Monday, 30 July 2018

Elton John - Victim Of Love (1979)


Released October 1979

This is one of Elton John's most odd, and least successful albums. After some reasonable success with 1978's "A Single Man", Elton ignored the punk revolution going on all around him and released an album of seven extended disco-rock songs. Quite why is unclear. Maybe he just felt like it. Apparently he had met producer Pete Bellotte (well known for collaborations with disco guru Giorgio Moroder) and Bellotte and persuaded Elton to do a disco album. Elton agreed on the premise that he just sang the vocals and did not play piano. The whole projects reeks of being an exceptionally poor decision. Even disco's light was fading by now, Elton was a year (or three) too late. Even now, you have to wonder what possessed him to do this.


1. Johnny B. Goode
2. Warm Love in A Cold World
3. Born Bad
4. Thunder In The Night
5. Spotlight
6. Street Boogie
7. Victim Of Love

The opener is a punchy, thumping cover of Chuck Berry's classic "Johnny B. Goode". Is is not too bad, although has no real rock'n'roll feeling to it but it allows whoever replaced Elton on piano to rock out with some boogie-woogie piano in the middle. Then we get some programmed drums and some wah-wah guitar before Elton returns on vocals. It is an interesting, upbeat oddity. "Warm Love In A Cold World" is all Giorgio Moroder-influenced disco rhythms - pounding drums and electric keyboard swirls backing repetitive vocals and some typical disco "thumb" bass. "Born Bad" is next (all the tracks segue into each other). It actually sounds pretty much the same as the previous one. The beat has not changed all.The "born bad" refrain is repeated just like the "warm love" bit on the previous song. "Thunder In The Night" has some Russian classical overtones and Elton's vocal is quite convincing on this one. It is probably the album's catchiest song. At least it is recognisable as Elton John.

You know, this album lasts only around thirty-five minutes, but after around twenty, I have had enough. The beat simply does not change. The vocals float around above it but it actually is a very boring album. "Spotlight" borrows the guitar riff from "Caribou"'s "Grimsby" in places, I believe. "Street Boogie" is as remarkable as the rest of it. The title track has slightly more disco appeal, with a convincing refrain, but overall I am sorry to say that this was a completely uninspiring project. I have tried to be as positive as possible, but sometimes you just have to be honest.


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