11 November 2013

11th November - The Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed

Artist – Album: The Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed
Released: 11th November 1967
Sounds Like: File this one under: what-on-Earth-is-it?!

1967 may have been the year of tie-dyed psychedelia, the Summer of Love, and the gorging of a harmless little drug named LSD, but even in those turned on, tuned in and dropped out days the Quasimodo-esque figure of Prog Rock was beginning to rear its ugly head. The original concept was the admirable (read: conceited) notion of producing a higher form of music – merging wild rock and roll and disposable pop music with the sophisticated airs and graces of classical music – but it wasn’t long before it morphed into the hulking, unmanageable monster of Yes, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Days of Future Passed, with its orchestral song-cycle and team up with the London Festival Orchestra, stands as something of a missing link in the embryonic evolution of Prog.

The album begins with ‘The Day Begins’, a track that surprises on first listen and which features spoken word poetry and the virtually omnipresent orchestra. From then on the album is a strange amorphous beast, delving into psychedelic rock, earnest balladry and baroque art pop in a stately procession, culminating in the lush melodrama of ‘Nights in White Satin’. Unfortunately, where once this eclecticism and use of orchestra would’ve seemed revolutionary and ground-breaking, today the record is just difficult to get your head around. Some of the more experimental pieces sound like the soundtrack to a cheap Merchant Ivory costume drama, and at one point (I think it was in ‘Dawn Is A Feeling’, though it’s hard to say as the unifying orchestra breaks down the individual songs into one big knotty muddle) I’m sure I could hear pan pipes play carousel music.

The Passed being a different country and all that, I think that to fully appreciate this album – like a lot of things that happened in 1967 – you had to be there.

Albumaday... rating: 5/10

1.       The Day Begins – 5:45
2.       DAWN: Dawn Is A Feeling – 3:50
3.       THE MORNING: Another Morning – 3:40
4.       LUNCH BREAK: Peak Hour – 5:21
5.       THE AFTERNOON: Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?) – 8:25
6.       EVENING: The Sun Set: Twilight Time – 6:39
7.       THE NIGHT: Nights in White Satin – 7:41

Listen to ‘Nights in White Satin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdykXAT19Go

Also released on the 11th November:
1992: Denim – Back in Denim

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