Review Summary: Taking a dive oceans away...
In all the years Reginald Kenneth Dwight has been in the music industry, he has been renowned for his flamboyant exploits and extraordinary stage presence, as well as his superb skill at the ivory keys; he has managed to make a name for himself as "Elton John." John has released several hit albums, varying from smash hits such as 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', to critical duds such as 'Leather Jackets' and 'Victim of Love.'
Now, in the twilight of his lengthy career, John has dished out yet another impressive record with 'The Diving Board.' Cited by him to be his most piano-centric album yet, 'The Diving Board' went through a long and tired process in which the majority of the material had to be rewritten due to John's dissatisfaction with the then-final product. Now, around a year after its first planned release back last September, 'The Diving Board' is now ready for release. When it was announced as a piano-centric album, and to be his most "adult" album yet, it can be said this could've been like his more recent efforts, which either fell flat or did well as an album. All throughout 'The Diving Board', a good amount of the songs feel samey, with little or no difference in the instrumentation, feeling monotonous in the duration of the album. But in the minor monotony, there are little gems that shine throughout 'The Diving Board.' Songs such as 'Can't Stay Alone Tonight', Take This Dirty Water', Mexican Vacation', and the title track show that John and Bernie Taupin have still got it as a singer-songwriting team, even over forty years later, with the tracks mentioned being reminiscent of tracks from albums such as "Honky Chateau" and "Blue Moves." Other tracks such as "Oceans Away" and lead single, "Home Again" showcase a more personal side to the rocket man, recalling the simplistic writing of "Empty Sky" and the self-titled album back in 1970. "Dream #1, #2 and #3" serve as interesting preludes to the songs that come after it, ("My Quicksand", "The New Fever Waltz", and the title track respectively) as well as building up the album, leading to the penultimate "Dream #3", which compliments the title track very well.
Out of all the issues the album had with songwriting, and the time it took to finish, this managed to be the impressive final product. It could've been a mess, a total and absolute disaster, but it wasn't. It isn't the greatest thing Mr. Elton John has released, but it sure is the best album he's released in years, and perhaps, this could be a new start of something new for Reginald Kenneth Dwight and Bernie Taupin? I guess that’s something we’ll have to wait for in the coming years, but for now, this is as good as it gets.