Without a doubt, Sir Elton John is one of the very big names in the music industry. Time feels to stand still, at least for a short moment, when the English artist is releasing music. For his 2021 album The Lockdown Sessions, the list of artists he worked with feels to be like a Music Hall of Fame. Many reasons to have a listen to the sixteen songs, which will be released on 22nd October 2021.
Elton John – About The Artist
Sir Elton Hercules John was born on 25th March 1947 in Pinner in Greater London. His given name at age was Reginald Kenneth Dwight – however, he legally changed the name in 1972, in memory of two bandmates of his former band Bluesology. His list of awards, achievements and chart blasters is cheer endless. The most prominent ones are two Academy Awards, six Grammy Awards, inductions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his charitable work in 1998. His biggest success is likely the 1997 version of Candle in the Wind, in memory of Lady Di, being a number 1 hit in practically all music markets and having a nine times or more platinum record in the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland or the USA.
Elton John – The Lockdown Sessions – Track by Track
The album contains 16 songs and lasts 65 minutes.
1. Cold Heart (PNAU Remix, feat. Dua Lipa)
The Lockdown Sessions is just such an open album – in many ways. As in the past, Elton John is just taking his big songs like Sacrifice and putting it into a very new style. The album features so many genres and also artists of multiple decades. The constant part of the album is Sir Elton John. On the side of Dua Lipa, Elton John feels like a modern pop act, the collaboration works so well.
2. Always Love You (feat. Young Thug & Nicki Minaj)
The song starts like you imagine a song of Elton to be. His characteristic voice, the piano. But then, just after the chorus, there are these young guys, Young Thug and Nicki Minaj. Rapped words like the f-one become part of an Elton John. If you read it, it may strongly feel like you have to go for the skip button. But I can tell you: you simply don’t do. Magical.
3. Learn To Fly (with Surfaces)
When this song was released in summer 2020, Elton John said, “When the guys first sent me the song, I just loved it. It was an honour to lend my vocals and some piano”. A cool blend of sounds with a nice soul and R&B touch.
4. After All (feat. Charlie Puth)
It feels almost needless to mention that the US pop and R&B singer-songwriter is Charlie Puth is 44 years younger than Puth. They connect beautifully by the music. And Elton John just does not feel at all like the music legend and superstar next to Puth, who “just” has released two albums so far. Great collaboration.
5. Chosen Family (with Rina Sawayama)
Chosen Family is an updated version of Rina Sawayama’s hit single. Again, Elton John rather feels like the perfect servant to lift this song into magical spheres than a star who is giving an young artist a 4:40 minute educative lesson how to do music. Like on the whole album, Elton John feels so genius on the one hand – but also that remarkably modest on the other. Fantastic.
6. The Pink Phantom (with Gorillaz)
The way Elton John is taking a journey through very different musical genres also implies that there are songs which may confuse you at first listen – or you may even not like them at all. The Pink Phantom confused me at the beginning – but the more I got into the song, the more I felt that Elton John is just this magical spice which is giving this musical meal the unique and special flavor.
7. It’s A Sin (Global Reach Mix, feat. Years & Years)
This Pet Shop Boys cover starts very Elton John alike. The maestro is on the piano and Years & Years’ Olly Alexander is lending his vocals. This is so special – but then the song turns vice versa: Synth-pop sound like at the original or the typical genre of Alexander witht he vocals by Elton. Both combos work perfectly. The song develops to a great duet – even though I sometimes feel that Alexander’s voice is a bit of thin compared to the vocal blast of Sir Elton John.
8. Nothing Else Matters (with Miley Cyrus)
Let’s make it short: that’s my favorite. Elton John on the keys for nobody but Miley Cyrus, and a lineup including other artists like WATT or Chad Smith. Cyrus’ voice is just outstanding here, what a fantastic recording. If you don’t put that one on your “Songs of the Year” list, you simply haven’t listened to it.
9. Orbit (feat. SG Lewis)
My mouth is still wide open from the 6:36 minute rock blast of November Rain – thus, this synth pop song has a difficult time for me. A good recording, but it has no chance to be even close to its predecessor.
10. Simple Things (feat. Brandi Carlile)
With Brandi Carlile, Elton John moves towards country and Americana sounds. Beautiful duet. Great song.
11. Beauty In The Bones (with Jimmie Allen)
With Jimmie Allen, the album sticks with country / Americana collaboration. This song, Beauty In The Bones, however, is very pop-ish and electronic. A very different type of track – I still would have loved to have Allen in another atmosphere on this album.
12. One Of Me (with Li Nas X)
With Li Nas X, the album goes towards a very modern sound between pop and hip hop. A nice groove, but overall a rather weak track to me. Elton John is majorly present as a pianist in this recording.
13. E-Ticket (feat. Eddie Vedder)
With E-Ticket and Eddie Vedder, it is time to through the synth into the garbage and rock. A very straight recording with a lot of drive and fun. The song also feels rather traditional, which is a nice change compared to very modern sounds The Lockdown Sessions featured before.
14. Finish Line (feat. Stevie Wonder)
Especially towards the end of the album, Elton John collaborates with some very big names of the music business. The fourteenth song Finish Line is a collaboration with Stevie Wonder. A joint venture without any dissonant sounds – they two guys suit superbly together on a musical level. Thumbs up!
15. Stolen Car (feat. Stevie Nicks)
The second last song is another beautiful ballad. Two great voices, which work well in this song between a piano ballad and pop song with electronic touches.
16. I’m Not Gonna Miss You (with Glen Campbell)
The fifteen songs of the album was great – but what a great message to close the album: four years after his death, Elton John is collaborating with Glen Campbell. A new version of the very last single of Campbell’s career. Breathtaking and touching finale.
You’re the last person I will love
You’re the last face I will recall
And best of all, I’m not gonna miss you
Elton John – The Lockdown Sessions – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Elton John – The Lockdown Sessions – My View
Did we expect something worse than excellent? I have to say that even though I would not call myself a huge fan of Elton John and his music, these sixteen tracks are magical. What a range of genre, how much respect to the artists, who do music in these styles. It is a great collection of songs – and finally Elton John shows that he can do any of these songs – and make them feel special. Fantastic album, what a great listen. The Top Pick! banner is up above the review – and there is no critical word about these 65 minutes from my side.
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