The Moody Blues

Voices in the Sky: The Best of the Moody Blues

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There have been opportune times to look back over the Moody Blues' music (e.g., when the band went on hiatus in the mid-'70s), and 1984 wasn't such an occasion. The second leg of the Moodies' career was in midstream, with many fine singles still to follow, so Voices in the Sky was left the unenviable task of fusing music from the '60s and the '80s together into a single product. It's not worth quibbling over what made the cut ("After You Came") and what didn't ("The Story in Your Eyes"); the real issue is the incongruity that stems from hearing songs like "Ride My See-Saw" and "Talking Out of Turn" alongside one another. For all intents and purposes, the Moodies had two careers, and alternating back and forth between the two without the proper context is likely to confuse new listeners. Individually, the songs are as impressive as you remember: "Driftwood," "The Voice," and "Nights in White Satin" are beautiful to behold, but each worked better in their original concepts. Voices in the Sky is random by comparison, slipping songs originally separated by decades into adjacent slots, disturbing the placid calm created by mellow moments with agitated exceptions. With the exception of "Sitting at the Wheel", the compilation ignores their latest effort, The Present, instead leaning heavily on the prior Long Distance Voyager. Among the single-disc compilations available, The Best of the Moody Blues does it better, placing the songs in chronological order and including material up to Sur La Mer, including (surprise!) "Voices in the Sky." Better still, spring for a double-disc collection like Anthology or The Singles+, both of which provide a necessary buffer between the first and second halves of the band's career.

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