Customer Review

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good songs, but there is a better collection available, January 4, 2003
This review is from: ELO'S Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
I liked Electric Light Orchestra from the very first song I heard on the radio. Putting their music into perspective, I now consider ELO to be Progressive Rock - Light, or heavy pop. Their heavily orchestrated and symphonic works, loaded with electronics and high-pitched vocals, have the trappings of progressive rock, yet were firmly rooted in pop music.
This CD chronicles many of the better known Electric Light Orchestra songs from the 70s, all of which received various amounts of air play. My favorites tend to be the longer compositions, reflecting my enjoyment of progressive rock. "Mr. Blue Sky" starts out like a Beatles song, but progresses quickly into traditional ELO. My all-time favorite ELO song.
"Can't Get It Out of My Head" starts out with wonderfully evocative lyrics:
Midnight on the water.
I saw the ocean's daughter.
Walking on a wave's chicane,
staring as she called my name.
I've never quite understood what this song is about. It mixes surreal images with a section about bank robbery and heroic historic figures that is somewhat confusing to me. I've wondered whether it is just a song about meditating on life and the choices we make, or something else.
"Livin' Thing" starts with an almost Gypsy feeling, then jumps into a pop beat, but then flips back into the Gypsy violin sound. The lyrics again rely on strange imagery versus clearly trying to convey a point.
Enjoying "Strange Magic" is a guilty pleasure. The music is beautiful, and the lyrics are poetic, but the choruses are repetitive and lengthy. The song is easy on the ears, and easy to sing, but there should have been more meat to the lyrics. But the song is still catchy and I enjoy it.
Because of the juxtaposition of lyrics that rely on emotional imagery and flashes of insight barely tasted and music that ranges from near-classical to hard rock, I find it easy to consider that ELO is progressive rock. With the strong pop beat that infuses much of their music, that progressive rock is in a different category from Yes, The Moody Blues, King Crimson and others, but so too are those groups very different from each other. The best way of describing ELO is that they are what might have resulted if The Beatles combined with members of Yes and The Moody Blues. The result can sometimes be a little strange, but for those who enjoy it, this is wonderful music.
If you've heard ELO music somewhere and liked it, you will like this collection of ELO music. It's a great introduction and sampling of the group. It's not comprehensive by any means. For that you will have to look to another collection, such as "Strange Magic: The Best of Electric Light Orchestra", which includes every song in this collection plus another CD's worth. Likely a better buy if you are looking for a more comprehensive collection because that CD is relatively inexpensive.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 22, 2008 11:13:26 PM PDT
I don't think this was meant to evoke a bank robbery image; I think it was meant to say that he WORKED at a bank in the city, and sat there until sundown before he could be free to dream about a different existence again. Thus, the reference to the so-called heroes (Lancelot, et al) not envying his lot in life. The rest of the lyrics represent the strong imagery he daydreams or night-dreams about and longs to experience: beauty, the sea, and so on.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2008 11:18:26 AM PDT
Hello Wendy:

I re-read the lyrics and I think you are right. When I wrote the review I may have been influenced by something else I was watching or reading.

Thank you for your comment!

Lonnie

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2008 12:56:11 PM PDT
Wow--just stumbled across this comment on Yahoo accidentally. I was always curious whether you found it, but now I know--thanks!

Wendy

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2008 6:49:48 PM PDT
You are welcome Wendy!

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 6:44:01 AM PDT
Beatlenik says:
Perhaps it is a little late to add this comment, but I would encourage you, if you have never heard it or do not have it, to buy the remastered Eldorado, A Symphony By The Electric Light Orchestra, from which Can't Get It Out Of My Head is taken. As a stand-alone song, the work is a nice Lennon-esque (Jeff Lynne was best friends with George Harrison and knew John very well, he often intentionally emmulated John's voice) piece, but out of context, the lyrics are very deceiving. Eldorado is a concept album about The Dreamer and uses near-Shakespearean language and dream-like imagery to follow a "voyager" to the other side. In the end, the dreamer is so in love with his dreamscape that he contemplates suicide in order to stay in Eldorado, and we are left guessing as to his demise. The entire Eldorado is a beautiful run-together symphonic suite with no breaks which segues from one dream to another yet lyrically, The Dreamer touches upon many serious conscious thoughts and ideals (for instance the plight of the native American indian, or cost of war). Can't Get It Out Of My Head is the first song after the introduction and is the point at which his escort comes to take him into the dreamscapes. The remastered CD has incredibly good sound and includes a nice readers digest condensed version of the string ensemble's collective work for the "symphony". Eldorado is easily the greatest work ELO ever did. You will find yourself playing it over and over.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2009 7:54:59 PM PDT
beatlenik49:

Thank you for your detailed explanation and recommendation!

Posted on Mar 16, 2011 8:47:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2011 9:02:28 PM PDT
who1zep says:
"I've never quite understood what this song is about." It might help if you started out with the correct lyrics: "Walking on a wave she came" Source: Electric Light Orchestra Anthology, published by United Artists Music, a songbook that includes albums up to Out of the Blue.

I just checked the lyric booklet with my Eldorado gold CD (the Steve Hoffman master) and it reads "wave's chicane," which is just wrong. "Chicane" is defined as "deception" (www.dictionary.com).

Another difference is "Morning don't get here till night" (songbook) versus "Morning don't get here tonight" (CD booklet).

The songbook has every note transcribed and every syllable-per-note separated, so I'd tend to believe it first.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2011 10:09:25 AM PDT
who1zep:

According to the in depth analysis of this song at Jeff Lynne's database, there are apparently two different versions of the lyrics. The first version is "walking on a wave's chicane." The alternate version is "walking on a wave she came." I tend to believe there are several possibilities for the two versions. Jeff Lynne himself may no longer remember what he intended. Perhaps there are two versions of the song. In either case, I have listened to my copy of the album dozens of times and it sounds like "walking on a wave's chicane" to me.

I also note that Jeff Lynne is a very poetic individual. Waves are deceptive in a poetic sense. I could see her walking in a deceptive way, assisted by the wave.

So, as far as getting the lyrics right, I believe I did.

Thank you for your comment!
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