Monday, February 18, 2013
A Record a Week: Elton John's Greatest Hits (w/ bonus Absolutely Free - UFO/Glass Tassle)
GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD
SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT FOR FIGHTING
BENNIE AND THE JETS
DON'T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME
Usually I am hard on greatest hits records, referring to the fact it is unfair to rate them compared to other albums. I say forget the cynicism for today, though and lets celebrate this pretty great album. In fact, a good chunk of the songs came off of one album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Also, I can't think of too many songs he has written in the almost 40 years since this was released that would push their way on. Perhaps some of the duets or soundtrack songs (I am partial to the Lion King soundtrack), but as far as solo performance Elton John songs? Perhaps 'The Bitch is Back' and 'Candle in the Wind' are the only two.
I wonder if the mother of Mr. Reginald Kenneth Dwight ever pictured this when her son was born? Who knows, but he is loaded with talent, so he must've at the very least been started on the piano at a relatively young age.
My favourite songs from this release are Daniel and Rocket Man, which I had no idea of the lyrics to until that Family Guy clip of Stewie performing it in a 'cool' fashion. Now I always think of that when I hear the song. I also can't hear Bennie and the Jets without hearing the Beastie Boys slurred speech version, which I have probably heard more than the original at this point.
I know, I know. Out of alphabetical order. I can't help it though, this just came out a little bit ago and I went to see them play on Saturday evening. I felt it wouldn't be fitting to leave this one out just because I've passed the letter, so I just tacked it on to this week's review, which I will now do for all records when this occurs.
Absolutely Free is 4/5 of the band dd/mm/yyyy, but more than that, it is a culmination of everything that formed the musical careers of the members. Obviously, this leads to a flavour of dd/mm/yyyy, as they were all a part of that, but it is more than that too. Described by some as psych, I think it runs a lot deeper than that. After the show, I was talking with band member Matt King about DeSoto and Dischord records from the 90's and how that is a piece of the puzzle. With that drive-y DC indie sound that was post-hardcore and math rock from bands like Don Caballero, Dianogah, Dismemberment Plan, Jawbox, North of America, etc., it is easy to see how it all comes together.
Being of a similar age as the band members, I understand how it is a perfect time to be able to reflect back on your life and take all of the important pieces and form something new and that appears to be just what they've done. The result is a fully-formed sound that is dynamic, complex and comfortable all at once. It all comes together wonderfully in a live show where members move seamlessly from one instrument to another without creating any drastic change in sound/song structure.
This release is the first in a series of songs that will be let out in small batches in similar fashion.