, but E.L.O. seems to do this ad-nauseum. As customary for myself when I review artists, I tend to ignore these retrospectives.

The only reason I'm even reviewing this one, is because, for whatever reason, all of these songs have been redone and rerecorded. For those that know Jeff Lynne, this really shouldn't be a shock. Jeff Lynne has always been at home enclosed in a claustrophobic recording studio, so my guess is he did this for the simple reason of indulging himself. I'm also willing to bet that none of the other members of the super group are present here. Not that this really matters. You almost wonder if, other than for live concerts, Lynne probably preferred doing these recordings "alone" anyway.

Are there noticeable differences in the songs? Well, not really. The casual fan won't notice a thing, and the devotee will notice just enough differences to be slightly annoyed. Why mess up a good thing? The most obvious differences (to the devotee, that is) is the little jam at the very end of Mr. Blue Sky is gone, as is the electronic beep-beeps that served as the intro to Telephone Line. A couple of early E.L.O. tracks are here (10538 Overture and Showdown), and these are the songs that could probably most benefit from a redo, as they were very experimental since the process was so new to Lynne and company at the time. Yet like everything else here, they're basically carbon copies of the original.

The purist in me encourages you to "stick with the originals". So this is really for the curious. I must confess that the one new song Point of No Return is rather good, however. The song features a good mix of old and new.

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