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Elton John
PEACHTREE ROAD
(ROCKET/UNIVERSAL)

Although these 12 songs bear the undeniable signature of a master songwriter, this pop superstarís 43rd(!) album falls short of the standard heís set for himself even over the past decade of his three-decade-plus career. As always, heís equally comfortable with rock tunes, soul numbers, countryish romps, and pop ballads. But this discís heavy-handed combination of lyrics filled with triumphant, uplifting messages, lush string arrangements, and gospel choirs brings to mind a Christian rock album. At least half of the blame belongs to Johnís long-time lyricist, Bernie Taupin, who laces these compositions with religious-sounding allusions like "If you watch the sky at night/You might see celestial light" ("Answer in the Sky"). The dated synth sounds, horn arrangements, and overdriven guitars never quite mesh, but Peachtree Road doesnít lack for effort or spirit, especially when John gets personal in proclaiming, "I ainít gonna die/I ainít gonna cry/I will wear my heart out on my sleeve . . . " on "Turn the Lights Out When You Leave."

By Adam Gold


Issue Date: December 24 - 30, 2004
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