Thursday, July 15, 2010

17. Elton John - Elton John

Counting down my favorite 25 albums of 1970:

Elton John - Elton John

Elton John's second LP, but the first to become widely popular, features his first hit "Your Song".

One of the most distinctive traits of this album is the bold string arrangements by Paul Buckmaster that could overwhelm a meeker performer; fortunately, subtlety isn't one of Elton's faults. Another distinctive trait is Bernie Taupin's obtuse lyrics that only Elton has that audacity to sing as if they mean something. Listen to "Take Me To The Pilot" for the best example of all these traits - Elton John belts Taupin's absurd lyrics with conviction and out-duels Buckmaster's bombastic arrangement.

Not every track works out this well. "No Shoe Strings On Louise" is one of those mean songs the pairs a ridiculous lyric with a catchy riff intended to get stuck in your head and drive you nuts. The album would be better off without this track (but even Revolver had its "Yellow Submarine"); it's a bouncy country waltz that would be a better fit on John's other 1970 album, the country-themed Tumbleweed Connection.

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