Returning to his roots, Elton John delivers a well-crafted series of tunes in his latest album, "Songs From The West Coast". Collaborating with long-time friend and partner Bernie Taupin, this new album marks John's return to the powerful, emotional ballads which earned him fame in the late 80s, and is a welcome diversion from the bubblegum pop currently holding down store shleves.
At times melancholy, at times almost deliriously happy, always lyrical, "Songs From The West Coast" opens with the slightly-disappointing "The Emperor's New Clothes", moving rapidly to address death, homophobia and AIDS in "American Triangle" and "The Ballad Of The Boy In The Red Shoes". The powerful guitar hooks of "I Want Love" and the nostalgic undertones of "Original Sin" are memorably haunting, while the closing strains of "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" are fittingly mournful.
Bristling with powerful vocals, some great piano and a dark skein running through it, "Songs From The West Coast" is one of John's better efforts. Should not be missed, if you're an Elton John admirer.This article was first published on 24 Dec 2001.