12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
With The One, Elton launched his first new collection of songs for the 1990s. With the slow down turn of his personal life coming to a halt by 1990, Elton emerged clean and sober for the first time in years. It shows in the music as well and particularly, in his voice. Confident, soulful and more mature, The One showcases Elton's vocal and piano playing once again. After the mild-mannered Sleeping With The Past, which attempted to capture the spirit of old school R&B (of which about half succeeded), The One jumps back into a more traditional mix of pop and rock.
The first song on the album, Simple Life, examines the trials and desires of getting things back in order (including personal, professional and spiritual). Did lyricist Bernie Taupin - who writes all of the words here - deliberately write this on purpose? In a way, the lyric reminds me of the storytelling he used for 1975's autobiographical Captain Fantastic release. Because he sings this song with a lot of conviction and he not just a mouth piece for Taupin this time - these lyrics are something he can relate to and more importantly, experienced. That aside, the plodding music never takes the song anywhere and once again, producer Chris Thomas never lifts the song up. The verses and chorus blend into one another without any trace of chord structure changes or rhythmic patterns to intervene.
The title track, The One, about finding personal and spiritual happiness with that special someone, ranks up there with Elton's best ballads. Lyrically, musically and vocally, this one was destined to be a smash hit from the beginning. Other key songs include the haunting "The North", about Taupin's roots, in which Elton sings: "The North was my mother, but I no longer need her, you trade your roots in the dust, for a face in the river. There's a north in us all, but my north can't hold me anymore." Whitewash County tells the tale of David Duke (remember, this is 1992 and the former KKK ex-senator was making a run for president) complete with faux-syn-fiddles which give the song a really downhome country swing. Emily, seems a little like Eleanor Rigby lyrically, but musically borrows the same melody from Simple Life. However, Elton's pleading vocal on Emily makes the song shine. When A Woman Doesn't Want You is a great ballad in the tradition of Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, though the lyric is much more serious as it addresses date rape. Runaway Train features a blistering guitar solo from Eric Clapton who also duets. The song about despair and finding peace and love literally moves like a train as it rocks out. The Last Song, is probably one of Elton's most eloquent and truely amazing performances on any release. The lyrics tells the story of a man dying of AIDS and making peace with his father before passing away. Once again, lyrically, musically and vocally, this song is perfectly executed on all levels. It's impossible not to feel the pain and sentiment after listening to this song. And some 12 years later, the song never fails to move me.
Otherwise, a few other songs round out this collection and those include Understanding Woman, On Dark Street and Sweat It Out. None of these unfortunately made a lasting impression on me as they seem a little routine.
I would have given The One 5 stars except that on most of the songs, the production is overdone. The drums are hugely echoed and there is way too much reliance on programmed synthesizers. There is no open space on any of these songs and while Elton's piano makes a comeback after being buried in the mix on a the few past releases, it still sometimes takes a back seat to all of the sound effects whizzing around on most of these songs. Also, I wish the melody's had been a litle more adventurous because most of very mid-tempo at best.
That aside, there is some great songwriting here. Elton and Bernie Taupin have a release that is well deserving of a proper place in their rich catalog of albums.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
From 1989 through 1995, Elton John released three albums, "Sleeping With the Past", "The One", and "Made in England" which were a radical departure from his commercially-oriented 1980s albums, and they should be regarded by his fans as among his best. Of these three, "The One" may be the most impressive of them all, since he wrote spellbinding blues and country-flavored pop ballads and rock and roll anthems, which were coupled to some of Bernie Taupin's most eloquently written lyrics. Working again with producer Chris Thomas, the producer of virtually all of his albums in the previous decade, Elton discarded much of the heavily orchestrated synthesizers which were characteristic of much of his 1980s work, emphasizing instead, a fine studio session band that included long-time associate - now musical director of the Elton John Band - guitarist Davey Johnstone, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, guitarist Adam Seymour (most recently with The Pretenders), bassist Pino Palladino (probably best known now for his recent work with The Who and John Mayer) and then relatively new band member keyboardist Guy Babylon, who had joined the Elton John Band in time for the recording session of "Sleeping With the Past". Musically, "The One" was Elton's most innovative album in the 1990s, and included not only blues and country, as well as pop and rock and roll, but also Motown/Philly Soul too. Collectively, the songs in "The One" still sound rather fresh, as if this album was released only this year, not back in 1992, constituting the John/Taupin songwriting team's best body of work until their late 2006 album "The Captain and the Kid". Without question, this album, even in its digitally remastered version (It was supervised by Elton John's original producer, Gus Dudgeon.), remains an essential Elton John CD and should belong in the collections of both fellow Elton John fans and those interested in hearing his music, but are unfamiliar with it.
"Simple Life", the album's first song, is a highly energetic rock and roll anthem that looks back briefly at Bernie's and Elton's turbulent 1980s, and though it does rely on Olle Romo's ornately layered keyboard and drum synthesizers, Elton sings with ample conviction, determined to seek the "simple life". "The One", the second - and title - song of the album, is one of the most beautifully crafted ballads from the John/Taupin songwriting team, with a drum solo from Olle Romo that sounds so convincingly like Nigel Olsson's; it was an instant classic when it was released in the United States as a chart-topping Billboard single and remains so to this day (It also remains a personal favorite of mine.); here Elton sings with ample feeling about finding "The One" great love in a man's life, with some of his best singing period. "Sweat It Out" is a less convincing, rather terse, synthesizer-flavored song, in which John's singing and songwriting are overtaken by Taupin's bitter, extremely eloquent, lyrics. "Runaway Train" is a bluesy rock and roll anthem sung convincingly by Elton and Eric Clapton, in which they seek to steer their lives "...from the errors of our ways...", using the metaphor of a runaway train as a graphically brief description of their own lives (It was co-written with Olle Romo and features a brilliant organ solo from Guy Babylon, as well as splendid guitar playing from Clapton and Davey Johnstone.). "Whitewash County" is the John/Taupin songwriting team's biting, satirical rebuke of former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke - who was running for statewide office in Louisiana at that time - set to a lively, bluegrass/country beat with some eloquent fiddling that could be from the likes of New York-based bluegrass/country/folk musicians Jay Ungar and Dotty Moore.
"When A Woman Doesn't Want You" is another country-tinged ballad that deals with the serious issues of date rape and rejection, that's yet another of this album's great songs; it features backing vocals from Kiki Dee and - then former - original Elton John Band drummer Nigel Olsson. "Emily" seems to borrow the melody of "Simple Life" in recounting the "Eleanor Rigby"-like tale of an old woman, Emily, whose friends are found now in the cemetary near her home; it's yet another fine ballad from the John/Taupin songwriting team that could have been issued as a single. "On Dark Street" is Elton John's and Bernie Taupin's Motown/Philly Soul tribute that would have been appropriate for their previous album "Sleeping With the Past", and sounds like a bitter update of "Philadelphia Freedom", with excellent background vocals again from Kiki Dee and Nigel Olsson. "Understanding Women" is another fine, feminine-oriented ballad from Elton John and Bernie Taupin, but pales in comparison with both "When A Woman Doesn't Want You", and the next song, the final original track on "The One", "The Last Song". "The Last Song", often viewed by many as the best song from this album (An assessment I agree completely with.), is the bittersweet ballad of a man dying from AIDS who is finally reconciled with his father shortly before his death; like "The One" it is yet another classic John/Taupin ballad, replete with excellent singing from "Captain Fantastic" himself. The last two songs, both bonus tracks not included in the original album release of "The One"; "Suit Of Wolves" and "Fat Boy And Ugly Girls," were released originally with the CD single "The One". This remastered version of "The One" also includes the original Patrick Demarchelier cover photograph of Elton and album design by noted fashion designer Gianni Versace, and an excellent liner notes commentary about this album's artistic importance from British music critic Peter Robinson.