Having straddled 6 decades (and a lot of other things) in the music business, Elton John returns to the spotlight with the release of album #30-something, Wonderful Crazy Night. A few years back I caught Elton and his Red Piano show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and, whilst the night is a fond memory, it relied heavily on songs from his ’70s heyday, including ‘Bennie And the Jets’ and ‘The Bitch Is Back’ – accompanied by a video of Pamela Anderson slithering about, proving highly entertaining.
Pleasingly, Wonderful Crazy Night shows flashes of his brilliance and fizzes with a nostalgia of his best material from the ’70s. Co-produced by T-Bone Burnett and recorded in only 17 days, title track ‘Wonderful Crazy Night’ opens the ten tracks, radiates positively and instantly pulls the listener into the upbeat world of Elton and his lyricist Bernie Taupin. ‘Claw Hammer’ has an infectious poppy hook infused with a ’60s guitar sound and horns, and is the track that may make it onto the sure-fire updated Greatest Hits album in the future. As usual ballads pepper the upbeat numbers, with ‘Blue Wonderful’ and ‘A Good Heart’ musically faultless and perfect for throwing on in the back-ground for this coming Valentine’s Day. ‘Guilty Pleasure’ gets the blood pumping again and sizzles as Elton convincingly delivers “Am I the lover you’d like, my love? Or just some guilty pleasure”.
With Elton nearing 70 he still delivers a telling vocal, and with his prowess on the piano impeccable it is hard to find fault with the tracks on offer. That said, whilst the album will no doubt delight fans there is little, if anything new here.
Wonderful Crazy Night is out now via Mercury Records.