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Peachtree Road

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Album Review

Elton John returned to the sound and aesthetic of his classic early-'70s work with 2001's Songs From the West Coast, finding critical acclaim, if not much commercial success. Not that the lack of sales greatly bothered Elton — in many interviews, including one with Entertainment Weekly the week before Peachtree Road was released in November 2004, he claimed he was "disappointed" that it just barely went gold, but he was tired of making "uneven" records. John wasn't merely doing publicity: Peachtree Road proves that he's back to making good, solid records focused on songs, not hits, the way he did at the outset of his career. Since this is an album by a veteran, not an artist on the rise, it doesn't have the sense of discovery, or the hunger, that the early records still retain, and the production — the first self-production by John with no collaborators — is a little cleaner and crisper than the rich, warm sound of the late Gus Dudgeon (to whom this record is dedicated), who helmed such masterworks as Tumbleweed Connection. This means Peachtree Road is about craft, both in the writing and recording, which also means that it's a grower, with each song sounding stronger, better with each spin. While the sound of the record is bright and polished, this album makes few concessions to radio: this is certainly adult pop, but it never panders to adult contemporary radio, and the music is a little too rugged and sturdy to fit alongside the stubbornly sweet sounds of 21st century MOR. Which is precisely the point, of course: Elton has consciously returned to the reflective singer/songwriter template of the early '70s, both in his writing and production. Not that this is as lush as Elton John or country-tinged as Tumbleweed Connection — "Answer in the Sky" recalls the high-flying disco of "Philadelphia Freedom" quite deliberately, and "They Call Her the Cat" finds a halfway point between "Honkey Cat" and "The Bitch Is Back" — but it fits alongside those albums quite nicely because the focus is on songs, not trying to have hits. These songs may not rival his standards, but they're in the same tradition, and there's not a bad song in the bunch, resulting in a sturdy, satisfying record that proves that the comeback on Songs From the West Coast was no fluke and, hopefully, this latter-day renaissance for Elton will not be short-lived either.

Customer Reviews

Good Tunes

This is the album between Songs From The West Coast and The Captain And The Kid and it shows Elton can still write music. Solid tunes like Porch Swing In Tupelo, Freaks In Love and My Elusive Drug. Just coming out now on Itunes is well worth the download.

Outstanding, As Usual

Once again, Sir Elton and Mr. Taupin have outdone themselves. This is a magnificent album which manages to blend piano-driven pop with a country feeling that blend seamlessly together. As a long-time fan of Sir Elton, I can honestly say that what is accomplished on this album proves that although 60, (58 at the time this album was made), Sir Elton still knows how to captivate his audience with perfect melodies and a voice that only gets richer with age. In terms of Mr. Taupin's lyrics, they are yet again outstanding, and are still as brilliant as the one's he penned in the 70's.

How?

How does one human being have this much material? And how is he able to express it this well? Anyway this is an awesome album its like it was 30 yrs ago

Biography

Born: March 25, 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In terms of sales and lasting popularity, Elton John was the biggest pop superstar of the early '70s. Initially marketed as a singer/songwriter, John soon revealed he could craft Beatlesque pop and pound out rockers with equal aplomb. He could dip into soul, disco, and country, as well as classic pop balladry and even progressive rock. His versatility, combined with his effortless melodic skills, dynamic charisma, and flamboyant stage shows, made him the most popular recording artist of the '70s....
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