Mike's song-based oeuvre often gets short-shrift, even amongst his fans. It's time to reappraise some of the pop miniatures amongst his output - there is at least a single CD compilation's worth of brilliance, from On Horseback (1975) to On My Heart (2008).
Before you jump on my head, the poll allows a maximum of 30 choices so I have had to exercise a certain amount of bias. Including drunken novelties like "Speak..." and "Don Alphonso" and near-songs like "Pacha Mama" MO has released, by my reckoning, around 50 songs. So please accept my apologies if some of your favourites (and mine - I love "Foreign Affair") didn't make the cut! Feel free to argue for their magnificence in the comments below!
Will the Shadow reign supreme (Moonlight... not ...On the Wall)? Or will it be Five... Miles Out in front... or are there some of you mad enough to support the mess that is When the Night's on Fire? You decide...
"In High Places". I have a special relationship with that song ever since I got Crises on cassette on my 11th Birthday in 1983. First of all I love Jon's voice. And I think it got the better out of him that he didn't give the track 250 takes. It's rather raw and spontaneous. Second I love the chord progression and the warm fuzzy synth arpreggios over the (surprisingly effective) reggae beat. For me it has an outer space/space travel feeling to it. And I love how it flows fades away and makes room for Foreign affair which is like a different take on the same theme (which I find rather cool!.
I almost voted Five Miles Out though. A lot more work went into that one obviously, but it's not nearly as close to my heart.
-------------- "There are twelve people in the world, the rest are paste" Mark E Smith
Yes, I recently revisited EM with mixed results. It's superficially glossy late 80s sheen hides a multitude of sins but the title track is efficiently soulful. Good singer and far more convincing than nonsense like Hostage and Bridge to Pair of Dice. Definitely would have been an option if the polls feature allowed 35-40 choices.
Definitely On Horseback. This song makes me laugh and makes me cry. I am trying to learn how to play this on the guitar as well. And I am going to play it a lot as a lullaby to me soon to be born son .
-------------- So if you feel a little glum To Hergest Ridge you should come
Talk About Your Life. This is a very underrated song and an interesting extension of "To France" and in some ways even "North Star/Platinum Finale". Talk About Your Life has everything, classic Mike Guitar Solo, dreamy lyrics and vocals and beautiful analog synths. Magical!
-------------- "It is good to be on Horseback" - Mike Oldfield "On Horseback"
Your comment, Craig Evans, had me listening to 'Talk About Your Life' again. I'd forgotten about the melodic references to 'To France'.
"Vintage strangeness" indeed, Platinumpty. As of now, 'Five Miles Out' seems to be the favorite with 28%. And I was all set to give it my vote, but then I remembered another of my favorites. And, for me, the exultance of 'Heaven's Open' is just so satisfying.
-------------- "I'm no physicist, but technically couldn't Mike both be with the horse and be flying through space at the same time? (On account of the earth's orbit around the Sun and all that). So it seems he never had to make the choice after all. I bet he's kicking himself now." - clotty