Follow TV Tropes


Music / Crises

Go To
"See you in heaven one day."

Crises, crises — You can't get away!

Crises is the eighth studio album by English Progressive Rock musician Mike Oldfield, released through Virgin Records on 27 May 1983. Continuing the shift to more accessible music that had started with Platinum in 1979, the album began recording while Oldfield was finishing up the tour for his previous album, Five Miles Out. Similarly to that album, this one marks an attempt to bridge the gap between the longform compositions that he preferred (and that made him famous) and more radio-friendly material that could more easily succeed on the charts. Consequently, the album splits itself between a side-long title suite in the vein of his 70's albums and a side filled with pop rock songs that could be viably released as singles, making additional use of guest singers such as Maggie Reilly and Jon Anderson who Oldfield had previously collaborated with. At the same time, the album sees Oldfield experiment with Heavy Metal, a genre he had started to grow fond of during this time, with pieces like "Shadow on the Wall" featuring a harder sound previously thought uncharacteristic compared to the more atmospheric direction of his prior work.

The final result was more successful than he anticipated. Not only was the album itself a considerable commercial success, peaking at No. 6 on the UK Albums chart and topping the charts in Germany, Norway, and Sweden, but lead single "Moonlight Shadow" would top the charts in nine different countries in Europenote  as well as topping the Eurochart Hot 100, going on to become the best-selling single of 1983 in Austria and Oldfield's biggest-selling single in his entire career. The album itself would later be certified platinum in both Germany and Spain as well as gold in the UK, France, and the Netherlands.

Crises was supported by two singles: "Moonlight Shadow" and "Shadow on the Wall". "In High Places" would later get a single release in 1987 to promote Virgin CEO Richard Branson's launch of the (now-former) world's largest hot air balloon that year. The non-album single "Mistake", released before "Moonlight Shadow", would also be added to the initial US release of the album.


UK versionnote 

Side One
  1. "Crises" (20:40)

Side Two

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (3:34)
  2. "In High Places" (3:33)
  3. "Foreign Affair" (3:53)
  4. "Taurus 3" (2:25)
  5. "Shadow on the Wall" (3:09)

North American versionnote 

Side One
  1. "Mistake" (2:55)
  2. "In High Places" (3:33)
  3. "Foreign Affair" (3:53)
  4. "Taurus 3" (2:25)
  5. "Shadow on the Wall" (3:09)
  6. "Moonlight Shadow" (3:34)

Side Two

  1. "Crises" (20:40)

The tropes, so close we touch them:

  • Celebrity Elegy : Some think Moonlight Shadow is a reference to John Lennon's murder. Word of God has it that it was at best, an unconscious inspiration— Oldfield said he was mainly inspired by Houdini (1953) starring Tony Curtis.
  • Concept Video: The video for "Moonlight Shadow" reenacts the song's lyrics through the framing device of a séance being held at the killed man's manor long after his death during a duel.
  • Cover Drop: The album art depicts "the watcher and the tower" mentioned in the Title Track.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The line "4 AM in the morning", from "Moonlight Shadow".
  • Distinct Double Album: A single-disc approach, featuring one side devoted entirely to the title suite and another side centered around radio-friendly pop rock pieces. Which is which depends on the release.
  • Epic Rocking: Whereas side two has songs that fit more within pop conventions, the Title Track takes up all of side one.
  • Gratuitous French: To make a rhyme in "Foreign Affair", a recurring line is "a lagoon by la mertranslation ".
  • Hollywood Darkness: The nighttime scenes in the "Moonlight Shadow" video are day-for-night shots put through a vivid blue filter.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: The sleeve for "Moonlight Shadow" features a close-up on the man in the corner of the album cover.
  • Instrumentals: "Taurus 3", a continuation of the two Taurus tracks from QE2 and Five Miles Out.
  • Longest Song Goes First: On the UK release and reissues, the 20:40 Title Track opens the album. The initial US release, meanwhile, moves the song to the very end.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Moonlight Shadow", a pop ballad about a woman whose lover got murdered.
  • New Sound Album: While continuing the "prog meets pop" style that Oldfield had been running with since Platinum, Crises mixes in greater Heavy Metal elements as a result of his fondness for the genre.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: The "Moonlight Shadow" music video switches between candlelit indoor scenes with a vivid orange tint and outdoor scenes with a deep blue tint (representing nighttime), not only accentuating a divide between indoor and outdoor events, but also differentiating between the past (a duel that took place at night) and the present (a séance being held at the killed duelist's manor).
  • Phrase Salad Lyrics: "Moonlight Shadow" otherwise tells a fairly clear story of a woman whose lover is shot, but it uses a trick of having every second line in every stanza be the same, and only some of those lines fit between the ones telling the story.
  • Production Throwback: "Foreign Affair" reprises the synth xylophone arpeggios from "Mount Teidi".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Shadow on the Wall" was inspired by the plights of political prisoners in Soviet-controlled Poland.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Zig-zagged; Oldfield denied that "Moonlight Shadow" was directly about the assassination of John Lennon (which was the focus of a considerable number of artists' songs as late as 1996), but he did admit that it influenced the tone and content of the lyrics.
  • Special Guest:
    • Continuing from her collaborations in QE2 and Five Miles Out, Maggie Reilly provides the vocals for "Moonlight Shadow", "Foreign Affair" and "Mistake".
    • "In High Places" was sung by Yes frontman Jon Anderson.
    • Vocalist Roger Chapman of the bands Family and Streetwalkers sang in "Shadow of the Wall"; Oldfield had specifically written the piece with him in mind.