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Almost A Return To Form

  • Dec 18, 2002
  • by
Elton John is undoubtedly a living legend in the world of popular music. Whereas Elton's best material was from the mid 1970's, this recent release Songs From The West Coast almost approaches Elton's glory days.

Certainly this recording is a big time improvement over The Big Picture which relied too much on a synthesized string background and minimal instrumental accentuations. On Songs From The West Coast, Elton's piano is more front and center. Furthermore, the songs have creative embellishments and rhythms which accentuate the solid melodies that Elton has provided us. Dark Diamond is a perfect example of a captivating rhythm combined with a charming harmonica solo that intrigues you into the song and its message.

There still are a great abundance of ballads on this release. But maybe us long time fans have to realize that Elton is growing older and is not as inclined to rock out as much as he did in the past. Nonetheless, Birds and Wasteland are two heavy duty numbers that can certainly appease rock n roll fans.

Overall this is a very good release that certainly ranks with The One as his best material in the last decade.

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Glenn Wiener ()
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The appearance of "Rocket Man"-era cohortsNigel OlssonandDavey Johnstoneas backing vocalists touches this CD with one of the trademark sounds of Elton John's 1969-75 LPs. John has acknowledged those records--his most typically singer-songwriterish--occasionally, if mostly to revisit audience favorites in concert (1987'sLive in Australia, a late-'90s VH1 show). But onSongs from the West Coast, his admiration ofRyan AdamsandRufus Wainwright(a guest here) inspires him to recall the stripped-down, lyric-driven sensibility of his early days. The tone of the words Bernie Taupin feeds this notorious diva is elegiac, rooted in a wearier version of the romanticism that fueled oldies as diverse as "Your Song," "Love Lies Bleeding," and "Burn Down the Mission."West Coastsidesteps bombast with a couple of exceptions; only "The Wasteland," with its invocation ofRobert Johnson, is enough to provoke a dismayed "oy." The standout track is "I Want Love," aLennonesque rumination that's their most impressive writing, separately or together, in more than a decade.--Rickey Wright
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Label: Umvd Labels
Artist: Elton John
Genre: Pop
Release Date: October 2, 2001
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"Almost A Return To Form"
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