Elton John
Empty Sky


2.0
poor

Review

by Madman87 USER (1 Reviews)
July 17th, 2013 | 11 replies


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An interesting debut album, but only necessary for die hard fans.

Elton John's first album was released in the UK in June of 1969. US fans would have to wait until 1975, at which point Elton was a superstar. It all starts here with Empty Sky, an album that could fit well into the psychedelic category of the late 1960s. Most of Bernie's lyrics here are rather interesting, and Elton's melodies are already beginning to gel. Unfortunately, as with some debut albums, there lacks a sense of purpose.

The album begins strongly with the title cut Empty Sky. At over 8 minutes in length Elton and Caleb (guitarist) rock out in this extended jam. At times it feels like you're on a train gliding over the tracks. This train however never seems to know where it's going to stop as with Empty Sky.

The next track has a medieval feel with Valhalla. Elton is playing multiple instruments, including both piano and harpsichord. While this works well, there is one problem. John doesn't sound convincing as he sings the lyrics (the sea dogs have all sailed their ships, into he docks of dawn). He sounds confused and seems to lack confidence in his ability to work a song. The chords are neat but they don't reach a melodic peak, they just drone on.

Western Ford Gateway sounds like a song that could have fit on Elton's third album Tumbleweed Connection. This is finally where similar to the Empty Sky track, he is able to find a proper hook for the chorus. As with most of the album, it takes a while to get used to these obscure lyrics.

Hymn 2000 really puts this album into the psychedelic category. It opens with flute and acoustic guitar. Here's where Elton and Bernie get lost once again. Bernie seems to question religion (and who wrote the bible, was it Judas or Pilot" Well one cleans his hands, while the other one hangs, but still I continue to stand.) The piano chords are very dissonant and the song doesn't really go anywhere.

Side two opens with Lady What's Tomorrow. The more I hear this songs the less I seem to enjoy it. The chords are delightful and the chorus is not much different from Billy Joel's She's Got A Way. However, the lyrics are naïve (Remember when you were nine, and I was ten" We would run into the woods, no we never will again.) Elton can't save this song as he sings like someone has a gun to his head.

Sails is similar to the Empty Sky title track as it's a rocker. Elton and Caleb once again battle each other for attention. I feel that the electric piano works well and makes the listener feel that the tides are hitting the shore. The song reaches a peak with the chorus, where Elton really belts it out. (While the seagulls were screaming, Lucy was eating.) Bernie wanted this song to have a peaceful feel, while his partner turns it into thrill ride.

The Scaffold hands down is the worst track on the entire album. Once again the electric piano is featured but neither the lyrics or melody gel. The song just meanders and the chorus just sounds like the verses.

Skyline Pigeon would eventually become a live staple and is the best written song on the album. In 1972, Elton would record the song again with piano to much greater effect. Here we have what sounds like a church hymn. It's nice and as much as I like the harpsichord I feel piano would have fit better. The organ comes in the second verse and at this point it's overblown. John lacks conviction again when singing the song and that makes a difference.

Gulliver is a medley of songs that starts with what sounds like a funeral for the death of a dog. It's very melancholy, and not much different from songs like We All Fall In Love Sometimes or Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word. At first, this song is very intriguing. (Gulliver's gone with the final command of his master. His watery eyes had washed all the hills his laughter). Finally, Elton and Bernie's lyrics come together and fit like a glove. The chorus is even better, and Elton gives it an emotional feel with his voice. (There's four feet of ground in front of the barn...) By the end of this part of the song, Elton is wailing like a little child. All of a sudden the funeral turns into a blues jam. This piece is called Hay Chewed (obviously a play on words for Hey Jude). I used to think this was awesome but it feels out of place. It's going from the depths of despair to musical euphoria in the same song and it disrupts the listener's attention. After the jam is over we are left with a snippet of each song (Reprise) until it arrives back to Elton's cry on the last track. This was a bad idea as to who would want to hear the songs again as you've already listened to them before"

Empty Sky without a doubt is an interesting artifact. While recorded well, there really isn't anything that great despite a few cuts (Empty Sky, Western Ford Gateway, Sails, Skyline Pigeon and Gulliver). The next album would find the duo's true strengths. What you're left with on this album is naivety and pretentiousness at it's finest.

**


user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Alex Stephenson (2.5)
Fly away towards the dreams you've left so far behind....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Madman87
July 17th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm sorry, but what's a tbt?

ViperAces
July 17th 2013


12593 Comments


track by track.
it refers to reviewing album by simply going track by track and explaining each one, which is considered bad writing

Madman87
July 17th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Let me tell you something Frippertronics or whatever your name is. I am actually in music education. I play Elton John and many other artists. I used to do track by track rating but decided to try something different. The fact that you said something about tbt without clarifying what that is or giving constructive feedback shows how unprofessional you are sir. Oh by the way, sorry to hear you're waiting on your work permit for an occupation.

Madman87
July 17th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh, well Viper, I didn't know that was considered bad writing. So what, everybody's going to find it not helpful. That's ridiculous and I tried to add interesting ideas to this review. Thank you for the information but give me feedback rather than just criticize not that you did. I am in music education and I know what I'm talking about.

ViperAces
July 17th 2013


12593 Comments


the review is pretty cool

Madman87
July 17th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thank you, I appreciate it.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013


4508 Comments


track by tracks aren't necessarily bad, some people here just dont like them. It is a bit unprofessional to write one, but then again, this is a site open to amateur writing, therefore you, as a user (especially a new one), are not required to write a professional review. Track by tracks are fine, and I personally enjoy reading them because sometimes it's nice to get a good overview of every track in the album. Feel free to write the you want to write, if track by tracks work for you, then keep doing them.

With that said, I love Elton John and this is your first review so POS'd.

Madman87
July 18th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Frippertronics: I am being serious, I apologize for getting all upset over nothing. I'm a very sensitive individual. It was not right to take it out on you. You sound like a very intelligent person and how about we put our differences behind us? What I would like since you have such a high percentage rating, is to give me suggestions on how to write a solid review. I do like to do track by track but I know that's not ideal. It was wrong to unlike one of your reviews, so I apologize.



Madman87
July 18th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah, maybe I should make a new username since my review wasn't too good and since I can't change it. By the way, what's a pos?

Madman87
July 18th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Plus, I got off on the wrong foot with some people and I'd like to try and do a review differently, even though it's not my style to just do highlights or something along those lines. I just want to be able to put my musical thoughts into writing for the love of albums you know?

Madman87
July 18th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Hey man, it seems as though someone is ridiculing me for writing in my own shoutbox my accident. Should I report them? It's kind of annoying.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy