Retro Records: Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

By: Traci Taylor
Appeared in The Snapper in Sept. 2012

The appreciation I have for music, classic rock especially, all stems back to my father. I chose Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John as my first out of the vault album review because it is one of my father’s favorites from his teenage years.

Photograph of article in The Snapper

This album in particular is a prime example of the reason listening to music on vinyl instead of on a CD or mp3 is more effective to the ear. The electronic keyboard sounds from a “Funeral For A Friend” blend so well into “Love Lies Bleeding”. John intrigues the mind with the instrumentals right into the upbeat rhythm of “Love Lies Bleeding”.

Rewinding on time and reflecting on old vinyl records reminds me how well John and his collaborator Bernie Taupin wrote such beautiful songs. “Candle in the Wind” was originally a tribute to Marilyn Monroe and one of the reasons I learned to appreciate Taupin as a lyricist. That song, whether it be about Monroe or Princess Diana, has a way of pulling at the heart strings.

One of the most catchy song

s on the album, “Bennie and the Jets”, I now find overrated due to its popularity from the movie “27 Dresses”. The song was played in a scene where actors, Katherine Heigl and James Marsden, hear it in a bar and begin to sing to one another in front of the crowd. Now a once famous John song is associated with a romantic comedy. My feelings for it now being overrated are because of this association.

The bitterness I feel for “Bennie and the Jets” fades instantly as I flip my record over to listen to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. The intense power this so

ng has lyrically and musically is tremendous. If I had to pick one song to recommend off of this entire record, it would be “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. John should have steered away from adding “Jamaica Jerk-Off” to the album.

As a kid I enjoyed the song, but now as I listen to the album in its entirety it threw off the flow of the pattern that was holding the record together.

“All the Girls Love Alice”, and “Your Sister Can’t Twist (but She Can Rock ‘n’ Roll)” were lively enough that the chaos of “Jamaica Jerk-Off”

was not needed. Listening to “The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34”) on vinyl made the sound of the piano seem to be more powerful. That particular song was one that caught my ear in regards to John’s talent and his way of intertwining power of instrument and lyric into one song. Being the Grateful Dead fan that I am, my heart already goes to another song about Saturday night. Therefore, since Bob Weir did it two years before John, I can’t say I dislike “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” I just won’t admit to enjoying it either.

There are songs that I have n

o opinion on in which I will leave untouched by my critique and spare music history just that much.

Overall, the album is unique and that is what makes Sir Elton John who he is as a musician. This is the one John album I would recommend for fellow record player owners both of past generations and present.

The beauty of vinyl is that unlike CD’s or Mp3 the music tells a story in whole that cannot be skipped or skimmed.

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