Taking it back to the Seventies for this one, to the inimitable Electric Light Orchestra. Let's try to ignore their bloated Eighties stuff like the Oliva Newton-John collabo "Xanadu" -- does Seventies pop goodness get much better than, say, "Livin' Thing?" I'm a particular fan of this strand of their stuff, these orchestral, psychedelic, almost post-Beatles-sounding freakouts. (Another personal favorite: "The Ballad of Horace Wimp").
"Mr. Blue Sky" was released in '77 on the album Out of the Blue which is kind of hard to believe -- it sounds like it belongs, say, five to nine years earlier. And of course, this was the year punk would truly swoop in to eat the babies of these proggy acts. Still, this song is an undeniable pick-me-up on those days where you regret getting out of bed -- sort of like Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine," only not obnoxious. Especially great is the bit of vocoded vocals that first appears around 2:20. And surely, anyone can find something to smile about in singer Jeff Lynne's gravity-defying, curly coiffure. -- Arielle Castillo
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