Elton John – Madman Across the Water (1971)

EltonJohn_Madman4.5 out of 5 Stars!

Although I was never a huge fan of Elton John’s “mid-seventies and after” career once he transformed himself into the flamboyant, glammy-glasses, boas and feathers, and platform-wearing “Rock ‘n’ Roll Liberace,” I did enjoy several of his earliest unpretentious and lighter piano-featured releases, especially his fourth studio effort, Madman Across the Water. Talk about capturing lightning in a bottle, where every aspect of the songwriting process, performances, and production seem blessed with musical magic.

Most of the tracks on this album are absolutely haunting—due not only to John’s engaging melodies and Bernie Taupin’s thoughtful, creative lyrics, but also to the overall musicianship from those involved, including Paul Buckmaster’s undervalued orchestrations—and they continue to hold a certain majesty even to this day.

Songs such as the title track, along with “Tiny Dancer,” “Indian Summer,” “Levon,” “Rotten Peaches,” “Razor Face,” and the poignantly stark “Goodbye” are simply mesmerizing, making Madman Across the Water near perfect in my eyes, and it undoubtedly remains one of Elton John’s most enduring releases, a true classic.

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