on April 17, 2000
If you only ever buy one Roy Orbison record this is it.Orbison's recording career had an uncanny knack of mirroring the incredible highs and lows of his life.That he died shortly after completing his masterpiece would have seemed unbelievable in a Hollywood 50's biopic.In the life of Roy Orbison it was just the next logical step.He probably wrote a song about it in heaven. Every track is a standout.When Roy sings 'In the real world we must say real goodbyes'he really means it.'A love so beautiful'will rip your heart out.This was the final performance every star dreams of,few experience.
on March 18, 2004
1989 was a very turbulant year for me, drugs, alcohol, crazy girlfriend, on my own for the first time, it's a miracle I survived. I do not know why, when, or where I bought this album, but I'm so glad I did. When things were quiet at night and I was alone in my apartment, I would shut off all the lights and listen to the tape over and over again in complete darkness. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
Roy's haunting voice and bittersweet songs described everything I was going through at the time, even Windsurfer (I grew up on the beach). Comedians, Love so beautiful, and the title track haunt me to this day. It's such a shame Roy died around the time of this album's release. The yearning in his voice made him sound like he was so alone, and I was too. If he were alive and I had the chance, I'd shake his hand and thank him for making an album that could touch the heart of this Speed Metal Headbanger.
We could only wonder what else he could have done if given more time. Maybe there's a lesson here for us.
on March 3, 2000
A sad, sweeping swansong that easily rates among his greatest works. In fact, it is probably the strongest LP of his career as it is imbued with a coherence and a complexity that binds these shimmering pop songs together. His voice soars. Years had done nothing to diminish his multi-octave crooning... and the wisdom of middle age had added a certain poingancy to each trembling note. These are songs about lost love and broken dreams... beautifully arranged, breathtakingly sung. The production is a little slick and compressed, but Roy's voice is captured perfectly. You can hear every nuance of his phrasing. Sadly,this album is often overlooked. I beleive it stands as one of a handful of great records from the last two decades... this from some one who was supposed to be "irrelevant" by the beginning of the '70's. Roy Orbison, we miss you.
I will never forget waking up one early December day in 1988 and finding out that Roy Orbison had died suddenly and unexpectedly shortly after performing in concert the night before. I, along with a legion of long-time fans, grieved the loss of this incredible singer and performer. Initially, his death at that particular time in his career seemed terribly unfair. After stagnating during the 1970s and early 1980s, Orbison was back and perhaps even better than ever in 1988. His collaboration with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynne in the form of The Traveling Wilburys had put him back in the national spotlight, and many of us longed for the new album soon to be released, an album we had heard nothing but incredibly good things about. Then, suddenly, he and the voice that touched our hearts for so many years, was gone. We, the fans, should have been rewarding Roy Orbison for all of the memories he gave us in song, yet, ever the selfless and humble man he was, Orbison actually presented all of us with a final, precious gift in the form of the album Mystery Girl. Roy's widow Barbara deserves our heartfelt thanks for bravely putting the finishing touches on this album after her husband's death.
Mystery Girl is simply an incredible album featuring a reenergized Roy Orbison easily uniting his unique voice to a modern sound that appealed to any number of ears; the released tracks from this album found ample playing time on both pop rock and country radio stations. Perhaps the first single, You Got It, got too much attention, as it was nearly played to death over the course of the first half of 1989, but that is just a tribute to the wonderful beauty and infectious beat and rhythm of this song co-written by Orbison and Wilbury buddies Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. The second track on the album, In the Real World, marks an abrupt change in tone; bringing to mind Roy's classic song In Dreams; Orbison captures your heard on the first note and soars with it through the clouds that only he possessed the means of exploring. This haunting track is, in my opinion, the best song on the album. Roy decides to rock a little bit on (All I Can Do Is) Dream You before stopping to wax poetic and heartbreaking on the slow ballad A Love So Beautiful, a song featuring a little musical support from co-writer Jeff Lynne and George Harrison. California Blue (another Orbison-Lynne-Petty venture), The Only One, and Windsurfer are great songs in their own right, but special attention must be shown the remaining three tracks. Careless Heart is a beautiful song of love and loss that seems to convey a sense of the type of feelings we felt over the loss of this man taken much too soon from our midst. She's a Mystery To Me, written by U2's Bono and The Edge, presents Roy with a slightly different type of song that he easily makes his own, hitting the high notes perfectly on the choruses. Then there is The Comedians, a song written by Elvis Costello; this is vintage Roy Orbison, delivering a strikingly visual display of betrayal and loss, the very subjects Roy seemed to understand more than any other singer out there.
Mystery Girl is a very special album that Roy Orbison fans will treasure and play often for the rest of our lives. I wish Roy would have lived to see the incredible reception this album received from fans, but one can take comfort in the fact that Orbison left this world on top where he always belonged.
on September 8, 2003
Mystery Girl is a mighty rock album filled with memorable songs of haunting beauty and grace, and it showcases a man at the peak of his powers. The tragedy of it, is that this fine artistic achievement would prove to be Roy Orbison's swansong. Though Orbison enjoyed a successful career spanning back decades, listening to Mystery Girl you almost sense that he saved his best effort for last. These are songs that sound utterly timeless and universally appealing, and they fit Orbison's voice like a glove. In anyone else's hands a song like the momentous ballad 'A Love So Beautiful' might sound cheesy or mawkish, however Orbison delivers it with such conviction, such sincerity, that you can't help but fall under it's spell. Mystery Girl is spearheaded by three brilliant singles in the unforgettable 'You Got It', the quite wonderful 'California Blue' and the spine tingling Bono-donated 'She's A Mystery To Me'. These singles are indicative of the quality of the rest of the album - such is the consistency of it. Also, miraculously, for an album released in 1989 it escapes unscathed from some of the more dubious production qualities of that era. Quite simply, Mystery Girl is the kind of album that speaks to the heart, and would hold up beautifully in any era, any environment, anywhere in the world. It remains one of my favourite albums of all time, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone.
on December 17, 2005
In 1989, the year of this album's release, I worked at a bar on Saturday nights - one of several part-time jobs while working my way through graduate school. The bar had a juke box that would play a random song every 20 minutes if nobody fed it a quarter. Anyway, on one fateful Saturday night, my girlfriend of 4+ years, the true love in my life and the woman I had proposed to, called me while I was working a full bar and broke off our relationship over the phone. It seems that during what had turned into a long-distance relationship, she had met and started sleeping with someone else. I was stunned, my heart crippled beyond description, or at least, I'll spare you. Dutifully I finished my shift and closed the bar, counted the money, and proceeded to clean up. Alone on the half-lit bar floor, ceiling fans slowly whirling above my head, I swept the floor with tears in my eyes, when the juke box kicked on a song I had never heard before. Roy Orbison's "The Only One" started playing. No song that I have ever heard before, or since, could have better fit my exact mood at that moment. It literally dropped my to my knees as I wrung out my sorrow, and to this day it still amazes me that Roy captured those feelings in words. I owned the album within days, and pretty much kept it on my turntable (yes, one of my last purchased vinyls) for a couple of weeks as my heart began to mend.
Sadly, I read of Roy's death the next week and felt as if I had lost a new friend. I've heard his other great tunes, but still, this remains my favorite Orbison album, and it is superbly produced. As with much of his other music, the songs within touch on feelings of love just out of reach, so this wouldn't be a CD you'd put on to get a party rolling. But if you want an amigo when you've been dealt the wrong cards of the heart, give it a spin. And if you're out there in cyberspace Roy, thanks for being there!
on May 29, 2006
You probably already know that Roy got his start at Sun Studios alongside Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. What you may not have known is that there was only ever one true King of Rock 'N' Roll, one real man Man in Black, one singer with Great Balls of Fire, and of course that man was Roy Orbison.
MYSTERY GIRL was Orby's final non-posthumous album and probably his finest ever. Highlights include:
1) The #1 hit "You Got It," which is a kind of sonic sequel to his other greatest up-tempo hit "Oh, Pretty Woman."
2) "She's A Mystery To Me," is right up there with all-time classics like "In Dreams" and "Crying". U2's Bono and The Edge wrote and produced this crowning gem.
3) The soaringly sentimental "Windsurfer" is my favorite lesser-known tune here. Underrated!
4) "A Love So Beautiful" is gut-wrenching in the most pleasant way an listening experience can be gut-wrenching. Uh...
5) Elvis Costello's "The Comedians" tells a poignant tale of betrayal and rejection, and Roy characteristically makes the song his own.
6) Long story short: all songs are good to great. No filler. The album all Roy fans need. Now.
And for all its tales of lost love, ruined dreams, and intoxicating melancholy, MYSTERY GIRL ultimately warms the soul like a shot of smooth whiskey, ages like vintage California Cabernet, and nourishes the soul like a pint of fresh black Guinness. Drink up.
on May 19, 2014
Many re-releases have come out of Roy Orbison over the years, BUT none can come close to the release of Mystery Girl.
Friends, if you get one release of Roys, this is the one, there is so much love and respect in this project from the sons of Roys.
Not only do we get the old tracks remastered which you hear instantly from the first note, to all the new demos and tracks.
The highlight of the project is "The Way Is Love" which is a new track they found, and added their vocals and instruments which became a top notch tune.
Get it friends, you wont be sorry!!!
on March 15, 2005
Mystery Girl had an immediate impact on me upon its release in 1989, and recently I dusted off my CD copy and gave it a spin for the first time in several years. With the immediacy of Roy's sudden tragic passing now long behind me I was able to listen to the album more objectively than in the past, yet it has not lost any of its power. At this stage of Roy's life his voice was surely better than ever. The lower registers were richer and more expressive, his control was finely honed and the high notes were still easily within reach. All this despite the fact he was apparently still a smoker (see [...] for an interesting account that verifies this). Add to this remarkable and unique instrument a strong set of songs that are as close to perfection as any pop album I've ever heard. Thirdly, Jeff Lynne's production wisely eschews the then ubiquitous (and now horribly dated) keyboards-and-sequencing 80s sound in favour of tasteful and haunting arrangements, contributed to by a stellar supporting cast. Everything is in perfect harmony. The production never overwhelms Roy, and Roy never overwhelms the production. He knew precisely how to emote a song, his phenomenal vocal power reserved for just those moments when it was needed. Roy never oversang a song.
When asked to stand apart from the sadness of Roy's death, Mystery Girl endures as a timeless masterpiece of pop perfection. It is evident that a lot of love went into this record, both Roy's love of his craft, and the love that his collaborators had for him.
I remember an interview recorded very shortly before his death where Roy talked about Mystery Girl and mentioned something to the effect of "it's not like this is the only album I'll ever make." These words still haunt me as an Orbison fan, and one can only imagine how far this new path might have taken him had he stuck around.
A startling comeback, and a remarkable swansong.
on February 18, 2015
Exceptional collection; cd, cd and dvd or digital remastered couldn't have been done better; Great job Roy's Boy's! The cd sounds fantastic; the bonus tracks are important for historical value and very great to listen to and add to the experience of the album and where Roy was at in his career; the dvd is incredible! The documentary is a perfect companion to the wilbury's documentary on wilbury's complete set; has a nice flow very relaxed and informative; amazing home video footage and great interviews; The music video portion is just incredible; all the rare and hard to find videos from the album cycle are included with alternative versions as well; everything a fan could ask for; whomever put this together thanks for making it complete and thorough; fans appreciate it! You could tell a lot of effort and care was put into the project since it was mainly put together by his son's/ Easily worth double what they are asking for!