Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Jeff Lynne's New One
New music from Jeff Lynne is as rare as good music from Rod Stewart these days. So when I first heard of a new Jeff Lynne record I just about plotzed. Seconds later when I found out it was a collection of covers, coupled with a companion release of rerecorded ELO tunes (more publishing issues), I thought, "Well, so much for Jeff Lynne."
I don't hate "Long Wave." Looking at the tracklist, it's hard to believe I bothered listening at all. But I'm a fan through and through. Idle Race, The Move, ELO, Wilburys...I love it all. I had to give it a shot, even with the umpteenth unnecessary version of "At Last" and a cover of Don Covay's "Mercy, Mercy" that did nothing for me two weeks prior.
Thing is this, if you're not a fan of the Electric Light Orchestra or of Jeff Lynne's very distinctive fart sound, snare drum production, maybe you should just move on. But, if you are a fan of beautiful harmonies and jangly guitars and the ELO hits of the 70's, "Long Wave" delivers...surprisingly...on almost of its ridiculously short running time of 28 minutes.
Lynne can still sing and his ear for harmony is still sharp, so songs like Charles Aznavour's "She" and standards like "If I Loved You" from "Carousel" and "Bewitched, Bothered, & Bewildered" from "Pal Joey" do not come off as novelty. These songs meant something to Lynne growing up and he respects them. Same with the Everlys "So Sad" and Roy Orbison's "Running Scared." I was impressed and truly taken aback by how much I enjoyed what I originally had plans to trash.
The only missteps are Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock" which seems to end abruptly, as if it was an afterthought and the aforementioned "At Last." I don't care what that song means to Jeff, he should have had the foresight to just not release another damn version.
It's hard to recommend "Long Wave" for obvious reasons, but as I already stated, if you're a fan of the man, this is absolutely worth 28 minutes of your time.