display | more...

Such infectious joy ought to be illegal.

Like so many other Electric Light Orchestra songs, "Mr. Blue Sky" emulates The Beatles' more experimental Sgt. Pepper's period. It starts off with a radio broadcast, tinny and distant, arriving to you via outer space or Oz or some place equally fantastic. Then the song hints at its genius, with a four to the floor ball peen hammer clang and the weatherman announcing the arrival of blue skies.

Oh and then the joy begins to unravel itself around you.

The simplest of songs - the personification of good weather in Mr. Blue Sky where things once were dark - is captured in the elegant lyrics of Mr. Lynne and crew:

Sun is shinin' in the sky
There ain't a cloud in sight
It's stopped rainin' ev'rybody's in a play
And don't you know
It's a beautiful new day hey,hey

And you know the sky never seemed so blue as when those ba-ba harmonies catch you unawares and make you giggle uncontrollably. And then the song isn't about the weather anymore, it's about the day, and seizing it and the light is darkest just before the dawn and all of those clichès, but damn it, they make sense at about 34 seconds when the hammer gets a fresh recharge, and they reel off some witty Beatles references (in the form of Paul's classic "A Day In The Life" breathless segue to catch the bus.)

Runnin' down the avenue
See how the sun shines brightly in the city
On the streets where once was pity
Mister blue sky is living here today hey, hey

Then the song drops into its brilliant pre-chorus, with three-part harmonies interspersed between a barbershop vocal bassline and a soft ride cymbal to keep the hammer effect on. The song chugs and bounces away, but trust me: the joy remains unabated. And now ELO wonders if maybe, just maybe, every day could be blue skies.

Mister blue sky please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong?

And then, as if the song wasn't inspiring and joyful and triumphant and holy mother of god beautiful enough, they decide that you need more than good weather and a smile on your face. You need a rebirth, a revelation, you need an epiphany. "Hey, YOU, with the pretty face!" they cry out, breaking the fourth wall and inviting you into their song's beautiful playland. "Welcome to the human race!" Has anybody sounded happier to meet you, besides the drug-addled Wayne Coyner on those occasions where only his sincerity can ride you through another hollow acoustic strum? Well, let me tell you, ELO is motherfucking ecstatic to make your acquaintance. It's a "celebration", the "day we've waited for." You! You lucky dog, you.

Hey you with the pretty face
Welcome to the human race
A celebration, mister blue sky's up there waitin'
And today is the day we've waited for

And now it all comes together, crashing, breathing, shining, laughing, the infinite connection of a thousand million minds dreaming the same dream. Now Mister Blue, this weather, this day, this spirit, you, and ELO are God himself cast down from the heavens, smiling on his chosen children as they return his smiles. (When I told you this joy was infectious, I mean it drives you to the brink of mania, but you're so dull all the time anyway.) Now Mister Blue Sky is finally revealed, and the song becomes nearly epic. Harmonies and pop dashery give way to an electronic vocoder, gasping out the name of its favorite son over some gorgeous string arrangements.

Mister blue sky please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong?

Hey there mister blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Ev'rybody smiles at you

Mister blue sky, mister blue sky
Mister blue sky

And then he's gone, disappearing over the clouds in brilliant Technicolor. Here comes "mister night creepin' over" (in the form of more low-end harmonies echoing over the back of the track, literally creeping into the song), taking over the job, and robbing us of our happiness. But wait, what's this? "Never mind I'll remember you this way!" Never mind! Ha! As if those bad times ahead aren't even worth paying attention to!

Mister blue, you did it right
But soon comes mister night creepin' over
Now his hand is on your shoulder
Never mind I'll remember you this
I'll remember you this way

Mister blue sky please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong?

Hey there mister blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Ev'rybody smiles at you

And now it's over, there's only pure emotion that must simply swell away (and believe you me, it must've taken every ounce of restraint in ELO's meager existence to not keep this song playing infinitely, to begin playing and just wait until everyone gathered around and became balls of gas in space.) So a few "ba ba ba"s, a driving to the end of the road drum roll, and then the vocoder slowly lifts off, taking the song back to Mr. Blue Sky, a gift wrapped in the lovely ties that bind, to drive 80 down the highway with the sunroof down and the trees in full bloom and - well, once again, the clichès come out, but what's life but a few clichès anyway?

Besides, in a world less than perfect, who doesn't need to be reminded that this is all really just a celebration anyway? Ba ba ba...

CST Approved, but seriously, ELO would've wanted this copied all over this tiny planet.

Lyrics by ELO. The song appears on the album Out of the Blue, in a 2002 Volkswagen commercial, and in the soundtrack to the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.