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
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
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.
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