Andre S. Grindle | Brewer Maine | 09/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First a correction then my review:this album WAS released along with the other albums in the Earth,Wind & Fire catalog on CD in the early 90's but was apparently not in print very long-I should now I have that copy.Okay I have already reviewed 'Electric Universe' once and I would like to say that I have altered my opinion somewhat since having the CD.Generally
speaking 1983's 'Electric Universe' is Earth,Wind & Fire's attempt at electro-funk."Magnetic"-a speedy tune very much in that vein is the best known hit (with a bizzare video to boot).Another great tune,perhaps even catchier is the shuffling "Moonwalk" and the smoother "Touch"-all are classic Earth,Wind & Fire with some of Maurice and Phillip's best vocals.For whatever reason the Phenix horns do not seem to be operating on this album-the the orchestration is done by synthesized keyboards.The ballads tends to be where this album falters-"Could It Be Right" and "We're Living In Our Own Time" are very good but an album such as this should've been primarily uptempo with a one of two mid-tempo tunes for good measure."Electric Nation" and "Sweet Sassy Lady" make some interesting attempts at new wave but aren't wonderful compositions,relaying more on dramatic presentation.So is 'Electric Universe' as deserved of it's negative reviews?No-as far as the first three songs are concerned this CD could easily match up to their last two-thw writing is strong but it kind of peters out after that-maybe that's a sign that the band was pretty much ready for the hiatus that was to come."
Definately Underrated...But Where are the Horns???
Ronald Washington | Los Angeles, CA | 12/09/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"EWF was easily the most important funk/r&b/soul/fusion band of the 70's. With the highly underrated Faces disc in 1980, their importance began to wane. Because Faces was such a flop, CBS, their label ordered them to make a hit record. Ubsurd right? Here's a band that re-wrote the history books by becoming the first black band to fill huge arenas on a regular basis and united soul, r&b, rock, jazz, funk, gospel and pop like no other band before it. Now they try and stretch themselves a little further with the Faces album and they get ordered to make a hit. This was the beginning of the music biz as we know and hate it today, "Get A HIT!!" That's all that matters. With this kind of pressure, EWF looked outside of what they wanted to do as artist and looked to see what was popular. The following albums, Raise (a fair hit), Powerlight (mediocre hit) and Electric Universe (Bomb) were the results of great artist trying to fit into the mold. Of the 3 to be honest, Raise and Electric Universe are my favorites. With Universe, there are some songs that I can't figure out to this day why they weren't hits. I guess their fans had tired of them by then and didn't really care anymore. Let's look at the album song by song:
Magnetic: A very good electro-funk tune. Kind of in the same league as Getaway minus the horns. Verdine does some excellent bass work in this one. The song does get a little repetitive by the end though. But it's not a bad song. Touch: One of the best songs on the album. It really shows off Maurices vocals. It has a Side-By-Side (Powerlight)feel to it. The only thing it's missing is the horn section. Actually, that's what the whole album is missing. However, Touch is a great song that should not be missed. It should have been a hit. Moonwalk: This is a catchy tune with more great vocals from Maurice but I think they over did it with the synth and other electronic sound effects. It gets overwellming. They do do some interesting things musically though. Check out the background vocals/harmonies by the Emotions. Very cool. Could It Be Right: This is After The Love Has Gone/Reasons 5 years later. Another very good song with yet another good performance by Maurice in the lead vocals. And yet, another great song that was overlooked. Spirit OF A New World: This, like the other "fast" songs on this album, is a weak spot. The thing that makes them weak is, I feel the absence of the horns. Those staccato horns could lift just about any song to another level. This one could have used the help. Sweet Sassy Lady: This and the following song are the closes EWF get to their own sound on this album. The Emotions help in the background again, the rhythm is very jazzy/funky in cadence and of course Maurices vocals soar. The only thing missing...you guessed it, the horns. Living In Our Own Time: My favorite song on the album. This is EWF, horns or not. This is the classic Philip Bailey solo ballad with Verdine White making things a little interesting on the bass. Not to mention the great background vocals done by the guys. This is another mystery to me. Why didn't this become a hit? This song gets 5 stars. Electric Nation: The album started off good with Magnetic and ends on a low note with this song. Again, it's one of the weak spots on the album. It's pure electro-dance/funk. This is another song where the horns could have helped enormously. The band sounds very calculated and cold in this song and in Spirit Of A New World heard before on this album. It's just not a good tune.
I understand that EWF was trying to do different things on this album but just being different doesn't make it better. Had they kept the tried and true tradition of writing good songs, they would have heard horns, violins and other instramentaions in certain songs. Whether it was different or not. And what about the interludes? Little gems inside of big gems. This album was missing a lot of things but Touch, Could It Be Right and Living In Our Own Time deserved more and better exposure. These ware great songs worhty of being called an EWF performance. Should you buy the album? If you can find a single of Living In Our Own Time or Could It Be Right, go for it. If not, buy a used copy. You won't be too disappointed. Trust me."
Andre' S Grindle | Bangor,ME. | 10/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't like this at all at first but after a couple listens
tunes like "Magnetic",the catchy ballad "Touch" and the bouncy
"Moonwalk" reveal themselfs as electro-funk classics!Not everything here approches that level but in quite a few places
"Electric Universe" COOKS!!!!"