Known as Producer To The Stars for much of the 90s, Jeff Lynne has worked his revitalizing magic for the likes of Harrison, Dylan, McCartney, Orbison, Petty and numerous others. So, in 2001, it only made sense for the ever-present ‘right hand man’ to reassert his independence via his own legacy… ELO. This 2001 version of the “official” Electric Light Orchestra is, in reality, a Lynne solo album, but it’s still a fascinating listen. With the production and big project experience he’d acquired since the last “official” ELO (1986’s Lynne-led Balance Of Power), Zoom – on paper, anyway – should have been a monster. Instead, coming out just prior to 9/11, the album’s commercial viability was dead on arrival. Curiously, it’s the production itself that I question most. Lynne’s laid back, moderately-grooved, Wilburian charm works wonders supporting Tom Petty (who “Melting In The Sun” seems to mimic) but lacks ELO’s famous pop buoyancy and spirited, ‘steal-anything’ abandon. In fact, while most of the music here sports definable, well-written hooks and immediately recognizable harmonies, the energy sounds, uh… somehow “mature.” Pop’s kiss of death? At least Zoom doesn’t sound desperate, and repeated listens will offer plenty of rewards, like the lovely “cry baby cry” lift that totally defines “Lonesome Lullaby,” or Lynne’s channeling of Graham Nash’s simplistic style for “Ordinary Dream.” Lynne’s still got the chops. Always has, probably always will. His production, however, while good enough for the superstar Traveling Wilburys, just isn’t good enough for the great ELO. Personally, I’d like to hear him take one more crack at it. A swing for the fences that I’m confident Jeff Lynne is still capable of. It’s at Amazon, HERE and there’s a live tour DVD, HERE.
Moment In Paradise (3:36)
State Of Mind (3:05)
Just For Love (3:40)
Stranger On A Quiet Street (3:41)
In My Own Time (3:04)
Easy Money (2:51)
It Really Doesn’t Matter (3:20)
Ordinary Dream (3:24)
A Long Time Gone (3:16)
Melting In The Sun (3:11)
All She Wanted (3:14)
Lonesome Lullaby (4:02)
One Day (Bonus Track)
Turn To Stone (Live From CBS Television City) (Bonus Track)
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