Someone did me a favor by stealing my earlier copy of this CD. I ended up buying another one from Amazon.com, and this time around is better than the first time! While ELO was becoming a huge commercial success, but just before they quite figured out how to make a big...
Someone did me a favor by stealing my earlier copy of this CD. I ended up buying another one from Amazon.com, and this time around is better than the first time!
While ELO was becoming a huge commercial success, but just before they quite figured out how to make a big orchestra rock and roll, that''s when Face The Music appeared. The album had elements that would appeal to fans of ELO''s earlier music (including the famous reverse-tracking intro to "Fire On High"), several songs that were clearly pop-oriented for mass appeal, and a handful of lovely but seemingly gratuitous short string interludes between songs.
The net effect was rather like meeting another family one time while on vacation somewhere. Afterward, overall, you may have vaguely pleasant recollections of them, if reminded of a few specific details about how the kids behaved or how the mother fixed her pasta salad or how the father loved to tell stories about his career in grocery wholesaling...but their last name just never springs to mind in the course of a typical day.
Face The Music is like that. There''s no way you can ever forget hearing "Evil Woman" or "Strange Magic" or "Poker" or "Night Rider." But you may forget that they were all on the same album, along with other excellent material like the painfully beautiful "Waterfall" and "One Summer Dream." There wasn''t a clinker in the bunch--with the possible exception of "Down Home Town," which must surely be an acquired taste.
So...why am I glad someone stole my first CD of this album? Because, for largely incomprehensible reasons, when CBS released Face The Music on CD the first time, they butchered it!
The intro to "Fire On High" was gone. So were those seemingly gratuitous orchestral interludes...which, once made conspicuous by their absence, actually turned out to be the glue that held the songs together as a unified whole.
Fortunately, between those Dark Ages and now, someone prevailed upon CBS Records to put back the missing material. It''s now the same album as when it was originally released by United Artists way back in 1975, lovingly transferred to digital form. It''s been made whole again!
The only drawback to the CD is that you can''t truly play it backwards on average CD players, and thereby listen to the supposed secret message that seems to have so terrified the CBS executives.
For those who haven''t heard it and don''t have analog means of reversing the track, you''re missing things like footsteps running backward down a hallway, and a pingpong ball eerily bouncing in reverse time. Then comes a warning--seemingly intoned by Peter Ford-Robertson, although not credited--that says: "The music is reversible, but time is not. Turn back. Turn back. Turn back." (Which is the meaning, from Greek, of the word "repent." Not exactly a satanic message, if I read my New Testament correctly!) And in the old days, of course, if you didn''t turn back right then, the needle would drop off the end of the groove.
This CD is the best opportunity to hear Face The Music the way it was meant to be, and the way you remember it being. Just like traveling back in time to get reacquainted with those nice folks you met on vacation once upon a time...