The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, Vol. 2:
Ticket to the Moon
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2008, Volume 15, #2
Written by John Metzger
Mon February 4, 2008, 02:00 PM CST
Considering the sheer number of hits that Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) had in its career, itís not surprising that the ensemble has issued a slew of career retrospectives. Of these, The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra: All Over the World arguably is the best. As well rounded and neatly sequenced as it was, however, there still were a few key tracks that had been left by the wayside. Not surprisingly, these tunes, which most notably include Canít Get It Out of My Head and Do Ya, largely provide the justification for the second installment of the series, which is subtitled Ticket to the Moon. Unfortunately, a sizable portion of the new endeavor also pales in comparison.
All of the key elements that defined ELOís sound are present on Ticket to the Moon, of course: Last Train to London illustrates how well the group fit into the disco era, and guiding force Jeff Lynneís love of the Beach Boys and The Beatles is highlighted on songs such as Heaven Only Knows and Four Little Diamonds. Elsewhere, there are nods to David Bowie (Eldorado) and the Alan Parsons Project (the retrospectiveís title track). Nevertheless, unlike its predecessor, the set struggles, at times, to find a rhythm.
Lynne clearly was running short of ideas during ELOís final decade, and Ticket to the Moon suffers immensely because of it. As a result, some of its tracks are awkwardly juxtaposed. The ambient noises that lead from the final notes of Twilight, for example, come to an abrupt halt right before the crunchy guitars of Do Ya burst onto the scene, and the sequencing just doesnít make sense. This, however, is merely a symptom of the bigger issue. To put it simply, All Over the World contained so many of the singles that ELO created during its peak that there wasnít much left from which to assemble a second endeavor.
Itís true that anyone who grew up during the 1980s likely will remember many of the tunes on Ticket to the Moon, but it is equally telling that 13 of the collectionís 20 tracks were issued after ELO peaked in 1977 with its double-album Out of the Blue. While songs like So Serious, Calling America, and Latitude 88 North are capable of standing on their own, they also simply are too much alike to function within the context of a single disc. These are, after all, the sorts of pieces that Lynne could write in his sleep. Ticket to the Moon, then, plays like the second mix tape to be built around a particular set of themes and ideas. By the same token, although it was created after the core stock of material already had been depleted, thereís something to be said for the fact that it still fares better than many of ELOís latter day efforts.
The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, Vol. 2: Ticket to the Moon is
available from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box