Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Elton John - The One (1992)




Released June 1982

Recorded in London and Paris

This is one of those Elton John albums which is regularly trotted out and quoted as being one of his low points. I would have to disagree slightly with that. It has hidden depths. Apparently, Elton said that it was the first one in a long time not to have been recorded under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To a certain extent you can tell There is clarity and purpose to many of the tracks and a strength of vocal delivery. It came three years after 1989's massively successful "Sleeping With The Past" and has suffered as a consequence, which has always been slightly unfortunate. There are not the hit singles on the album, and not as many instantly memorable tracks, so therein lies its problem. That said, it should certainly not be considered a bad album, there are some good songs on here.

The opener, "Simple Life" is a slow burning beauty, full of addictive Springsteen-esque harmonica, catchy chorus refrains and a sumptuous, moving vocal from Elton. The title track is melodic, haughty and dramatic. "Sweat It Out" is a beguiling, slightly funky slow tempo number with a soulful, gruff Elton vocal. Tracks like this are great album tracks but they don't attract the "greatest hits" crowd, hence the album's comparative unpopularity. "Runaway Train" features Eric Clapton on searing guitar solo in the middle and is upbeat, strident and certainly one to remember, as far as I'm concerned. Great track. The same applies to "Whitewash County" a country-ish, rhythmic rocker that has real echoes of Elton's mid-seventies material. I love this one too.

"The North" is a stately, majestic ballad with real atmosphere and another of those instantly recognisable Elton vocals that are just so moving. This is a lovely song with a beautiful piano solo too. The slow, reflective material continues with "When A Woman Doesn't Want You". "Emily" is melodic and catchy enough, but doesn't stick in the memory as much as some of the others. "On Dark Street" is a soulful, orchestrated number but you do feel that the best material on this album was to be found in its beginning to middle. The drum-machine-dominated slowie "Understanding Women" and the mournful but totally beautiful "The Last Song", while perfectly pleasant, would seem to probably back up that assessment.

C+

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