Monday, 30 July 2018
Elton John - Peachtree Road (2004)
Released November 2004
Recorded in Georgia and Los Angeles
This, like all of Elton John's post 2000 albums, a fine piece of work. He was back writing with Bernie Taupin again, concocting beautiful, catchy, evocative melodies around Bernie's Americana-influenced lyrics. This is what they did best, releasing albums that were a fine balance between solid, moving ballads and potent, bluesy rock. The albums are never built around singles, they are proper albums and, as they always were, are mature, sensitive and often reflective. Bernie Taupin is simply one of the greatest songwriters of our time, no question about it. All these albums have been hailed as a "return to form", but Elton/Bernie's quality never really left, these albums just reiterate it more than others.
1. Weight Of The World
2. Porch Swing In Tupelo
3. Answer In The Sky
4. Turn The Lights Out When You Leave
5. My Elusive Drug
6. They Call Her The Cat
7. Freaks In Love
8. All That I'm Allowed
9. I Stop And Breathe
10. Too Many Tears
11. It's Getting Dark In Here
12. I Can't Keep This From You
The first two tracks are absolute corkers - packed full of Deep South atmosphere from the very first sound of falling rain on the wonderful "Weight Of The World", while "Porch Swing In Tupelo" is similarly entrancing. Elton's voice, despite ageing, is very strong on the album. "Answer In The Sky" is a majestic soulful and uplifting song, with a delicious hook. Many said it was a return to "Tumbleweed Connection" or "Elton John". It wasn't. It didn't have the country feel of the former or the lush orchestration of the latter. It was a 2000s album, excellent and unique in its own right. An Americana album for 2004, yet blatantly nostalgic. It is, though, very much a singer/songwriter album and one that doesn't pander to any contemporary trends. It is, as most of the pair's albums are these days, very much an American album. Indeed, they pretty much always were. This one very much so, though.
The quality continues on the country-ish ballad "Turn The Lights Out When You Leave", once again, the refrain is instant. It grabs you by the senses. Elton's voice is as good as it has been for many a year. Time for one of those big ballads - "My Elusive Drug" fits the bill, "my eloozive drug" as Elton sings it. It is both mournful, yearning and grandiose. "They Call Her The Cat" is one of those horn-driven blues rockers Elton has done so well over the years, in the "Philadelphia Freedom" vein. "Freaks In Love" is a dignified, stately ballad. It has to be repeated that the quality really is exceptional on this album. "All That I'm Allowed" is also excellent, with a wonderful hook to it. Both of them, Elton and Bernie, have really hit the right spot on this album, musically and lyrically. The perfect partnership at the top of its game. These two great middle-aged men have given us so much over the years.
The remaining tracks are all high quality too - the lovely, tender "I Stop And I Breathe"; the nostalgic and terribly sad "Too Many Tears"; the mournful "It's Getting Dark In Here" with its start like Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and the soully "I Can't Keep This From You". The album became more reflective and low-key as it progressed, as if it were ageing, along with its composers. t really is a mature and fulfilled album. In Elton's top ten albums.