The Electric Light Orchestra skyrocketed into popularity throughout the 1970s with hit songs like, “Mr. Blue Sky,” ”Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Livin’ Thing,” ”Turn to Stone” and “Evil Woman.” Their music reached far beyond its birth place of Birmingham, United Kingdom, as the United States adopted their music with open arms. Sprouting out of a post-Beatlemania age, ELO found fame with a unique and eclectic rock sound. The sound was considered futuristic with their almost magical emphasis on keyboards and electric guitar. Through incorporating a multitude of different instruments in each song, ELO curated music with sounds that had never been used in music before.
The music of EO survived through the decades, making appearances on film soundtracks like “Austin Powers,” “Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind” and “Xanadu.” In an effort to usher in a new generation of music in 2014, ELO became known as Jeff Lynne’s ELO. This is the second album born out of the band’s new era.
Coming out strong as the title track of the album, “From Out of Nowhere” sets the tone for the rest of the album perfectly. An underlying traditional ELO sound is found in this tune with backup singers’ echoes filling up the background and an enchanting mixture between the rhythmic drums and the soulful electric guitar. The lyrics don’t tell a particular story other than a mysterious tale, which could be about the end of a tumultuous love affair. “Let me go/ Let me fly/ To a place that I love/ Let me fly away and start again” is the chorus sung by Lynne himself, and it is repeated quite a few times throughout the song.
“Losing You” is by far the saddest song on the entire album and also the most reminiscent of old ELO. Singing about the loss of an important person, the track is depressing but melodic nonetheless. Through soft words, Lynne sings, “You always gave me everything I ever needed/ Helped me see the hard times through/ Now I’m losing you.” The instruments on the track accompany the solemn words perfectly with a heavy electric guitar and slow drumming. Lynne’s voice is melodic and soft throughout almost the whole song, with a few lyrics sticking out as his tone almost sounds desperate.
This particular tune tips a hat to the ELO fans that have stuck with the band through the decades of music, breakups and short reunions. “One More Time” tells the story of the resurgence of ELO and their new ventures as a band. The lyrics speak to being back on tour singing their old songs once again. “Gonna play those songs again/ It’s the best thing since I don’t know when/ Just one more time/ Come on baby, time to rock and roll,” Lynne sings in an up-beat tone. The song’s intro sounds like a spaceship starting off paying homage to the band’s longtime logo, a massive colorful spaceship that has appeared on almost every album cover since 1977.
“Time of Our Life” is the fastest paced song of the entire album, though it is significantly mellow compared to vintage ELO tracks. The lyrics of the song describe the night that Jeff Lynne’s ELO played Wembley Stadium in 2017 in front of nearly 60,000 people. There is even a clip of a roar of a crowd included within the song itself. “This could be the best night I’ve ever seen/ The whole of Wembley singin’ along/ To every little song,” Jeff Lynne sings alongside a calm but up-beat guitar and drum combination. The band even put out a music video for the song using clips from the actual Wembley show.
The final track of the album “Songbird” has a deep and bluesy feel to it. The guitar and drums in the background strum a soulful melody that gives the lyrics even more depth. The song is about a lover returning, and with her return bringing happiness and relief. As if Lynne’s heavy and trademark blues voice in this song wasn’t enough, there is also a backup track of singers cooing throughout the background. “She sings her lovely song to me/ My songbird came home/ Now my troubles are gone,” Lynne sings in the final lyrics of the song.
This album fit perfectly in the ELO discography and reinforced the new age of the band and their future. While this may be the end of the ELO reunion, they are still enjoying every second of this new image. With prospects of a possible tour on the horizon, Jeff Lynne’s ELO has made their way back into the rock 'n' roll scene even after all these years.