The Elton John CD Review

Songs From The West Coast (2001)

1.The Emperors New Clothes
2.Dark Diamond
3.Look Ma No Hands
4.American Triangle
5.Original Sin
7.I Want Love
8.The Wasteland
9.Ballad of the Boy with the Red Shoes
10.Love Her Like Me
12.This Train Don't Stop There Anymore


Yes, all the hype is definately true, this is the best Elton John album since __________(Insert your favorite Elton album from the 70s here). During Elton's last tour before this album, he toured solo, with no band. The simpleness and success of the tour convinced him to go back to the basics. Contrary to what many reviews have said, this is not a total throwback to the early 1970's. Although many songs will remind you of classics from Tumbleweed Connection or Madman Across the Water, there are many songs remeniscent of the great Elton of the eighties and nineties as well. This is just plainly a great piece of work.

The first (and one of the best) track,The Emperors New Clothes is a definate throwback to the early seventies. We start out with only Elton's vocals and piano. Guitar, Bass, Drums and even a horn section slowly enter, but it's still a sweet simple piece compared to much of the glitz and glamour that have enhanced the music in the past fifteen years or so. His old mates Nigel Olssen and Davey Johnstone are here to provide backing vocals to add to the nostalgia. (His original Bassist Dee Murray passed away in 1992). Similar songs of this vein are Look Ma No Hands, The Ballad of the Boy With The Red Shoes and the beautiful This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore which is reminiscent of a stripped down Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Alternately, there's the wonderful Dark Diamond complete with harmonica by Stevie Wonder, which is very similar to the Too Low For Zero era. Other tracks such as The Wasteland and the beautiful Original Sin remind us that there was plenty to love about the late eighties and nineties Elton as well. Other songs such as Love Her Like Me and the odd Birds grow on you very quickly and become just as embraceable. Perhaps the most unique song is, also ironically, the first single I Want Love which I'm still convinced George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Jeff Lynne secretely had a hand in the production. Well...maybe not but it does remind you an awful lot of the Beatles' Free As A Bird. Perhaps the only non-outstanding song of the selection is . It's not necessarily bad, it just sort of....sits there.

After listening to this cd repeatedly, it's a shame to realize that the radio format of the 21st century never gave this piece of work the respect it deserves. Maybe I'm just getting old, but if this album came out in 1974, it probably would sell at least ten million copies. True fans will apreciate this body of work, and it's reassuring to know the Captain Fantastic still has it after so many years.

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