Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells III

Album cover

  1. The Source Of Secrets (5:34)
  2. The Watchful Eye (2:09)
  3. Jewel In The Crown (5:44)
  4. Outcast (3:49)
  5. Serpent Dream (2:52)
  6. The Inner Child (4:41)
  7. Man In The Rain (4:03)
  8. The Top Of The Morning (4:26)
  9. Moonwatch (4:25)
  10. Secrets (3:19)
  11. Far Above The Clouds (5:29)

Warner, 1998

also by Mike Oldfield:

The "Tubular Bells" cash cow was milked further here, with a weak effort that's not deserving of the name. It bears much less relation to the original than "Tubular Bells II", only occasionally following the same structure. Vaguely recognisable bits include yet another variation on the finger-rocking opening piano theme, a rock-out section and an opera-singer section. But mostly it's uninteresting instrumental pieces with a slick digital production. He even sticks in a few dance beats, opening himself up to mockery for trying to get down with the kids. There's nothing wrong in principle with this, but he's just not very good at it. In defence, his sounds are pretty, as usual, and the album's climax based on the old bell theme is well written.

I wonder whether Oldfield had fans asking him for "another Moonlight Shadow". If so, he will have satisfied them with "Man in the Rain". This is such an accurate clone, that it would be easy to cut and paste bits of these two songs together and pretend they are the same - they're even in the same key. It fits in oddly among the instrumental rambling. This album would work well as TV incidental music, or other background muzak. But there's little of interest here, and it confirms my feelings that Tubular Bells II was the last decent album he made.

May 12, 2004

5 out of 10

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