• Record Label: RCA
  • Release Date: Nov 13, 2015
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
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  1. Jan 22, 2016
    9
    "Hallelujah, Jeffrey Genius just released another album!" This will always be my default reaction to Jeff Lynne/ELO coming out with new material. So then, the trick for me as a mega-fan is to try and drill a bit deeper as I momentarily wipe the smile off my face and type. I think the first thing to consider is that Jeff played all the instruments here. And why not? - he's inarguably an"Hallelujah, Jeffrey Genius just released another album!" This will always be my default reaction to Jeff Lynne/ELO coming out with new material. So then, the trick for me as a mega-fan is to try and drill a bit deeper as I momentarily wipe the smile off my face and type. I think the first thing to consider is that Jeff played all the instruments here. And why not? - he's inarguably an accomplished musician. That said, maybe the album should have come out as a solo album. Am I criticizing my boy right out of the gate? Heaven forbid; it's a fantastic album. But when I think of ELO, I think of strings and layered arrangements as I imagine a dozen or so musicians doing their thing on stage. The strings are replaced by keyboards and it doesn't have fullness of classic ELO. Hey, the guy can't be a virtuoso on every instrument in the world! I understand. But the virtuosity of the violinists, drummers, and keyboardists on ELO albums is what elevates them (just slightly) from being merely Jeff's solo albums (did I say "merely" - for shame...). Each track here has it's own identity and yet is easily identifiable as Jeff Lynne. That's no small feat in music. The album is utterly "listenable" all the way through and there are no throwaways here at all. Even the bonus tracks are solid! Bottom line - As an ELO album, I'd give it a solid 8.5 (if only I could on this site). As a Jeff Lynne solo album - 10. Hence, my rating of 9. Who knows. maybe when you're 67 you no longer want to follow a studio schedule dictated by being in a full band, but for the next (truly) ELO album, it sure would be nice! Thanks, Jeff!! Expand
  2. Dec 27, 2015
    7
    First let me say I am an ELO fan. I have all the albums, the singles, i have Wizzard, i have MOVE. I saw ELO early, I saw ELO late, I saw ELO II and Orchestra. I think first and foremost everyone will give a sympathetic ear to this album because it's great the Jeff is recording as opposed to producing again. I am not sure why he has added the ELO monicker though..yes there are someFirst let me say I am an ELO fan. I have all the albums, the singles, i have Wizzard, i have MOVE. I saw ELO early, I saw ELO late, I saw ELO II and Orchestra. I think first and foremost everyone will give a sympathetic ear to this album because it's great the Jeff is recording as opposed to producing again. I am not sure why he has added the ELO monicker though..yes there are some similarities but thats because he sings and plays and writes on it LOL. Where are the real strings? Where is the rock drive? Where are the more complex pieces? Dare i say Jeff (like many greats of the era) needs a foil or foils, a Bev or a Kelly or a Richard, someone to push him. They tell us we shouldn't live for the past but give me a Strange Magic, or a Waterfall, a Rockaria or a Telephone Line, real harmonies, real strings, real distinction. We will enjoy this album, we will spin this album from time to time, but it's the next one i am waiting for... Expand
  3. Nov 25, 2015
    10
    I thought this album was very instant and there wasn't a song that I didn't like on first playing. Normally there's one or two song on past ELO albums that have had to grow on me but this one was a winner right away. Over time I suspect it will be a real favourite with ELO fans. It's taken different elements from different phases in Jeff Lynne's style development and blended them into aI thought this album was very instant and there wasn't a song that I didn't like on first playing. Normally there's one or two song on past ELO albums that have had to grow on me but this one was a winner right away. Over time I suspect it will be a real favourite with ELO fans. It's taken different elements from different phases in Jeff Lynne's style development and blended them into a very pleasing album. My only criticism is that it is too short - but, I'd rather that than a CD that outstays it's welcome. Definitely get the deluxe edition though, the extra tracks are good and it makes for a better length of album. Expand
  4. Nov 19, 2015
    8
    "When I Was a Boy" is perhaps Lynne's best song ever. Most ELO songs, beautiful as they may be with harmonies and orchestral arrangements mixed with rock guitars, have no real meaning, but this song does, and it's touching and very, very catchy, and beautiful. Not sure about the other songs, save for "Ain't It a Drag," another nice one! But, "When I Was a Boy" is like a masterpiece in 3"When I Was a Boy" is perhaps Lynne's best song ever. Most ELO songs, beautiful as they may be with harmonies and orchestral arrangements mixed with rock guitars, have no real meaning, but this song does, and it's touching and very, very catchy, and beautiful. Not sure about the other songs, save for "Ain't It a Drag," another nice one! But, "When I Was a Boy" is like a masterpiece in 3 minutes, so it's hard to compete with. It's not New World Record or Face the Music, but f you love Lynne, and ELO, you'll have to have this, too. Expand
  5. Nov 19, 2015
    10
    I have just bought and listened to this album (Alone in the Universe).
    At 67 I still love Jeff Lynns music, some songs I like more than others but their is not a bad song.
    Well done Jeff and thank you, a really good album that sits well aside the others. I think some of these lyrics may be about Jeff Lynns experience of life and I am sure the lyrics will strike many a chord with the
    I have just bought and listened to this album (Alone in the Universe).
    At 67 I still love Jeff Lynns music, some songs I like more than others but their is not a bad song.
    Well done Jeff and thank you, a really good album that sits well aside the others.
    I think some of these lyrics may be about Jeff Lynns experience of life and I am sure the lyrics will strike many a chord with the listening public.
    10 out of 10 from me.
    Judd123 on the 19th of November 2015 at 15.55 hours.
    Merry Christmas to you all.
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  6. Nov 18, 2015
    7
    Times change and music changes but Jeff Lynne and ELO - less so. Jeff is a genius as we all know and he has produced and written some of the best in music for many decades. So no matter what is he a star. But given all that talent he has worked with this LP just seems lacking. What's wrong - hard to tell. Is it that he has no input from others in a band to drive the sound? Is it that heTimes change and music changes but Jeff Lynne and ELO - less so. Jeff is a genius as we all know and he has produced and written some of the best in music for many decades. So no matter what is he a star. But given all that talent he has worked with this LP just seems lacking. What's wrong - hard to tell. Is it that he has no input from others in a band to drive the sound? Is it that he doesn't seem to have changed his lyrics in 25 years? Is it that it just sounds too clean? Maybe all of the above. Hey I am first in line to see his new touring band live - and I listen to older material all the time - not to mention all the works by Petty, Wilbury's etc. It's just this LP isn't great. It's good. But I wanted more. Expand
  7. Nov 15, 2015
    10
    This is Lynne's strongest batch of songs since at least Discovery. In ELO's heyday a number of these would have been hit singles: "When I Was A Boy," "When The Night Comes," "One Step At A Time," the title track, "The Sun Will Shine On You," and "All My Life." Some of the professional reviews lament this album not having a "big" sound - ironic, considering that most contemporary reviews atThis is Lynne's strongest batch of songs since at least Discovery. In ELO's heyday a number of these would have been hit singles: "When I Was A Boy," "When The Night Comes," "One Step At A Time," the title track, "The Sun Will Shine On You," and "All My Life." Some of the professional reviews lament this album not having a "big" sound - ironic, considering that most contemporary reviews at the time blasted ELO for being *too* "bombastic" - but the last time Lynne did full blown symphonic music was Out of the Blue's Concerto for a Rainy Day, so Alone in the Universe isn't any less of a "big sound" than Discovery, Time, Secret Messages, etc. What Lynne has here on this album is his most focused, best pop music in decades and Alone in the Universe rivals ELO's best albums. Expand
  8. Nov 14, 2015
    10
    Melodic pop songs, with endless hooks. Just brilliant. Lynne must have all of those great hooks and bits from the history of music stored away in his head.
  9. Nov 14, 2015
    9
    Was never going to be Mr Blue Sky but refreshing to have some new material from Jeff Lynne and ELO. Great melodies and long may it continue. Can't wait to see live in 2016.
  10. Nov 13, 2015
    8
    Jeff Lynne shows on Alone in the Universe that his qualities not only belong to the profession as a producer. His extensive knowledge provides ten songs in which the chord progressions and the length determine everything. The rhythmic textures, warm harmonies and catchy melodies gives meaning to the sound ELO has become famous with. The innovations from the present integrates Jeff neatlyJeff Lynne shows on Alone in the Universe that his qualities not only belong to the profession as a producer. His extensive knowledge provides ten songs in which the chord progressions and the length determine everything. The rhythmic textures, warm harmonies and catchy melodies gives meaning to the sound ELO has become famous with. The innovations from the present integrates Jeff neatly in the Strange Magic of his comprehensive sound. The musical genius has taken off with his spaceship from the past, to descend into the current time and in a successfully way establish a connection with the present.

    Full Review: http://www.platendraaier.nl/albumrecensies/jeff-lynnes-elo-alone-in-the-universe/
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Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Dec 15, 2015
    50
    The best of these 10 tidy songs are fun and uncannily recognizable, even the first time you hear them, as songs by Lynne. The worst are still uncanny, but less hooky, and earn the biggest insult you can throw at any ELO song: They're colorless.
  2. Dec 11, 2015
    70
    Few of the new tracks reach that level of greatness [of his classic hits], and flimsy lyrics mar a couple. But several worm their way into the ear endearingly.
  3. Dec 3, 2015
    70
    The shortcomings of this DIY approach sometimes show up in the lyrics. In contrast to ELO's early prog-rock sprawl, Alone is bracingly succinct both in words and music.