Follow TV Tropes


WMG / Electric Light Orchestra

Go To

"Evil Woman" is sung from the point of view of a Black Widow's victim.
The main protagonist of Time is Horace Wimp.
It may seem implausible, definitely, but when you examine the evidence more closely:
  • Horace Wimp is a hapless working-class young man whose eponymous song ends at his wedding ceremony. Time also features a protagonist implied to be a (relatively) young man whose romantic interest (as a cut track indicates) did not co-habit with him (implying that she was either his girlfriend or had only recently married him and thus had no time to move in with him before he was spliced 115 years into the future - note that the instrumentals in "Epilogue", which may involve the protagonist either being returned to circa 1981 or accepting his new life, emulate a church organ as if to possibly indicate a wedding, which the end of "The Diary of Horace Wimp" cuts off at). Although it may simply be a comment on the nature of human disbelief in an outlandish/deeply upsetting circumstance, the protagonist's despair at his girlfriend/wife no longer living in the same house 115 years into the future (when she would clearly have been long-deceased and, as the song describes, have "moved away many years before") indicates that he may not be particularly intelligent (alongside a few instances of working-class British dialect worked into some of the album's lyrics), further supporting his working-class (or possibly bumbling and fumbling) nature.
  • Advertisement:
  • The main theme of "The Diary of Horace Wimp" is essentially that Horace is driving himself from a mediocre and empty present into a more fulfilling future as a married man (note the use of time as a framing device for the song's events) - to have the title character, an established insecure and bumbling young man, experience exaggerated fears of his "future" and wonder about the outcome of his life, only to have his wish granted in an all-too-real manner ("I only meant to stay awhile...") by being transported far into the next century is arguably an interesting and reasonable extension of the song's themes (notice that the song's final refrain subverts the established lyrics by commanding the titular character to "go out and find [himself] a life", which may transition into the radically different 'new life' the protagonist of Time spends the entire album coming to terms with).
  • Advertisement:
  • The 'voice from above' Horace Wimp recurrently hears encouraging him to 'go out and find [himself] a wife" and thus propel himself towards his future, while it may simply be a representation of Horace's natural ambition, is conspicuously enigmatic and filtered through various conspicuous effects (akin to those used on several tracks in Time, including the prologue, epilogue and "Twilight"), and is represented by the ELO spaceship (a futuristic vehicle... probably, at least) in the music video (with its exit accompanied by the vocoded vocals eerily repeating the title character's name as the ship descends, which could imply an otherworldly transition (potentially the being calling or enticing him) from the disco era to 2095 ("it's either real or it's a dream there's nothing that is in between") superimposed under an image of Horace and his wife (see above), or, under the interpretation that the events of Time are simply a dream, that the 'voice' may be influencing him to consider his ability to influence (by "go[ing] out and find[ing] [himself] a life") the future to prevent the dystopian society of Time from emerging. Notice also that a similar ethereal voice is responsible for vocalizing the days used to frame the song's narrative.
  • Advertisement:
  • Related to the above, the entire song, and Horace's life in general, is heavily focused on time - Horace is frequently late to work ("late again today..."), which further compels him to move into his future, the song's plot is structured around the days of the week and the rapid rate at which Horace and his girlfriend/wife's romance escalates may indicate that romance is enlivening Horace's life with a new sense of purpose and therefore enabling time to elapse more quickly for him, or alternatively, that the sudden change in Horace's life may lead to him questioning the outcome of his future (see above).
  • A verse to "The Diary of Horace Wimp" implies that the singer is not Horace but an ambiguous women/female being (complete with a effects-heavy/robotic voice) who is merely observing Horace's actions and progress. Now compare this to the (arguably) feminine cackle heard in the bridge between the prologue and "Twilight" on Time as said being proceeds to cast the album's protagonist into the future. Alternatively, in the (arguably more unlikely) case that the song's narrator is Horace Wimp's love interest, the song cuts off following the ethereal repetition of the eponymous character's name, supporting the possibility that she did not witness his vision/experiences in 2095.
Jeff Lynne is a Gorgon.
His naked gaze turns whoever it falls upon to stone, hence the shades. And now you know what "Turn To Stone" is actually about.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: