|Why Am I listening to ELO's Discovery Album so much lately?
||[Apr. 30th, 2012|05:43 pm]
For years ELO's Discovery album represented to me the moment when Jeff Lynne and company totally sold out and went completely disco. Granted, some of their previous albums had disco-like qualities but they were unique and distinct enough to avoid the dreaded "disco" label. However, this album...this...thing...cast off any pretensions and blatantly declared "Hey, I'm disco. Deal with it.". For a long time I didn't deal with it. Now, I guess I have. At the very least I am listening to that album a lot lately.
I bought the album when it came out (actually I got the cassette tape) and played it for the first time among two of my friends ("J" and "C"). Initially we all reserved comment and suspended judgment until the album was over just so we could hear the album uninterrupted. When it was over the mood was reserved but generally positive. Keep in mind that the three of us generally hated disco with a passion and so we, big ELO fans, were troubled with what we heard. "C" was particularly disgusted by "Last Train to London" and "Shine a Little Love" but not all of the songs in the album had the disco beat. "The Diary of Horace Wimp", for example, was well-liked by "C" and he could forgive the disco elements of the album if he focused on these non-disco songs. "J" and I were less forceful in our opinions. We both were uncomfortable with the disco influence in he album but we weren't ready to condemn it...yet.
Unlike "C" I was (and still am) unable to form a definitive opinion on an album on just the first listen. I need to listen to it three or four times and then mull over it for a while before coming to a conclusion. And that's exactly what I did years ago. After the fourth listen I decided that I could not reconcile the disco songs with the rest of the album. So I put the album (OK, cassette) back in the shelf with the rest of ELO's tapes and almost never listened to it again. I dubbed it ELO's worst album ever and lamented the decline of ELO. Every once in a while I would wonder if I was too hasty in my conclusion and play the tape again only to quickly hit the "eject" button and put the tape back on the shelf.
When the album came out on CD I bought it but mostly because I am a completest and I wanted to make sure my ELO collection was complete even with that turd in the bunch. Heck, I even got the remastered DVD years later. However, other than a test to make sure the CD was working, I never really listened to the album. My disdain for disco was still strong after all those years.
Now? Not so much. It's been many decades since Discovery came out and, in my mind, Disco is no longer that hated affront to all things musical. As a result I've been listening to the album quite a bit lately. The disco songs make me cringe a little bit but I'm more amused now than embarrassed or angry. Despite the pandering to Disco, the album has a number of really good songs in it and I generally like it now. Some of the songs make me feel happy when I listen to them and that's a good thing.
So, Discovery is no longer ELO's worst album.That dishonor now belongs to Zoom which, even ten years after it came out, I still cringe when I listen to it. **shudder*
ELO did redeem themselves, however, when they produced the album Time. It's a damn fine album and it is comparable to the likes of Eldorado. Considering that Eldorado is my all time favorite ELO album, that's high praise indeed.