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Elton John - Peachtree Road


Review: Jack Foley

ELTON John reunites with trusty long-time collaborator, Bernie Taupin, for another album, featuring 12 new songs that were influenced by the sound of the American south.

Anyone expecting a marked change of style, based on this influence, however, is likely to be relieved/disappointed in equal measure, for while there are some nice touches, Peachtree Road is unmistakeably the sound of Elton John.

The piano remains at the forefront and the love songs remain as meticulously constructed as ever, making this a very difficult album to pick apart in terms of quality.

It's just that, try as hard as I might, I couldn't escape the feeling that there is a certain over-familiarity about it, in spite of the odd flourish here and there.

Elton John clearly know his listener base and isn't really attempting to reach out to anyone new; merely throwing in the new influences as a means of mixing up the established format somewhat.

Hence, diehard fans will probably welcome the use of a choir, pedal steel, and acoustic guitar at certain points, while also noting the rock and R&B-infused blues elements, but this is first and foremost an Elton John album - and not that exciting to boot.

It's all very heartfelt, especially during yearning ballads such as Turn The Lights Out When You Leave, or the extremely personal former single, All That I'm Allowed, but it veers towards piano lounge music a little too often, and lacks any real zest or zip.

The choir gets a look in for My Elusive Drug, but lacks the sort of breathtaking conviction of, say, The Killers' use of a choir (or Razorlight, during their Parkinson appearance), while Freaks In Love is a tremendously tedious affair, that pretty much sums up the bland nature of the long-player. Too many tracks sound the same and play too rigidly to formula.

There's no denying Elton John's songwriting talent, or his ability with the piano, it's just that the PR in the album seems to suggest so much more, particularly given those influences.

Things only really briefly liven up during the rock and country-tinged, They Call Her The Cat, which is fun, and the up-tempo Too Many Tears, which features some of the album's finest lyrics (and recalls the early brilliance of Yellow Brick Road).

But, in the final analysis, the tinkling of those piano keys lacks the same sort of magic of his earlier work, and isn't adventurous enough.

So while it will probably serve as an equally successful follow-up to 2002's multi-platinum Songs From The West Coast, and keep Elton at the top of his game, Peachtree Road was not a journey that I particularly enjoyed taking.

Click here to find out more about Elton John!

 

Track listing:
1. Weight of the World
2. Porch Swing in Tupelo
3. Answer in the Sky
4. Turn the Lights Out When You Leave
5. My Elusive Drug
6. They Call Her the Cat
7. Freaks in Love
8. All That I'm Allowed (I'm Thankful)
9. I Stop and I Breathe
10. Too Many Tears
11. It's Getting Dark in Here
12. I Can't Keep This from You

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