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Published On: Wed, Feb 10th, 2016

Elton John: Wonderful Crazy Night (Deluxe Edition)

eltonElton John
Wonderful Crazy Night (Deluxe Edition)
(Island Records)

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Synth ploppin’ and Elton John singing in a decidedly lower register fuel the title track opener of Elton’s new Wonderful Crazy Night album. Marking the famous piano man’s 32nd studio album, as Elton has commented, this is an upbeat, happy album that he collaborated on with his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin and the Elton John band. “Claw Hammer” has slower, darker verses, but certainly poppy choruses, very in-line with what Elton has managed to pen for Disney. There are some jazzy piano runs here and Nigel Olsson’s drums are popping hard. “Blue Wonderful” is a sweet, middle-of-the-road love song with longtime Elton guitarist Davey Johnstone’s guitar featured and some nice harmonies. (Actually, the harmonies throughout this record are among the best I have heard on an Elton album.) We get some synth strings again on “Looking Up,” a song that truly chunks along, with Johnstone providing heavy power chords and leading snippets to Elton plucking out a main melody honky tonk riff. It’s not a song that goes anywhere really, but it’s fun, as is the trash beat-backed “Guilty Pleasure,” once again Johnstone is on fire here; this might be his rockiest lead. String plopping sail over the top of Elton’s piano on the lilting, mid-tempo “The Open Chord,” “Free and Easy” has accordion-like sounds and acoustic with an easy, sea shanty beat, and the heavy “England and America” ends, a straight-ahead, big piano/power-chord number about Elton/Bernie’s travels between two very important port of calls in their career. It’s the best song by far on Wonderful Crazy Night.

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Elton John: Wonderful Crazy Night (Deluxe Edition)