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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