If there’s anything life has taught me, it’s that I can always make something out of nothing. I’ve found taking chances to be extremely intoxicating, especially when it revolves around things that scare me. When you let your creativity run wild, the more people you’re able to connect with, and I believe that kind of philosophy is what ignited the long-standing spirit of Electric Light Orchestra.
ELO is nothing short of a full on experience. They’re anything but subtle, and they are definitely not afraid to go a little crazy. I’m having a hard time referring to Out of the Blue as just an album, as it seems to make more sense presented as an elaborate production. Its sound is loud and colorful — something that feels bigger than the music other musicians were making at the time of its release in 1977. It’s music you can see, not just hear.
I love music that opens up my mind. I often catch myself listening to the same bands; singing along to the same songs, so it’s really refreshing to dive into an album full of tunes I had never really taken the time to get to know before. In fact, the only songs I knew prior to listening to Out of the Blue in full were Sweet Talkin’ Woman and Turn to Stone. Don’t judge me, all you ELO super fans!
Out of the Blue is a beautifully dressed double vinyl — the first of its kind released in the UK. As one of the group’s best selling albums of all time, it’s quite long, but it doesn’t really feel that way. I truly am a great-grandma at heart, and sometimes I get a little sleepy after lunch. The day I listened to this album in its entirety, however, I felt like I had three shots of the strongest Italian espresso known to the Motherland. There’s so much happening, it’s impossible to be bored.
The coolest thing about this ELO is their experimental attitude. They’re all about going over the top with special effects. Out of the Blue feels kind of scattered. Not really in a bad way, but the way it’s organized seems nontraditional. It feels spontaneous, and the intense intros and outros of almost every song, especially Night in the City, are reminiscent to me of The Who’s Quadrophenia.
ELO has the ability to make even a sad song sound happy and carefree. It’s Over is a bummer, but also a nice reminder that it’s all going to be alright. Steppin’ Out gave me serious Pink Floyd vibes. Besides its dreamy chorus, the lyrics of this song are sung with what seems almost like a hallucinatory effect. I like it because it makes me feel like I’m travelling through space.
Jungle is by far the most wild song on Out of the Blue. There is so much going on; cowbell, cellos, violins, electronic synthesizers and plenty of hoots and hollers — it’s like you really are in the jungle! ELO sure knows how to pick the perfect song title.
Standin’ in the Rain, the first out of four songs that make up the Concerto for a Rainy Day musical suite on Side 3, is a very cool song. Listen to it with headphones on and tell me that it’s not intense. The rain sounds crystal clear, which makes sense, because it’s real! Jeff Lynne recorded actual rain to create the effect. They even bust out a fire extinguisher on Mr. Blue Sky! I like how just when you think the song is over, it starts back up. The entire side is a very fun addition to this album.
ELO is an impressive band, on a zillion different levels. The amount of creativity that goes into finding the perfect placement of each sound and special effect, makes Out of the Blue a very enjoyable album. Thinking about its creation seems overwhelming, yet Jeff Lynne and his band make it seem effortless.