Over the weekend, I had the chance to see a symphony perform at the Balboa Theater in downtown San Diego. Not having seen one in a long time, I was truly mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the orchestra. I was not only entertained by the sounds of the various instruments, but also by the movement of each performer, being directed by the conductor. I never realized how visually stunning an orchestra can be. With that vibe coming into this article, I decided I had to review an album that used a symphony as well, so I thought to myself: What band uses a symphony? The first band that came to my mind was The Moody Blues.
The Moody Blues consists of a rotating lineup of great musicians, including Justin Hayward on vocals/guitar and John Lodge on bass/vocals. This band has survived through many decades, and has produced some of the most influential albums in rock history. One of those influential albums is the center of this week’s review: “Days of Future Passed.”
After listening to this album all the way through for the first time, I immediately fell in love with it. I can only describe this album as symphonic rock, since the entire London Festival Orchestra is used to produce a background track throughout the entire album. This album also features hints of psychedelic rock, and is considered a precursor to progressive rock.
“Days of Future Passed” is a concept album about a typical working day. My experience is to not only listen to this album, but also to visualize my own typical workday from beginning to end. The mood is set with the opening song “The Day Begins,” as the orchestra plays a harmony which summarizes the entire experience of my working day, using sections of future songs off the album. The album proceeds to describe to me the feeling of the rising sun, waking up, driving to work, working, and taking my lunch break. The day continues as we reach the second single off their album “Tuesday Afternoon.” Every time I listen to this song, I imagine during my lunch break when I go to my usual spot outside by office building to just sit and look around. The weather outside is perfect, the birds are chasing each other, and the trolley is gently driving by. The album proceeds with the evening, and finally ending with the first single off their album “Nights in White Satin.”
“Nights in White Satin” is by far my favorite song by The Moody Blues. I believe it is one of the best love songs ever written, as the narrator struggles with his feelings of love towards another. I picture someone lying in bed, struggling to fall asleep, thinking about someone they love who is not there with them. I feel this way when my wife is away, and I can’t help but feel for the narrator in this album. As the narrator slowly drifts to sleep, the album closes the way it began with a soft harmony by the orchestra.
As I write this post, I am realizing that “Days of Future Passed” is one of my favorite albums in my iTunes library. It is a perfect, relatable story. It has an awesome sound brought to you not only by The Moody Blues, but also by the London Festival Orchestra. I highly recommend this album to those who love classic rock, and especially to those who love orchestras and symphonies.
Please check out this Youtube video featuring my favorite song off the album, “Nights in White Satin”: