Elton John

Elton John

Songs From the West Coast

Rocket/Universal

Out of the several discs I’ve heard in recent weeks, one of the unlikeliest gems would have to be this latest from pop legend Elton John. Having never really been a great admirer of his work, it was the leadoff single with that simplistic video featuring Robert Downey Jr., “I Want Love,” that lured me into this uncharted listening territory. Having eschewed his soundtrack-laden, high-gloss sound of the ’90s, John has returned to the proper form of his ’70s and early ’80s heyday. Along with the single, tunes such as “Dark Diamond” and “Love Her Like Me” have the aura of catchy pop, but with darker inflections provided by writing partner Bernie Taupin’s lyrics. Sure, it might not be cutting-edge or on the fringe of modern music, but Songs From the West Coast exhibits what many new acts lack today, a real knack for crafting a good song. It seems the sunny L.A. lifestyle has revived Elton John and his career, along with my interest in true songwriters. So for now, I guess it’s out with the new, in with the old.

Rocket/Universal Records, 1755 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; http://www.eltonjohn.com

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