Time: The Concept & Best Moments Jul 12, 2020 23:51:47 GMT
Post by ole on Jul 12, 2020 23:51:47 GMT
The last album ELO made that I personally consider to be solid all the way through (Eldorado - Time). What is fascinating is that ELO managed to take their sound from, at the time, disco-pop to a fusion of rock, pop, new wave and somehow managed to fit an orchestra on some of the tracks. It's even nicer that the story line in this concept album has more continuity and is easier to piece all the tracks together lyrically. Each track stood out in some way, for better or for worse and they are overall shorter so you can fit more material in the mix. You'll never really run into the problem of having songs drag on. There has been the criticism of Another Heart Breaks being too stale, but hear me out, I'll try and help justify its placement which may make it sound better in the overall album.
Same for Hold on Tight not fitting into the story. Let's begin:
The definitive track list of Time has to be its double album configuration initially mentioned elsewhere on the forum, though it has an Achilles heel - two unreleased tracks and possibly other differences that we aren't aware of. I guess its TIME for us to do what we did with Secret Messages in some way - piecing the album together ourselves, with small things, such as interludes being up in the air. But now, we have the opportunity to either fill the spots with other songs as placeholders or leave the unreleased track spots blank. Your choice.
The double album track list is as follows:
3. YOURS TRULY, 2095
4. TICKET TO THE MOON
5. THE WAY LIFE'S MEANT TO BE
1. WHEN TIME STOOD STILL
2. JULIE DON'T LIVE HERE
3. [unreleased #1]
4. ANOTHER HEART BREAKS
1. RAIN IS FALLING
2. FROM THE END OF THE WORLD
3. THE LIGHTS GO DOWN
4. HERE IS THE NEWS
1. 21st CENTURY MAN
2. THE BOUNCER
3. [unreleased #2]
4. HOLD ON TIGHT
Alright. Now that we have that, let's dive into the concept and I'll explain my interpretation of it.
With the sounds of distortions and synthesized chimes fading in, it appears that our protagonist has arrived in the year 2095. It is not clearly mentioned how exactly he's come here but alas here he is. The lyrics also don't appear to be from the point of view of the protagonist or speaking to them but rather a separate entity speaking to the listener directly, giving us a quick introduction of the future. This entity has a message from another time. I always like to assume the "message" from another time is the story of our hero about to be told.
Now we learn about 2095, in a time where darkness and light are one, hence twilight. How are darkness and light the same? Well my theory is that our hero starts their journey on Satellite 2, a futuristic satellite orbiting Earth. So perhaps there is a different atmosphere there, with a different sky. The lyrics do mention "open skies" but these ambiguous lyrics are what make this album so fun. Our hero really is mainly trying to comprehend everything around them in this song, as we all would if we were in that predicament.
"YOURS TRULY, 2095"
Our hero is trying to adjust to the times, driving the latest hover car and sending messages between time, though he is still trying to believe everything around them. He meets a robot who looks like this girl who he loved in 1981. She looks like her and does the things she would do, but ultimately is not her. She can read our hero's mind and already sense the uncertainty he's facing with the concept of living the remainder of his life in the future. Is that what he wants?
"TICKET TO THE MOON"
This song helps the idea that our hero is actually initially on Satellite 2, not Earth. The lyrics even mention the flight leaves from Satellite 2. The hero begins to reflect on how things were just easier back in 1981, now he has a ticket in his hand about to fly to the moon. Lyrics mention that they'll be rising high above the earth, but I don't feel this means that he is actually on Earth but rather our hero will finally get to see Earth in full from space between Satellite 2 and the Moon. As such, its the start of the protagonist's desire to return to his home and see what has since changed, knowing that for certain it has. Obviously he takes the trip as you hear mission control in the fade out. I imagine that the moon is only way to return to Earth, which is where he ends up in the next track.
"THE WAY LIFE'S MEANT TO BE"
Now our hero is on Earth and he's come a long way just to be here today. Considering that all of the events leading to this have only happened in a day proves that our hero is definitely in the future, lol. He is arriving into his town where memories rush in. But everything is so different now, he begins to ask - is this the way life's meant to be? The protagonist has only just arrived and already wants to go back home to 1981. He also confesses that he'd rather "see their face instead of this place, now I know what you mean to me." Did our hero and his partner get in some sort of fight and maybe even break off their relationship before he suddenly disappeared? Perhaps that's why he falls for a robot soon after arriving but yet he still thinks of her. Considering that our hero is changing their mind on living in a situation like this, its a fitting end to the first side of the album that has given much exposition.
"WHEN TIME STOOD STILL"
With the longing for 1981 starting to set in, this side opening track describes the isolation our hero begins to really feel as they continue through the town. It's almost if everything that they once knew was removed from existence. Even history as our hero knew it seems to be gone, as if they are in an entirely new world. Very melancholy, but is a well-painted picture.
"JULIE DON'T LIVE HERE"
After a long wander through the town, the protagonist finally arrives in the neighborhood of their partner Julie, only to find that she is no longer there. She moved away many years before, and many is right. Probably the saddest song of the entire album, as Julie is really the only thing our hero mentions throughout the album, and she's no longer with him. Sort of funny that this song is rather upbeat..
The first mystery. We don't know much about this song but some on the forum have mentioned a song called "Sad Affair" that an engineer for the Time sessions recalled. The lyrics they remembered describe a sort of break-up message between the protagonist and Julie. A very fitting placement whereas it would not work in the second unreleased track's spot. So given the little information we have, I'd say this is where our protagonist tries to come to terms with the fact that Julie would live the rest of her life without our hero. Assuming they did break-up just prior to the events of the album, it's best to assume our hero has a lot of remorse here.
"ANOTHER HEART BREAKS"
Side 2 has been the chapter of our hero returning to a familiar place only to find that its anything but. So after a long day of wandering, our hero walks alone at night heading for a place to sleep. The song, like I mentioned on another thread, is a melancholy tune that fits if you put it in this double album configuration. Think of our hero strolling the night-time streets, kicking pavement pebbles when he sees them, all the while he reflects on his current state, sort of trying to process everything that he's endured since his arrival and the pain that has come with it. At the end of the song, our hero finally rests, closing side 2. I admit that I much prefer this song to follow "Julie Don't Live Here" since that's arguably the saddest song for our hero as opposed to "The Way Life's Meant to Be." Give it a try, maybe it'll fit better this way.
"RAIN IS FALLING"
Opening Side 3, this pretty tune has our protagonist waking and thinking of Julie. But then it starts to rain, preventing him from going outside to continue his journey. Watching the rain fall out his window, it showcases all-emcompassing loneliness for our hero. But with rain comes sunshine, right? Perhaps it'll wash away his lonely tears. Eventually our hero makes note of the time transporter, brand new! They'll think maybe he fought to get away... hm, what could this mean? Is our hero suggesting he'll somehow use the new time transporter to return home? If so, how will he get it? If they can invent a time transporter then surely he can return home, but yet here he is, watching the rain fall. Nevertheless, it opens the possibility of returning home.
"FROM THE END OF THE WORLD"
This one is interesting. Our protagonist is in distress and now tries to contact Julie directly, almost sounding if he blames her for his situation. Perhaps he is trying to meet her in his dreams. That's what the lyrics suggest. Frustration. But truly, our hero deserves to let off at least SOME steam. This is quite a trip after all. I love that last bit of the song, where he yells "from the end of the world!" and the synthesizer goes crazy. Our hero is going mad. Luckily, he eventually cools down.
"THE LIGHTS GO DOWN"
After blowing off some steam, our hero recognizes that he needs to leave and make things right some way and somehow. Is it even possible to use the time transporter? No matter what our hero thinks on, all seem hopeless. There is some degree of self-respect though, our hero mentions he'll have to carry on even though Julie isn't around. But then again, the next track comes at a surprise.
"HERE IS THE NEWS"
This one stands out from "The Way Life's Meant to Be" and "Another Heart Breaks" in that it's an side closer but doesn't fade out on the single album, instead includes an interlude. But a detail I noticed was just before the cutoff of this track, there's an explosion-like sound. Could something have been here on the double album? Well if so, then this song becomes quite epic under certain speculations. The news bulletins are discussing current events, none of them being from the perspective of our hero except for one line. We hear about the cure for rocket lag. And then we immediately hear that someone left their life behind in a plastic bag. Could this our protagonist? If so, what is he planning? Could it be an action filled adventure? Then finally we hear from the protagonist "I wanna go home, I want my baby back. I want to go back!" Then we hear somebody has broken out of Satellite 2 and it may be you! Satellite 2, if you follow this interpretation, is where our hero started, so returning there may be the key to going home. And if there's a cure for rocket lag, I love to imagine that the song was suppose to end with a rocket taking off, hence the explosion. After all, this song includes the strings to Ticket to the Moon as its fade out interlude, the only other song to directly mention Satellite 2. This is a much more fun theory than imagining the song simply fading out closing side 3. This way, it's a climactic ending that concludes side 3 on an exciting cliffhanger. He's stolen a rocket! What happens next?
"21st CENTURY MAN"
21st Century Man is a self-evaluation of our protagonist as he flies his rocket "across the city." He gives one last good thought on if he should just stay with everything that 2095 offers but also that upon stepping out of the dream, he realized sees everything was gone, even his love whom he may have gotten into a fight with just before his disappearance. After some contemplation, the protagonist decides that no matter what the future has, he's NOT a 21st century man (last verse before final chorus). Though he rides the wheels of tomorrow (having the grasp of the future), he still wanders the field of his sorrow (his remorse of what's lost), it's time to go home.
This is the bigger mystery of the two lost tracks. We know nothing about it but assume, given its placement, that it links with the alternate intro to Hold on Tight found on Flashback. If that's the case, it only furthers the theory that side 4 is the "traveling home in the rocket" side as the intro starts with bells that sound like a clock chime, followed by the futuristic synthesizer progression that sounds like our hero is traveling between space and time.
"HOLD ON TIGHT"
This takes place during the final leg of his return trip. He's traveling between time and space. With everything he's learned, he now knows that everything he once knew is how he prefers to live his life with. That's why its so uplifting. It's a reminder that whenever you feel that life is down you, just hold on tight and you'll make it through. Appreciate what you have, you may not have it in the year 2095. That's how I look at it..
Epilogue has our protagonist, before officially returning to 1981, looking back at the visions of 2095 before it fades into memory, hence why it calls back to 21st Century Man and Twilight (via the backwards interlude). And he arrived on this day of all days, may the world still remember him.. They ended up kissing the ground he walked upon.
There's my take on the concept. I sure hope that there is some truth to the Here is the News ending theory. It would make the story more exciting and would enhance an already amazing album. Thank you for reading this long post. Have a good day/night.