Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Elton John - Breaking Hearts (1984)


 

Released June 1984

Recorded in Montserrat

This is another of those patchy eighties albums from Elton John, that somehow didn't do it, either for me, or for many others, it would seem. However, listening to it again, I am pleasantly surprised to hear that is much better than I recall. I have owned it for years and not dug it out too often. I am finding it has hidden depths. Bernie Taupin was back with Elton full time now, as he had been on the previous album, the successful "Two Low For Zero". Also, the "Elton John Band" - Dee Murray, Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson are all present here, which is always a good thing.

"Restless" get the album off to a fine start with some chunky Stonesy riffs and a confident, lively vocal. "Slow Down Georgie (She's Poison)" is lyrically banal, but is actually quite an exhilarating, upbeat number that gets you singing along, embarrassingly. "Who Wears These Shoes" is, funnily enough, also strangely addictive in its funky liveliness. Maybe it is not quite as ordinary an album as I remembered. The title track is a bleak, sad song, hauntingly sung over a sparse piano and choral backing. "Li'l 'Frigerator" up the tempo once more, with a frantic, typical Elton seventies-style rocker.  He does this sort of thing so well. You know, I'm not that big a fan of "Too Low For Zero" and I find I am enjoying this album more, to be honest.

"Passengers", I have always felt, was a really odd song, with its slightly reggae-ish beat and strange, chanted lyrics. It also has a captivating air about it, though. Maybe this album has a few hidden secrets. "In Neon" (or "Ne-awwwn" as Elton sings it, Jagger style) is a fetching, melodic slow number with that slightly country-ish feel to it that we are so familiar with in John/Taupin compositions. "Burning Buildings" is a big production, dramatic number reminiscent of the material on "Captain Fantastic". "Did He Shoot Her?" is another surprisingly appealing one that I have found I have enjoyed all these years later more than I ever did. Elton's voice sounds excellent here, even though it was only a couple of years away from an operation.

"Sad Songs" is one we all know - melodic and singalong. It doesn't need further comment from me. What does need to be said, however, that this is a far better album than I had remembered, or is popularly conceived as being. In my view it is the superior, not only of "Jump Up!" but also of "Too Low For Zero".

B-

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