Tuesday, April 22, 2008
No. 463: Tumbleweed Connection
Band: Elton John
Album: Tumbleweed Connection
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Elton John's third album has Bernie Taupin writing about the American West, though John remains a piano singer/songwriter. Some of his earlier lush arrangements are perfected on "Tumbleweed Connection," as evidenced by "Come Down in Time."
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: The album isn't perfectly conventional, so it's not accessible. Most Elton John records have a hit or two, this one has none.
Best song: "Country Comfort" is the closest to C&W, with its slide guitar. "My Father's Gun" is epic-sounding.
Worst song: "Where to now St. Peter" isn't very good.
Is it awesome?: Not really. It's fine.
Elton John is someone I can't really imagine as an actual cowboy, but his album of cowboy songs is actually pretty good. Large and lyrical, the songs often trend over five minutes.
The songs go out there in a way Taupin and John would explore later on "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." The harder rock of "Son of Your Father" foreshadows "Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting" and the large sound of "Come Down in Time" is the type of thing they would explore on multiple occasions later.
The album is certainly spotty. "Love Song" is a guitar/vocals track that doesn't fit anywhere near an Elton John record. And overall, it's a record of piano songs masquerading as cowboy songs. An ambitious record, certainly, but not executed really well.