The Band: Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John
is an extraordinary individual. This man is an honorary knight of The United Kingdom, a legendary pop singer, composer and pianist. He, alongside writing partner Bernie Taupin, is estimated to have sold over two hundred million albums. Elton rose to fame in the early seventies releasing several successful albums, spawning hit singles like Rocket Man
and Tiny Dancer
. His career really took off in 1973 when he released Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
, which obviously received its name from the classic film “The Wizard Of Oz”. People loved Elton’s style and not just his musical style either. People loved his insatiable flair for fashion. The seventies were an odd stage for fashion, that’s a fact, but Elton pushed the limits even for that time period and as if his astounding music and fashion sense weren’t enough people also adored his onstage personality. With this tripod of talent Elton has dominated the music industry for over thirty years. Throughout his illustrious career Mr. John has released forty-four albums (including live albums etc.) and he continues going.
was Elton’s ninth album released and one of his best in my opinion. It’s just a damn fun listen. It has a fast, but steady pace throughout and a wonderful assortment of instruments, as well. Naturally it contained the standard three band instruments: guitar, bass and drums, but it also had piano and some saxophone, as well. This gave the album a dynamic and varying atmosphere, but at the same time managing to maintain a feeling of simplicity. I really enjoyed that aspect. As many of you know I prefer complex instrumentals to simple, but often times bands with complex instrumentals fail to make their music catchy. Sir Elton manages to do both. His instrumentals aren’t overly complex, but complex enough and the music is extremely catchy. Due to the albums sheer catchiness it’s an excellent listen at anytime of they day, or night. Unless perhaps you need to get motivated for something, then this isn’t such a wise choice. This album won’t get you pumped up at all. Other than that though, it’s good for anytime. Relaxing at home, going for a drive, having a nice dinner. Some tracks will even suite the mood for after dinner events, if you get me. All in all I’d say this album has a rather easy going feel, which is why you can listen to it at anytime, unless you need to be motivated. That’s a great aspect for a record to have because you know if you buy it that you will listen to it often.
So, based on the overall feel you’re probably wondering “What does this album bring to the table in the department of lyrics"”. Well, this album has varying lyrical messages. They vary from serious to… not serious. There aren’t any really playful lyrics at any point, but some of them aren’t serious either. They’re Just sort of plain. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that they are in any way boring. They just don’t really have any specific message, or sing about any serious subject matter. For an example of this I will provide for you a portion of the lyrics from Dixie Lily
Showboat coming up the river
See her lanterns flicker in the gentle breeze
I can hear the crickets singing in the evening
Old Dixie Lily moving past the cypress trees
See what I mean" There’s no real point. As far as I can tell that whole track is just about a man on the edge of a river watching a big boat drive by. Nothing wrong with that, though. In fact, I myself prefer it to depressing songs with messages about break ups etc. It’s nice to be able to listen to a song without worrying about what it means, or how you feel about its message etc. Now, like I said there were also some tracks that did have a message or told a more grave tale. Take as an example the track Pinky
I don't want to wake you
But I'd like to tell you that I love you
That the candlelight fell like a crescent
Upon your feather pillow
That track is about a girl named ‘Pinky’. Based on the lyrics to the song she’s a real looker and gets around quite a bit too. The song is sung from a man’s point of view, though, as he watches Pinky sleep in their hotel room. Whether this song has a message or not is unclear. Although, I seriously doubt it’s written based on a first hand experience. I say this because as many of you know Elton is gay. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, it’s just the logic behind my statement. Anyways, overall this album has two different types of lyrical styles it seems, but regardless of which style Elton used they were well written. I must say I rather enjoyed his lyrics, they were well thought out.
Speaking of things being well written let’s talk about the instrumentals. In case you didn’t gather this from my previous sentence they were well written. In this album Elton manned the piano and did a simply marvelous job. In some tacks the piano was a bit difficult to hear over the guitar, but regardless it was great. The short staccato notes frolicked happily through my ears as I listened. There were also some instances were the piano played longer flat notes, but they were rare due to this albums quicker pace. When I did hear them I enjoyed it, though. The guitar was also splendid. A lot of it was clever little arrangements of chords that went along well with the piano. There was the occasional riff here and there, but not too many. This album isn’t really instrument orientated, although the instrumentation is wonderful. I also liked the guitarists tone. It had that sort of classic rock (Yes, I am aware that classic rock is not actually a genre) feel to it, you know" It just really suited the time period, like as soon as you hear it you think “Yep, this was made in the seventies”. To say that the bass played a monumental role in this album would be a lie, but it did it’s job and that’s all I ask. For the most part it just seemed to play the root notes of the what the guitar was playing. It occasionally played it’s own riffs, but when it did it was difficult to hear anyways. The bassist did manage to keep excellent rhythm , though and even if there was some lack of bass it took nothing away from this albums greatness. The drums were mostly good old simple rock n’ roll beats. Nothing wrong with that in an album like this. The drummer showed some good technical skills. There were no mistakes evident and he kept good timing. Lastly there was a bit of saxophone. It wasn’t an every track deal, but it made it’s presence felt. Knowing very little about saxophone it’s difficult to tell whether or not it was well written, but I was satisfied. All in all this albums doesn’t have the greatest instrumentation ever, but no where near the worst either. Also, considering this isn’t really in instrumentation obsessed genre of music the instrumentals were damn good.
Pros: Vocals were solid
Instrumentals were complex for genre
Good job with lyrics
Excellent production for time period
Cons: I would’ve liked to see a little more from the piano
Overall Rating: 4.5/5