I actually heard this through my public library but just discovered it’s on YouTube.
Elton was a pop phenomenon when I was the ripe young age where pop music meant everything. I was pretty “into” some of his tunes. My aunt is an accomplished pianist (finishing second in a piano competition to none other than Glenn Gould). And I remember in Elton’s heyday her saying that he was probably just a “flash in the pan.” Well, I think time proved her wrong on that one.
Elton can really tickle the ivories, as we hear in this album. And the lyrics of Bernie Taupin, with whom he’s co-written for decades, are just as poignant, at times, as some of the best (Rocket Man, Daniel, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me, Your Song). But this isn’t classic Elton John imo. It’s a nice, soothing, somewhat repetitive album. Like one big song with a few variations.
While listening it felt like I was watching the glowing embers of a once raging fire. Nothing wrong with that. But I wouldn’t pay money for it (other than what was already paid through city taxes). And I probably won’t listen to it again, except maybe for one tune about waking up in Paris.
Elton recently said he just wants to make “beautiful” music now that he’s getting older. I can understand that. But it’s not really me. I don’t think we have to fall into a schmaltzy rut just because we’re older. The other extreme to Elton’s view, of course, is the late David Bowie (whom I also adore). On Bowie’s last lp there were songs like “‘Tis a Pity She Was A Whore” and so on.
Anyhow, I digress. Listen for yourself and make up your own mind. Music is a very personal thing. This is just my reaction to Elton John, a once gifted superstar, now an Americana crooner.