Saturday, September 14, 2013

'The Diving Board Bonus Tracks' - A Review

5th Avenue 8/10
When it first emerged, people quoted Burning Buildings in the same breath. A lofty comparison, not quite in the same bracket but certainly can be seen as something from the same gene pool. Burning Buildings is one of my all time favourite Elton songs, a glass and a half of quality in that one. Steady piano is the main driver here, bass line notes lingering not a million miles away from the sound on Breaking Hearts. The drums actually have a sound here. Oh the joy! Bernie on top form again, the lyric a cryptic reference to social decay. From the top downwards. The race to the bottom...the bridge is eerie almost orchestral, I could hear (in my mind) strings and brass on that part. This song works from beginning to end.

Candlelit Bedroom 7/10

This one is a novelty. A welcome one. We can actually hear an electric guitar. And wonder of joys, a guitar solo. The delightful addition adds the much needed break up and disruption of sound (see full review below for more), you know you're hearing a different song. The different (for this album) sound catches your ear first, after that everything falls into place. Another strong melody, not overplayed or underwhelming. It mightn't be the greatest thing ever written, but it has that hook, the aspect of being not of the 'others' on the album that makes it a curiosity worth investigating for alone. Bernie's longing love lyric is tempered with a hopeful melody.

Whatever the whys and wherefore's of the Diving Board, I'm sure from everyone who has heard these two bonus tracks, 5th Avenue and Candlelit Bedroom will agree they should be on the 'standard issue'. Whoever, whether it be an individual, committee or passing tea lady, decided to omit these tracks did the album a great disservice. And an even greater disservice to the fans by restricting their availability. Simply put, it's the Mandalay Again syndrome. Again. (I tried to fit Home in there, but it wouldn't work!) Both these tracks are Elton being Elton, strong melodies with no pretensions. And Bernie being, Bernie. Social commentary and love going ball ways. And a slightly more open approach to the production. I have a feeling he can do if he wanted to...

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