Music review

Elton’s piano magic

After listening to a lot of cacophonic clutter of “junk’’ music, it is good to listen to an old favourite like Elton John. “The Rocket Man’s” 30th solo album, Diving Board, may not be his greatest, yet it is an eminently listenable one.

The opening track, “Oceans Away” is a dark piano-driven song that looks backward with nostalgia and the heartache of advancing years (I hung out with the old folks, in the hope that I’d get wise./ I was trying to bridge the gap, between the great divide./ Hung on every recollection, in the theatre of their eyes/ Picking up on this and that, in the few that still survive.) 

The songs are written by Elton’s long term collaborater Bernie Taupin. In the 1970s and 1980s, the pair were a hit machine: “Your Song,” “Rocket Man,” “Daniel,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” “Candle in the Wind.”

There are three piano instrumental interludes titled (Dream No 1, 2 and 3). It signals the change in mood and direction of the album. It also demonstrates his superior piano playing. In “My Quicksand”, Elton with just his piano delivers a pensive and moody ballad, which progresses into a jazzy finish. 

Musically, “Can’t Stay Alone Tonight” is a weak song, but has meditative lyrics of a disturbed mind (And I can’t stay alone tonight/ Can’t let another day go by/ Why is it always this way?/

Time never seems to really fly/ And time is never really on my side/ And I can’t stay alone tonight/ Things have to change and they might/ But I can't stay alone tonight). “Voyeur” is minimalistic effort and equally mature, reflective and melodic. “Mexican Vacation” has exuberant R&B piano play. It is one of the better tracks of the album.

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