Peachtree Road

Elton John

Universal, 2004

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/28/2006

Though I've always appreciated Elton John's music, I only own a few of his albums -- one being a greatest hits compilation. Embarrassing, but on the bright side, it does allow me to view his latest effort, Peachtree Road, unbiased and separate from the rest of his expansive career.

Peachtree opens with the optimistic "Weight Of The World"; its chorus ("Happy today, happy to play / With the weight of the world off of my back") depicts Elton finally free and content in his own life. It's a strong beginning, and just as catchy and enjoyable as earlier Elton hits.

Next up is the country flavored "Porch Swing In Tupelo," featuring standout backing from long-standing sidemen, drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist Davey Johnstone. My only qualm with this track is that though the music is fantastic, the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. Lines like "And this place don't change / Some places move slow / I'm just rocking myself on this porch swing in Tupelo" just don't seem to ever go anywhere.nbtc__dv_250

Similar to "Porch Swing" is "Turn The Lights Out When You Leave," and later, "They Call Her The Cat." If you're a fan of loose, twangy country, the former will suit you, but both sound like filler to me. Though "They Call Her The Cat" features some great brass, the too-goofy-to-be-a-rocker track seems out of place (the meowing near the end doesn't help matters either).

"Answer In The Sky," the U.S. single, continues in the earlier hopeful, optimistic vein, and knowing the struggles in Elton's career, it's particularly poignant. I find that it does toe a fine line between inspiring and cheesy, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. The single across the pond, "All That I'm Allowed," hits a comparable note; it's a slightly unremarkable ode to a higher power. Listenable, but nothing in it that's particularly captivating.

Next, "My Elusive Drug" is a highlight of the album with its highly personal lyrics and passionate delivery on Elton's part. It harkens back to "Mellow" from Honky Chateau, and it turns out to be a mature, introspective look back on years of "cheap thrills," as Bernie Taupin puts it; it results in being one of the songs on Peachtree that's notably solid throughout.

Another standout is "It's Getting Dark In Here," one that veers from the initial uplifting message to decidedly darker lyrics like "Sometimes I feel I'm on fire / I've been handed a curse and a blessing." It's one of my favorites on Peachtree, especially because it seems more genuine than the preachy tendencies of earlier tracks while retaining the signature details that make Elton's work brilliant.

Peachtree Road was hailed as a comeback for Elton John, and while I don't know if it succeeds entirely, it proves to be a satisfying release from one of music's most enduring figures.

Rating: B

User Rating: C+


Comments

I have been enjoying Elton John's music since 1974. In my opinion, Peachtree Road is the best album since 'Too low for zero'. It stands repeated listenings and contains several classics. I have come to prefer it even to the excellent 'Songs from the west coast'.








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