Saturday, January 12, 2013

135. Elton John's Greatest hits. More Elton

Album: Elton John's Greatest Hits
Artist: Elton John
Year: 2002
Genre: Pop


1. Your Song
2. Tiny Dancer
3. Honky Cat
4. Rocket Man
5. Crocodile Rock
6. Daniel
7. Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
8. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
9. Candle in the Wind
10. Bennie and the Jets
11. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
12. The Bitch Is Back
13. Philadelphia Freedom
14. Someone Saved My Life Tonight
15. Island Girl
16. Don't Go Breaking My Heart
17. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

  1. Blue Eyes
  2. I'm Still Standing
  3. I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
  4. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
  5. Nikita
  6. Sacrifice
  7. The One
  8. Kiss the Bride
  9. Can You Feel the Love Tonight
  10. Circle of Life
  11. Believe
  12. Made In England
  13. Something About the Way You Look Tonight
  14. Written in the Stars 
  15. I Want Love
  16. This Train Don't Stop There Anymore
  17. Song for Guy

Elton John's Greatest hits is probably described somewhere as career-spanning and unlike a lot of artist compilations it (almost) is. The double disc collection starts with Your Song which was his first hit but comes from his second album (I've never heard anything from John's 1969 debut but from what I've read of it nobody else has either). It includes tracks from his 2001 release which means it gives the listener a chance to hear how John progressed throughout three decades as his went from alternative to mainstream to establishment.

Regardless of how you feel about John as a person there is something here for you to love. Despite what you might think of him as a tantrum thrower, knight of the realm, flamboyant homosexual, outspoken critic of people who aren't him, promoter of products for money, self promoter for personal gain, egotist, drug abuser, baldness denier or whatever other criticism you hurl his way, there is a song here that you enjoy to some extent.

Whether it's the outright pop of Don't Go Breaking My heart, the Musical excess of Can you Feel the Love Tonight or Circle of Life, the playful Crocodile Rock, the cartoonish Rocket Man, the shmaltz of Candle in the Wind, the eighties excesses of Nikita, or the middle of the roadness of I want Love there's a track here that you have to grudgingly admit is at least okay.

For me it's Tiny Dancer which is a catchy tune it's easy to love and hard to dislike. It was ignored when it was first released but became a popular track later in his career, especially when alternative rockers like Ben Folds latched onto it. It's just a slice of perfect pop that hasn't been overdone or overblown and hangs around in your head like a happy memory not a demon you'd pay money to exorcise.

While there's something on here for everyone there's also something to annoy every listener as well. I can't believe there is someone who can enjoy every track on both discs. The Bitch is Back and Saturday Night's alright for fighting must annoy some people who wish there was a lot more candles in a lot more wind. The eighties production in songs like Kiss The Bride, which is both disposable and annoying, must grate with a lot of people. For me the most irritating moment is actually Bennie and the Jets. There is no way I can bear hearing John scream "Bennnay! Bennay!" once, let alone over and over again.

Finally most people who are familiar with John's work would feel that there is a glaring omission somewhere that should be rectified. Personally I will never understand why anyone prefers a lot of John's songs over Madman Across The Water which is an overlooked gem and a great track that was thankfully rediscovered by the jam band community many of whom have given it a good extended live workout which does it justice.

If you cast your eyes down the tracklisting you'll probably find you know most of these songs already. You know which ones you're going to enjoy and which ones will have you reaching for the skip button with a nasty look on your face. Either way you have to respect the guy for three decades of songwriting.

Highlight: Tiny Dancer
Lowlight: Beenaaay!

Influenced by: The Beatles
Influenced: Ben Folds

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I would never buy a Elton John cd because of the person he is so thankfully my sister bought it for me. "

-I don't understand. You won't buy his music but it's fine for other people to? So you personally disapprove but you're happy to approve by proxy? How does that work?

So are these hits great or not? Let me know below.

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