It´s the late 70s. I´m just a small boy, alone at home, and about to commit a crime. I open a door and step in to a realm that is utterly forbidden: my sister’s room. She is three years older and has a record player of her own. I search through her collection of albums with feeble hands and finally find my prey: A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra. I turn on the turntable and listen with mixed feelings of pleasure, delight…and guilt.
Today we start a new series, highlighting albums that shaped me and Anders and the music of Southside Café. And it makes sense to start with Electric Light Orchestra. Both of us have been huge fans of ELO since we were kids. Fantastic songs in a perfect blend of heavy guitars, synthesisers and classical instruments. Strange album covers with spaceships and planets. And add to that, the mysterious Jeff Lynne as singer and leader of the band: totally disguised by long curly hair, a large beard and sunglasses (a bit like ZZ Top meets Chewbacca). It doesn't get much better than that.
We love almost every album by ELO. But for me, A New World Record is without doubt the best. It´s nine songs and 36 minutes full of drama (Tightrope), melancholy (Mission), angel choirs and male falsetto vocals (!) (Livin´ Thing), tongue in cheek (Rockaria) and on top of that: probably the best rock ballad ever written (Telephone Line). Yes, I know what you are thinking, but A Day in the Life with The Beatles doesn’t count – it´s not a ballad, it´s just a slow song.
For me, A New World Record is more than a great album. It´s a part of my DNA. You will always find traces of ELO in the music of Southside Café. And I will always feel like a criminal when I hear the dramatic intro of Tightrope.