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Balance Of Power

4.2 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 4, 2010
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Heaven Only Knows
  2. So Serious
  3. Getting to the Point
  4. Secret Lives
  5. Is It Alright
  6. Sorrow About to Fall
  7. Without Someone
  8. Calling America
  9. Endless Lies
  10. Send It
  11. Opening
  12. Heaven Only Knows
  13. In for the Kill
  14. Secret Lives
  15. Sorrow About to Fall
  16. Caught in a Trap
  17. Destination Unknown

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 4, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: May 4, 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Run Time: 56 minutes
  • ASIN: B003W77SAI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,720 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven C. Schalk on March 1, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I missed the ELO boat by a good 15 years or so, having been born in 1987, but I've been listening to Jeff & Co. forever since my father's a huge fan. I've always thought Balance of Power was the weakest album of the bunch (I did like just about everything from "Heaven Only Knows" through "Sorrow About to Fall." Not so much "Endless Lies" and "Send It.") but Sony's really managed to come through and give Balance of Power the shot of adrenaline it's needed the last 21 years.

The packaging itself would be enough for me to grab it[...]. Unlike the picture featured here with a faded, almost orange cover, the Jewel Case has a brilliant Tornado Red (akin to my former '98 VW Jetta) booklet with a plethora of archived goodness. The CD itself has a rather sharp looking blue theme that contrasts really well with the red case.

The original 10 tracks at last have the power befitting of ELO, albeit minus the strings. The bonus tracks are really what make this album a winner. "Opening"/"Heaven Only Knows (Alternate Take)" are up there as possibly one of the best 4 minutes of music Jeff's ever written. I can't imagine why this was dropped in favor of the 1986 cut of HOK (always liked it anyway). "In For the Kill" and "Caught in a Trap" sound fantastic, but could very easily be an alternate set of lyrics set to the same music; more or less the same sound but both great pieces in their own right. The alternate mixes of "Secret Lives" and "Sorrow About to Fall" absolutely top their 1986 counterparts, hands down. And finally there's a CD with "Destination Unknown" that isn't a bloody compilation album (even though we've got all of them anyhow).

This Remastered Edition brings it to the table then proceeds to liquefy your mind in the fantastic way only ELO can do and smokes a cigarette afterwards. It's worth every cent of the cover price. [...]
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Format: Audio CD
It has been noted repeatedly here that BALANCE OF POWER is ELO sans the orchestra. As such, it is both a document of its times (the mid-80s) and somewhat weaker for it. "There's a sorrow about to fall," Jeff Lynne ominously intones on this 1986 album. And he was correct...this was the last Electric Light Orchestra album on which Lynne has appeared until 2001's superb ZOOM. Lyrically, BALANCE OF POWER anticipates the break-up, and reflects ELO's declining commercial fortunes: "Can it really be so serious/To be all broken up and delirious/I guess we've really been out of touch/But can it really be so serious?" Lynne asks on the sharp, new-wavey "So Serious" (a classic, must hear track). In ELO's best 80s ballad, "Getting to the Point," Jeff seems sadly resigned: "All I can do is watch it burn, burn, burn." The saxophone may be startling to some ELO purists, but it's a fantastic piece of work all the same and suits the track perfectly. "Without Someone" is another lonely, lovely ballad about loss. "Heaven Only Knows" and "Secret Lives" are upbeat pop numbers, and "Endless Lies" is fairly adventurous musically. "Send It" is a great fast-paced country song with some vintage Jeff Lynne production touches. The biggest hit here, and definitely a classic pop standard, is "Calling America," which is essentially keyboard based with a nice guitar solo. The harmonies are very sweet indeed on this cut, and if it is destined to be ELO's "TOP 40" swansong, then it's a nice one to go out on. The album itself inexplicably stalled at #49 on BILLBOARD's album charts. Perhaps it was "out of touch" with the prevailing "hair band" ethic of the day (remember Bon Jovi, Warrant, Cinderella, Poison, et al?). Forget the chart numbers...this is a very well done pop album that's still "music to my ears." Take it for what it is; if you are looking for the big orchestral sound, it's not here. But if you want smart, concise, well-crafted pop gems, this CD has what you are looking for.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jeff Lynne had wanted to quit recording albums under the ELO name for some time. He felt that the formula for ELO was limiting his abilities as a songwriter/producer. He stepped forward with a fine final album. "Balance of Power" has a handful of terrific songs including the great "Calling America". This exapnded edition features alternate mixes of "Heaven Only Knows" with a introduction (put on as a separate track)that was missing from the final album and "Secret Lives"(an alternate take) that are better than the final released versions in my opinion. "Sorrow About to Fall" is an alternate mix of the album track.

We also get two sublime b-sides "Destination Unknown" and "Caught in a Trap". The songs were previous released on the first ELO boxed set but rightfully regain their place next to the stronger tracks on this next-to-last ELO album. When Lynne would return as ELO only Richard Tandy would play on "Zoom". Here the band is a trio of Lynne, long time drummer Bev Bevan (who also was a member of the Move with Lynne and the only member on every album by ELO except "Zoom")and long-time collaborator Richard Tandy playing keyboards and sythesizer strings. Lynne plays both guitar and bass.

Although the production and use of electronic drums date the album, they add a charm to the album. While this is far from my favorite ELO album, Lynne's best qualities as a songwriter--a strong sense of melody, creative arrangements and production touches dominate the album.

You can also hear the influence of Steve Winwood's "Arc of A Diver" and "Back in the High Life Again" with Richard Tandy playing a sythesizer with a similar sound to Winwood's on the popular singles from those albums.

I'd give "Balance of Power" 3 1/2 stars with the addition of the alternate mixes/versions and the inclusion of the two fine B-sides.
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