New Music

Elton Revives That Classic Feel On New Blues Album The Diving Board

  • September 25, 2013
  • 4 min read

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It has been 3 years since the music world got anything new from rock icon Sir Elton John (last release was The Union withLeon Russell) and with his 31st studio album, The Diving Board, he shows us just how much we’ve been missing from him as a solo artist. Calling this his “most adult album to date” Elton opens the vault of his extensive music library and properly emulates the sound that made him the mega musician we know today.

The Diving Board sounds like it could have come out in any era of rock. Being an artist who knows he isn’t going to be number one with the likes of Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, he set out to make a record of good rock and blues. T-Bone Burnett, producer of the album and of The Union, told Elton he needed to “return to the piano, bass and drums set up that he had in the early days of his career”. This was a similar sound that made Elton’s last solo album (The Captain and the Kid) such a critical success.  This album as a whole is nearly perfect. Listening to it from beginning to end (as one should) the listener can immediately feel like they are listening to unreleased tracks from early Elton albums like Tumbleweed Connection, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player or Blue Moves. Like these albums, The Diving Board is not themed but gives the audience a full range of properly collected emotional songs all placed together on one album, giving it a full and meaningful tone.

It’s easily detectable to hear how much love was put into the making of this album by all of those involved. Bernie Taupin really takes the stage with his lyrical prowess. I suppose to carry on being the most successful writing duo in music, both parties must put in the same amount of effortless talent. The song “Oscar Wilde Gets Out” is a track that stands out in a lot of ways in both music and lyrics. Taupin expels such visual detail with: “A golden boy in velvet landed in New York, The past was so seductive when they paid to hear you talk”. Elton compliments this track wonderfully with a great rhythmic jaunt and haunting vocals; which he put on full display when he played it live at the iTunes Music Festival. “Ballad of Blind Tom” is another wonderful story-telling song about a black piano player who can “play whatever you want”.

Elton’s most stand out track to me as a listener and a fan, was the jazz infused “My Quicksand”. He shows such a talent for smooth jazz piano and vocals that has rarely been shown in his work in the last decade. His aged voice keeps the tone of the song so Sinatra in a way, while also leaving a seductive resolve in his delivery. To be honest, if Adele wanted to cover this track at any time I (and the world) would not hate that. The albums melodic and orchestral segue tracks “Dreams 1, 2 & 3” are short but sweet. They allow Elton to deliver some gorgeous classical piano and for T-Bone to let us hear them perfectly note for note.

The album isn’t all melancholy blues songs, Elton and the band wail out some awesome up-tempo rock songs as well. The tracks “Take This Dirty Water” and “Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight)” are powerful blues-rock anthems with just the right amount of gospel. These tracks keep the album from being purely “sad songs”, giving a jovial and uprising feel to the record. With the music charts showing a rise in the singer/songwriter world, it’s no wonder that the first single from the album “Home Again” has been received so well in the Alternative community. The bittersweet single gives a perfect glimpse of what to expect on The Diving Board.

From the lyrics of a poet, to the music of a genius, a multi-talented band, a praise worthy choir and a visionary producer, The Diving Board is a product of music lovers. It stands out as one of the most heartfelt albums of Elton’s career. It makes the world understand why artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Fall Out Boy or Queens of the Stone Age have brought Elton John in to collaborate on their recent works. He is man of music. And with this album taking only 2 days to make, it gives him plenty of time to show the others just how it’s done.


Kevin Charles

RATING : 3.5/ 4

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About Author

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan is an accomplished promoter, event planner, producer, activist, counselor, poet and blogger. Within the course of two and a half years Chris Ryan has worked with some of NYC's most established promoters/event planners, been named 2007′s GaySocialite of the year, granted a promoter of the year award from NYC's most famous gay establishment, Splash. He's worked in some of NYC's top venues including; Avalon, Capitale, Cipriani, Cielo, Pacha, Element, Le Poisson Rouge, XL, G Lounge, Plumm, Hilton Hotel, Indigo Hotel, Spirit, Myst/Quo, Splash, The Ritz, Vlada, Roseland Ballroom, Heaven, etc. In 2008, Chris Ryan has begun to unveil some of the most innovative & unique parties New York City has ever seen. The Fusion events "fuse" together all disciplines of art into an event that remains diverse yet cohesive at the same time. won best gay promotions website from NYC Event Patrons in 2008 & he was granted an award from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Gov. Patterson & Michelle Clunie (QAF) saluting him for his hard work in nightlife. Chris Ryan has also begun working with many renown companies, including; doctors, lawyers, physicians, modeling agencies & more. Chris Ryan has been responsible for wide-scale promotions for all these companies & generating tremendous business. Chris Ryan has even started to become National with events taking place in LA & Miami this year. In May of 2009 Chris Ryan received the very prestigious honor of being named a "40 Under 40″ Gays in America by the Advocate Magazine. He also created three successful parties that generated over 1,500 patrons each. In January of 2010 Chris Ryan was featured as one of the top promoters to look out for in Noize Magazine Chris Ryan joined forces with legendary promoter/event producer, Lee Chappell and created one of the most talked about events of all 2010, Desire @ Capitale. Chris Ryan and Lee featured one of the most outstanding artists NYC has ever seen, "Oh Land." Her performance coupled with an exquisite and unforgettable set design added to this extravagant event that held over 1,000 patrons in one of NYC's most successful PRIDE events! Chris Ryan then joined forces with legendary Pacha promoter, Rob Fernandez in addition to Jake Resnicow and Tommy Marinelli to bring one of the largest and most successful parties worldwide to NYC, MATINEE. The event on Governor's Island saw over 2,000+ attendees and one of the most ambitious productions ever. In 2011 Chris Ryan started Emerge Music Promotions with business partner Darren Melchiorre. Emerge Music promotions began signing artists with plans to develop and market the artists to the community at large. Emerge Music promotions has big events planned for 2012 and 2013. Chris Ryan debuted the IMAGE events which took place on top of two of NYC's most beautiful rooftop venues, Rare View and Indigo Hotel. The events were blogged everywhere and featured the fashion designs of several clothing designers, artists and photographers. Chris Ryan felt that fashion and art should be displayed at every event and attracted the likes of Malan Breton, Calvin Klein and even Katy Perry. Chris Ryan began an extremely successful event which incorporated the concept of a house party into a nightclub atmosphere. The event Twist'D at G Lounge has been one of the most talked about events in NYC and allows it's audience to play nearly-naked Twister, beer pong, flip cup & more with other attendees. Chris Ryan was granted an excellence in volunteering award from AVP (Anti-Violence Project) for all his efforts in supporting the organization. 2013 has a very promising landscape on the horizon and Chris Ryan is complacent in saying "you haven't seen anything yet!"

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