I’m not sure what might have led to Australian duo, Pnau to remix/mash-up Elton John songs, but it’s an odd listen that’s still every bit as predicable as you’d expect. Much like Cirque du Soleil’s mash-up of The Beatles on Love or the dreadful Elvis Presley remix record, Viva Elvis, this album doesn’t do much to add to the artist’s catalog as much as it does exploit it. This attempt at “updating” still sounds really dated, which might not be a horrible thing but it’s still disorienting to hear great songs from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road with modern beats. It’s partly like a cheesy eighties 80′s soundtrack and also like a 90′s R&B dance tune. While these songs try to pull together to create something interesting, nothing really works the way it should. While I can applaud the use of lesser known Elton John songs, the original recording are always better. The constant retro beach-and-sun sound that goes on over and over on this album is very ordinary and does nothing for the album. Nothing on Good Morning to Night is going to shed light on anything on John’s discography.
Rating: 3.0 out of 10.
One of the most moving songs on Elton John’s 2001 record, Songs From The West Coast, “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore” is a perfect way to close out an extremely personal record with a song about a broken, beaten man looking back on his life.
The song has is deceptively simple with piano, strings and some backing vocals, at times (done by Take That’s Gary Barlow). But things really hit with Elton’s lyrics and how he sings these lines. Elton’s life during the seventies and eighties were filled with drugs and excess, and “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore” has Elton not believing in miracles, and claiming many of his older songs were a joke, filled with unnecessary lines about love. Verse two has Elton bringing up his troubles with the subject of love, not understanding it and being emotionally shut off.
The music video is also a thing to admire. It’s does something that rarely happens with music videos, it adds to the song. Given the personal nature of the song, it only makes sense that it’s filled with a younger Elton John. But what really makes it work is Justin Timberlake looking so much like Elton John, while still maintaining a distance from the real Elton. The entire video is shot in slow motion showing a younger Elton John in the seventies walking around backstage with everything from fans to photo shoots to Liza Minnelli (!) getting in his way.
Songs From The West Coast is Elton’s grandest effort, and I might have to review the whole album at a later date…