In this week’s throwback, we revisit a band of British rock royalty: Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Originally released in 1983, Secret Messages is the band’s last album to reach the worldwide top 40. The 17-track extravaganza has now been released on vinyl for the first time in its entirety and more.
35 years on: what’s different this time round?
Apart from finally having a vinyl release, 6 tracks have been added to the album this year. These 6 tracks were previously intended to be added to Secret Messages, but ended up being spread across later albums instead. The 6 additions include “No Way Out,” a film noir-style track with its bass and eerie guitar, and “Endless Lies,” which includes some epic ballad vocals from mastermind Jeff Lynne. The mammoth “Hello My Old Friend” is the album’s mellow addition with some stunning strings. It really takes you on a roller coaster of fear, farewells and pure emotion. However, my favourite addition has to be the uplifting “Buildings Have Eyes,” which helps me foot-tap my way to a better mood!
As we can now see, the Secret Messages album was originally going to be more varied and extensive. Now let’s go through some of the original tracks from the album to see what was so enjoyable about it.
The original Secret Messages
The album starts with “Secret Messages,” with its glorious of new wave synths and 80s guitar. The soft and spirited voice of Jeff Lynne is perfect accompaniment to the music. All of the track’s components work perfectly together to create the cosmic atmosphere ELO are impeccable at. It really is the ultimate cosmic flight! “Stranger” is another beautiful track that really captures the emotions around magical yet fleeting moments. Similarly, “Take Me On and On” has some mellow melodies that really make you tingle.
There are also a number of rock tracks that are very reminiscent of some of the band’s biggest hits. “Bluebird” is a track more comparable to hits such as “Sweet Talking Woman.” ELO’s classic sound is also heard in “Danger Ahead,” a brilliant rock exhibition with its catchy and jovial guitar riffs. “Rock & Roll is King” is the album’s tribute to classic Rock ‘n’ Roll – it is both catchy and joyful.
Also, the album had a couple of surprises in store. One of the most bizarre, energetic, and catchy tracks on the album is “Four Little Diamonds.” Then there is “Train of Gold,” which has hints of funk and disco – and its electric guitar solo is definitely a highlight! In “Loser Gone Wild,” we not only get synths, but also a few jazz verses which exude mystery and magic. However, we are then stunned with the jovial and clapping chorus, which sounds more like a bizarre interlude! This somewhat musical spasm really shows off Jeff Lynne’s versatility and his ability to surprise you with completely different rhythms and tempos.
The sound of Electric Light Orchestra is timeless, and their rock stamp is very much alive and well.
From Sophia With Love x