Elton John Duets
The cover sports two empty, antique chairs in a background of painted blues andgreens. Simple for a long-awaited album, but the CD inside holds many surprisesand brilliant pieces. Contrary to popular belief, it seems as thoughElton’s brotherly sidekick and faithful songwriter, Bernie Taupin (the mindbehind such hits as “Sad Songs Say So Much,” and “Nikita”), is on vacation. Eltonand Bernie have remained partners through success and torment, but in this album,Taupin writes few songs, and leaves the rest up to new, but equally brilliant,lyricists. The opening number, “Teardrops,” a duet by k.d. lang and Elton, is thefirst single released from the album. An upbeat tone, with a touch of Elton’s’70s mystique, and the merging of two wonderful voices make this song a winner.Other featured artists include P.M. Dawn, Little Richard, Don Henley, Kiki Dee(that mysterious voice behind the huge hit “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”), ChrisRea, Tammy Wynette, Nik Kershaw, Gladys Knight, Marcella Detroit, Paul Young,Bonnie Raitt, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, and, of course, the music industry’slatest fabulousa, RuPaul. RuPaul’s scratchy voice doesn’t complementElton’s verses like it was expected to. The song, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (areproduced song as mentioned above, with the original female vocals performed byKiki Dee) is wonderful, but RuPaul’s very unfeminine singing does this one in.The background beat is almost hip-hoppish dance music; RuPaul’s style, notElton’s. “Old Friend,” with Nik Kershaw seems to strike a sympatheticchord in the mind of the listener. It tells the story of two close friends who”Say what we mean and mean like we say/we don’t like to mess around/but we’rethere to pull each other up when we’ve fallen down.” These voices are anotherpair of melodious harmonies with a tune that will make anyone feeling down smilea little, and maybe think of an old friend, as Elton sings, “Both of usunderstand we’ll never have to say good-bye/just see you later.” The verylast track, “Duets for One,” is a simple, classic Elton song (any fan willunderstand). The song has a touch of heart, great instrumentals and lyrics, and asong sticking in the mind of anyone who listens openly. Yes, Elton, withyour talent to create, sculpt, and perform, you have once again crafted amasterpiece. This album is worth checking out, and though I had my doubts aboutthe grand old man of pop and music, he has surprised me. I figured he’d be burntout from producing hit after hit, album after album, going through the musicindustry like many people go through tissues, but he continues to amaze.