Monday, November 20, 2017

Wembley or Bust (2017), by Jeff Lynne’s ELO

What more can I say that hasn’t already been said, not just about this live album but any of Jeff Lynne’s work, especially concerning Electric Light Orchestra?

Jeff Lynne is one of those artists whose music most people most likely will like, regardless of whether or not they are fans, and this is one of those albums that they most likely will like as well.

This is a great-sounding recording of Lynne’s performance in front of a 60,000-capacity crowd at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2017, with tuneful hit after tuneful hit after tuneful hit – 23 in all over two CDs and comprising one hour and 40 minutes of sonic bliss.

Of those, I can probably distill the album down to my top 10 for a compact personal playlist. However, there’s no point in me highlighting what those are, because every scintillating track here radiates accessible pop-hook brilliance.

I will say that Lynne’s cover of George Harrison’s “Handle with Care,” from Harrison and Lynne’s all-star supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, especially stands out. The only other person who comes as close to emulating Harrison’s voice and spirit – besides Harrison’s son, Dhani – is Lynne.

This is as delectable and delightful a pop confection as there ever could be, served up infectiously with both style and substance as only Jeff Lynne inimitably can.

--Raj Manoharan

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