Elton John’s “Wonderful Crazy Night” Album Review

He’s been in the limelight for decades, selling hundreds of millions of albums, writing songs that are sung all over the world – and with his 32nd studio album, Elton John brings another whole new life to life this year: This time around he has put his entire live band into the studio and turned up the amplifiers. Elton rocks on Wonderful Crazy Night.

 

“This is a really direct and wild Rock & Roll album”, so his comment to Wonderful Crazy Night. “I wanted a guitar album, wanted to do something exuberant, something that I can play in big stadiums. I do not think I ever made such a fast, energetic album before. It just goes off right. ”

The single “Looking Up” is a terrific taste and the perfect ticket to the world of “Wonderful Crazy Night” – the latest entry in a long series of hit albums, which includes several milestones in music history.

Wonderful Crazy Night brings together everything one would expect and desire from an Elton John album: intelligent, poetic, powerful lyrics. Oversized, intertwined melodies. Fantastic vocals, in which a lot of soul resonates. At the same time, the new songs sound sound even more emphatic and spontaneous than anyone knows – and this very live feeling makes the album a highlight in his discography. “I’ve clearly referred to the Elton of the seventies with this album,” he says himself. “Right now I’m at a point in my life where everything goes together by itself. I’m really happy! And of course, this feeling is reflected in this mood in the new songs as well, that’s for sure! Other highlights of “Wonderful Crazy Night” include “A Good Heart”,”Tambourine” and “The Open Chord”. They are all pervaded by a sense of spontaneity and real live feeling, making the new LP another milestone in this exceptional career.

The entire album was written and recorded in just 17 days, with the acclaimed producer T-Bone Burnett (who previously worked with such legends as B. B. King, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss). In addition, all core members of Elton’s ancestral band joined in when it went to the recordings in the renowned Village Studios in Los Angeles. “It was quite similar to what it was back in the 1970’s, when we recorded Yellow Brick Road or Honky Chateau,” says Elton. “I came in the morning and started writing a new song right away. A little later, the band joined in: they learned the chords, we went through the whole thing a few times and then immediately went to the actual recording.”

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Drummer Nigel Olsson, on Wonderful Crazy Night, is one of Elton’s three-piece original band constellation. His guitarist Davey Johnstone has been working with Elton since 1971. His spectacular live band will be rounded off by bassist Matt Bissonette, keyboarder Kim Bullard and percussionist John Mahon, who have not been around for quite a while. But the percussion legend Ray Cooper, a longtime friend and companion of Elton, also participated in five of the new songs. “I think that’s the best band I’ve ever had. It just clicked on us. I’m a good musician myself, and my band is made up of really good musicians – and it’s so amazing to have the right people with you to take a single take for a recording. You definitely hear out what fun we had at these sessions. ”

As far as the lyrics are concerned, they are also written by Bernie Taupin. The creative bond between Elton and Taupin is undoubtedly the longest-standing songwriting alliance in the history of pop music. Over the past 48 years (!), the two have written hundreds of songs together, landing more than fifty worldwide smash hits – including the best-selling single of all time, the 1997 remake of ‘Candle In The Wind’. The release of the new album extends the list of their collaborations by ten exceptional compositions, including the tenderly-optimistic ballad “A Good Heart”, the immensely powerful “Guilty Pleasure”, the exuberant song “Blue Wonderful”, the epic, leash-ready “Open Chord” and the exuberant title track “Wonderful Crazy Night”. “We both never write our songs in the same room,” explains the singer, who believes that the mysterious chemistry on which her unique creative partnership is based means so much. “That’s as exciting as it was the first day we got together for the first time. Only when I go to the studio, I want to see his lyrics: I sit down at the piano – and then this joy to see something for the first time! It overcomes a simple, like a movie that suddenly unwinds in my head … then I play a chord and from this everything develops. How or why exactly that happens, I do not know. I just react to his lyrics. ”

“This time I put Bernie in the run-up to the fact that I wanted optimistic, happy-sounding lyrics from him”, Elton then tells concretely about the lyrics of the new album. “Even the slow pieces should sound exuberant and positive. I’m at a point where I’m just so happy. And just as happy and exuberant should sound this album. ”

Wonderful Crazy Night is the third album in a row that Elton has recorded with producer T-Bone Burnett: in 2010 they worked on The Union (with Leon Russell) and in 2013 on their predecessor The Diving Board. “The albums recorded with T-Bone are completely different in terms of sound,” says Elton about his latest work and the two predecessors that gave him both top 5 finishes in the US album charts. “The Union was an absolute Americana album. The Diving Board was my most personal work ever – and maybe I have never played piano better than in the case. And this is just rock & roll! “Elton was also keen to write songs that blend seamlessly into his existing stage show and strike a similar score as” Crocodile Rock, “” Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) “and” Bennie And The Jets “. “The music on this album really does have a lot of energy, and I’m proud of it, because I still have so much energy in myself. Of all the albums I’ve released over the past thirty years, this should be the best live experience. ”

Elton John has long been one of the legends of the music world. Worldwide, this man has sold more than 250 million albums. As many as 58 of its singles in the US were in the top 40 on the Billboard charts. He has also written acclaimed soundtracks for a number of film and stage performances, including “Billy Elliot: The Musical”, the musical “Aida” (co-authored by Tim Rice) and the Disney blockbuster “The Lion King” became a hit worldwide as a film and as a musical. Born to the stage, Elton has given more than 3 500 concerts in over 80 countries over the past few decades. In parallel, he was awarded 12 Ivor Novello Awards, six Grammy Awards, two BRIT Awards, an Oscar and a Tony Award. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame and knighted by British Queen Elizabeth II in 1998. In addition, Elton John, who articulates his concerns loudly, is known for his social and charitable engagement.

In short, there is no question that Sir Elton John has long been one of the legends of the international pop culture landscape. That’s what makes it all the more impressive that he does not rest on his laurels, but still faces new creative challenges – like this year’s Wonderful Crazy Night.

Elton John is an artist who always wants to challenge and inspire himself – and that is exactly why his audience is always enthusiastic. “I do not think about retirement,” he says emphatically. “I have more fun today than ever! I love my band! I love to play live! I’m 68 and I feel like I’m in my prime right now. ”

“Wonderful Crazy Night” will be released as CD, Vinyl & Download with 10 tracks, as Deluxe Edition with 2 bonus songs as well as a limited Super Deluxe Box including 180g heavyweight vinyl, 2 CDs (with 4 bonus tracks) and a specially produced 20 for this box side photo booklet with portraits of Juergen Teller.

Tracks

No. Title Length
1. Wonderful Crazy Night 3:13
2. In the Name of You 4:33
3. Claw Hammer 4:22
4. Blue Wonderful 3:37
5. I’ve Got 2 Wings 4:35
6. A Good Heart 4:50
7. Looking Up 4:06
8. Guilty Pleasure 3:38
9. Tambourine 4:17
10. The Open Chord 4:04
Total length: 41:15
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
11. Free and Easy 3:55
12. England and America 3:51
Total length: 49:01
Super deluxe edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
11. “Free and Easy” 3:55
12. Children’s Song 3:49
13. No Monsters 4:58
14. “England and America” 3:51
Total length: 57:48
Target US and Japanese Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
11. “Free and Easy” 3:55
12. “England and America” 3:51
13. “Looking Up” (live) 3:22
14. “Wonderful Crazy Night” (live) 3:15
Total length: 55:38