The Moody Blues

The Other Side of Life

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The Moody Blues' best album in five years benefited mostly from the presence of the Top Ten single "Your Wildest Dreams," authored by Justin Hayward, which turned their status as survivors from the '60s psychedelic era into a plus, with a great beat to boot; it also debuted with a very entertaining video featuring young British psychedelic rockers the Mood Six playing the young Moody Blues to promote the song on the newly dominant MTV and rival video outlets. Unfortunately, nothing else that Hayward or anyone else turned in for this album was remotely as catchy, and, in fact, much of the rest of the album -- apart from the closer, John Lodge's "It May Be a Fire," which recalls his and Hayward's collaboration on the Blue Jays album -- shows signs of a group running on empty creatively. Ray Thomas is totally absent as a songwriter, and Graeme Edge and Patrick Moraz between them offer one lackluster song. Lodge and Hayward together furnish a pair of serviceable if not dazzling rockers, "Talkin' Talkin'" and "Slings and Arrows," the latter benefiting from a great beat, chorus, and vocal arrangement more than anything in the lyrics, but their "Running Out of Love" is a terrible song with a great chorus; and Lodge's "Rock 'n' Roll Over You" ultimately runs about a minute too long for its own good, and mostly succeeds in recalling older (and better) hard rock numbers by him, such as "Gemini Dream" and "Stepping in a Slide Zone." And Hayward's title track is more lugubrious than lyrical. The album, thanks to the video and the single, was good enough to tour off of, and help pull in the group's most enthusiastic audiences in a half-decade, but this would end up being much more the high-water mark commercially for their post-'70s work than a fresh start.

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