Electric Light Orchestra's more modest follow-up to Eldorado is a very solid album, if not as bold or unified. It was also their first recorded at Musicland in Munich, which became Jeff Lynne's preferred venue for cutting records. At the time, he was also generating songs at a breakneck pace and had perfected the majestic, quasi-Beatles-type style (sort of high-wattage Magical Mystery Tour) introduced two albums earlier. The sound is stripped down a bit on Face the Music, Louis Clark's orchestral contributions generally more subdued than on Eldorado, even when they compete with the band, as on "Strange Magic." The soulful "Evil Woman" was one of the most respectable chart hits of its era, and one of the best songs that Lynne ever wrote (reportedly in 30 minutes), while "Strange Magic" showed off his writing in a more ethereal vein.
This is the album where Jeff Lynne finally found the sound he'd wanted since co-founding Electric Light Orchestra three years earlier. Up to this point, most of the group's music had been self-contained – Lynne, Richard Tandy, et al., providing whatever was needed, vocally or instrumentally, even if it meant overdubbing their work layer upon layer. Lynne saw the limitations of this process, however, and opted for the presence of an orchestra – it was only 30 pieces, but the result was a much richer musical palette than the group had ever had to work with, and their most ambitious and successful record up to that time. Indeed, Eldorado was strongly reminiscent in some ways of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The 1992 Holland collection Definitive Collection isn't really definitive, of course – it's the kind of title common to budget-line discs or European and Asian-only compilations – but it is a good sampler of ELO's hits all the same, containing 19 songs, including many, many hits: "Showdown," "Can't Get It out of My Head," "Evil Woman," "Strange Magic," "Livin' Thing," "Turn to Stone," "Don't Bring Me Down," and "Rock N' Roll Is King."
Given away free with Mojo February 2018. Not to be sold separately. Writing credits from magazine. Track times from iTunes.