Okay okay, so this is Elton's big album. Yeah, this is the one that is 'his best' and all... And it sure has some amazing songs on it, like 'Goodbye Yellwo Brick Road' and 'Candle in the wind', to this day two enduring classics, but, the big question on very few peoples' lips, 'should this have been a single LP'? I can't answer that, but while this album hits the highs, about half of it is just mediocre.
Too many of the rocker's sounds like they're in a rush; the 'Love lies bleeding', 'Saturday Night's alright for fighting'... yikes, he doesn't pause for a breath on 'Your sister can't twist'. Sure, the former two are good songs, especially 'Saturday Nights' with the "big riff" - but the way the band seems in a rush and Elton is trying to keep up with them, sometimes hard to understand what he's saying... despite the glossy production, it gives an impression of amaterishness. 'Dirty Little Girl', one of the few songs that acutally attracts criticism, isn't that bad, it's measured and Elton sure sings it with enough charisma.
But just right near the end, he throws 'Social Disease' at you - more like "hillbilly glam" - and you're flat-out impressed with this irresistible piece of 70's rock, it sort of makes up for the other mistakes.
Then there's songs like 'Bennie and the Jets', where Elton sounds SO Pleeeeeased with himself, yet this is another one of those tracks where his vocals are rushed, so, depsite the grand sound, it gives an impression of sloppiness.
The whole thing begins with this 'Funeral for a friend'. Progressive rock, though one independant music critic described this as 'a requim, rather than progressive rock'. Well, maybe it's a requiem played by a progressive rock musician! Whatever it is, Elton should do this more often, although this song doesn't really add much to this album.
Then there's this thing that the (six words beginng with 't'!) fans always rave about called 'I've seen that movie too', but I can't see why, it's this long, droopy, bluesy ballad that aches for six minutes, full of some of the worst metaphores... this song is pure torture for me.
Then there's a few stock standard Elton songs like 'Danny Bailey' and 'Sweet Painted Lady', and the completely dreadful 'Jamaica Jerk-Off', before finding some real nuggets in the rough. 'Grey Seal' is an excellent, up-tempo "Glam-meets-art", 'This song has no title' is an interesting song, while 'Candle in the Wind' and the title track are heartfelt power ballads with perfect melodies.
But then, rihgt at the last song, there's 'Harmony' - a flat-out heart-wrenching love song that seems so... sincere, and you wonder, just wonder, why so many of the previous songs had to hjave such an air of pretension about them. He was playing all theses characters and telling all these stoires and being outrageous. Then, all of a sudden, there's this sincere ballad, and it hits you, and you feel liek you wished there was more of that sort of thing.
All in all, some really really high highs, and a few lows, and the rest in the middle. Prognosis? Semi 'meh'. You'd get a 5 star single album out of the best ten songs on 'Don't shoot me I'm only the piano player' and 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', you'd get an even more satisfying 4.5 - 4.75 star double album out of the best song on both alubms, or, as it is, you have two 3.5 star albums.
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