Looking for new music? Elton John, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Jack Johnson, Gloria Estefan and Paul McCartney all have new albums or songs out this month.
They’re haunting, melodic stories in music. Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics and Elton wrote the music, just like long ago. If you like Elton John’s earlier albums like 11-11-70, you may very well love this album.
Start with ‘Oceans Away’. I’ve played it over and over again just to hear the hook of the chorus. It’s the first song on the album and I agree with Bernie Taupin’s assessment that ‘it stands with the most memorable John-Taupin works. Taupin dedicates the song to his father, Captain Robert Taupin. Its’ chorus (and most wonderful musical hook on the whole album, although there are many to choose from):
Call ’em up, n’ dust ‘em off, let ‘em shine
The ones who hold on to the ones they had to leave behind
Those that flew and those that fell, the ones that had to stay
Beneath a little wooden cross oceans away.
If 'Oceans Away' does it for you, then step up to 'The Diving Board', the title track. Again, strong hooks, intriguing lyrics and a poignant sound bring me back to it again and again.
Also recommended: Can't Stay Alone Tonight, The Ballad of Blind Tom
NPR Music – ‘A Simple Approach Works For Elton John’ by David Bauder
Rolling Stone – ‘Elton John Previews New Album at L.A. Listening Party’ by Gavin Edwards
All Music review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Elton John - The Diving Board on iTunes
First broadcast on Aspen Public Radio on September 28, 2013 on Aspenbeat, 'handpicked music and radio' hosted by Andrea Young.