Mike Oldfield

The Best of Mike Oldfield: Elements

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Elements represents the many sides of Mike Oldfield, and is a short but interesting journey through some of this multi-instrumentalist's best efforts. Sixteen of his albums are spoken for, with the same number of tracks making up this assortment. The collection opens up with The Exorcist's theme, which peaked at number seven on Billboard's Top 40, and is Oldfield's claim to fame. Many of the songs that follow are beautiful examples of acoustic and electric guitar playing, like the European-flavored "In Dulci Jubilo" and the Oriental sounding "Etude" from the movie The Killing Fields. On "Islands," Bonnie Tyler lends her unique vocal style to Oldfield's enchanting strings. Maggie Reilly sounds absolutely beautiful on both "Foreign Affair" and "To France," as her haunting voice surrounds the mystery of each song. Mike Oldfield crafts each piece so that its mood and air is original, never imitating any other of his creations. One can almost see the cloud cover enveloping the airplane on the brash "Five Miles Out," and the friendliness of a small seaside town flows merrily from "Portsmouth," complete with pipes and all. Also of interest is the obscure version of "Family Man," while the better-known rendition was a Billboard hit for Hall and Oates in 1983. Oldfield's multifaceted talents are brought to the surface through each of these tracks, whether it's the numerous styles of guitar or the delightful unison of keyboards, woodwinds, and percussion. As an introduction into this talented musician's craft, Elements sheds light on nearly every aspect of his genius.

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