Flashback Album of the Wake

Jeff Yerger

The idea of a full, inter-connected album has drifted away in an era of quick and predictable singles in which we live today. With the exception of the Decemberists and a few others, the concept album has all but deceased.

The Moody Blues’ “Days of Future Passed” is the epitome of a concept album about the different parts of the day, and it provides a perfect glimpse into the psychedelic era of the ’60s and the heyday of the album in the fullest sense of the word.

As with the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” album, “Days of Future Passed” wasn’t quite understood by record companies and fans alike at the time; it was hard to promote and not as easy of a listen as your typical pop records.

But that is the beauty of a concept album: It is about the experience of listening to a masterpiece as a whole. A concept album is like a novel – you can’t enjoy a novel if you read just one random chapter; you have to read the whole thing to get the full effect.

The Moody Blues brought Peter Knight and the London Festival Orchestra along for the ride, which adds such a beautiful backdrop for the album.

Knight’s arrangement blends perfectly within each song, whether setting the mood for a song with an intro or just filling the gaps in between.

Their overture opens the album, as well as the lazy semi-consciousness of “Dawn Is A Feeling.” From there, “The Morning: Another Morning” is a happy-go-lucky pop song that does a wonderful job in illustrating a beautiful morning, and it is here where the album truly begins.

What is really the only true rock song on the album, “Lunch Break: Peak Hour” sounds like a song left off of the Beatles’ “Revolver” album – as does the harmony-laden, hand clapping end section “Time To Get Away” that follows the dreamy and mesmerizing “Forever Afternoon.”

Then there is the sly rhythm of “Evening” that seduces you until it finally grabs hold with the opening piano riff of the end section titled “Twilight Time.”

Finally, there is quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs ever written, “Nights in White Satin.”

Singer Justin Hayward croons about a yearned-for love within a chilling melody which is then complemented by a desperate cry for love in the chorus. It is a perfectly dramatic ending to what really is a symphonic masterpiece.

“Days of Future Passed” is certainly a work of art; it is one of the most innovative and influential Rock n’ Roll albums in history. If you can, pick a lazy, rainy day and listen to it from the beginning to the end – it will leave you feeling musically inspired and fulfilled.