Archive for September 26th, 2009

On The Fence: Elton John – Greatest Hits

26 September 2009

Elton John had style, without a doubt. I loved the Donald Duck outfit, the shades, and the bling. But when it comes to the music, I’m torn…

Elton John | Greatest Hits

THUMBS UP: An absolute staple of my parents’ record collection, this album is so ingrained in my childhood that it’s almost impossible for me to step back and observe it objectively. Even the songs I don’t care for (more on those later) are maddeningly catchy slices of pop perfection. I haven’t actively sought out tunes like ‘Daniel’ and ‘Honky Cat’ in more than 20 years, and yet I know every horn break and piano lick – every lyric by heart. And that says something right there. Throw in the fact that Elton was one of the most dynamic performers of his time, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a keeper album. You don’t have to love it, or listen to it very often, but you ought to have it somewhere in your collection…

THUMBS DOWN: Elton John’s Greatest Hits is one of the most perfect pieces of evidence in favor of the take-what-you-like world of MP3s. ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ are lame, overcooked songs that were WAAAAAAAY overplayed on the radio in the 70’s. I’ve also long suspected that Elton’s dynamic performances helped assist him in a triumph of style over substance. Certainly nothing here is indispensable, but there are plenty of things that are hard to take seriously – ‘Bennie & The Jets’ and ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ being the prime examples. This has some catchy tunes and lots of nostalgic value, but as my friend Johnny Johnson said one night as he was re-filing an album, “See ya’ in five years, pal!”

[What’s your take? Is Elton John’s Greatest Hits a keeper, or does it belong in the crapper?]