Listening in Depth to ELO’s Masterpiece – A New World Record

More Albums with Key Tracks for Critical Listening

  • If like us you’re a fan of Arty Rock from the ’70s, this is a killer album from 1976 that belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1976 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

As a result of Jeff Lynne’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production approach, it will be the rare copy that provides enough transparency and resolution to bring out all the elements in these incredibly dense mixes, strings included. But when you find a copy that does, what a THRILL it is. This is the band’s MASTERPIECE in my humble opinion. For audiophiles ELO on LP doesn’t get any better.

In-Depth Track Commentary

Side One

Tightrope

Both sides start off with a uptempo rocker, and this side’s is Tightrope.

Watch your string tone. If it’s shrill or grainy you are going to find yourself in trouble on practically every song on A New World Record — they all have strings and lots of them.

You need richness in the lower mids, harmonic extension up top, and just plain highly resolving sound if the strings are going to sound right in the mix.

Note that sometimes the highs get better on a record as it plays. Check to see if you don’t have more top end by the second track, or even halfway through this one. Happens to us all the time.

Telephone Line

My single favorite ELO song of all time. Full of emotion and beautifully produced. Lynne is the master of this kind of material.

Allmusic raves: “Telephone Line might be the best Lennon-McCartney collaboration that never was, lyrical and soaring in a way that manages to echo elements of Revolver and the Beatles without ever mimicking them.”

Rockaria!
Mission (A World Record)

Side Two

So Fine

The side gets off to a good start with this rocker.

Livin’ Thing

Another monster smash single that still holds up.

Above the Clouds
Do Ya

Written in 1971 for The Move, this is the arrangement that made it a hit.

Shangri-La