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Elton John - Ice On Fire (1998) Retail CD
After the Breaking Hearts 1984 tour, Elton announced, yet again, that he would not tour for some considerable time. However, the following year brought Live Aid, and a 30minute set with a new band bolstered by a brass section. This line-up is showcased here on "Ice on fire" released later that year. It's clear that Elton wanted a change in musical direction...the last two albums "Too low for zero" and "Breaking hearts" reunited his original 70s band (Davey,Dee and Nigel) with producer Chris Thomas at the helm. Here, only guitarist Davey stays on with the addition of top 80s session musicians suchmore… as Charlie Morgan, Fred Mandel, Pino Palladino and Dave Mattacks. Gus Dudgeon, arguably Elton's most successful producer returns after almost a 10 year gap. Unfortunately, apart from a few exceptions, the songs are lacklustre despite good studio production and musicianship. The sound is brighter and snappier, owing much to the "onward international horns" and the aforementioned ace musos, but Elton's attempts to get into a more 80s soul/funk feel doesn't succeed. Even George Michael (then, at the top of his game) fails to improve matters.The album kicks off with "This Town" (a song Elton performed on Channel4's "The Tube" to promote the album),is all slapbass and brass stabs with Sister Sledge backing vocals...it's catchy enough to deserve its place. "Cry to Heaven" is one of those classic Elton moments...a plaintive A-minor piano piece, good vocals, awash with string padding. Elton was convinced it would be a hit, and duly filmed a promo video for it dressed as a clown! Alas, it barely scraped the top 40, which was a shame because it's one of his best songs of the 80s and certainly the standout track here. "Soul Glove", "Candy By The Pound", "Tell Me What The Papers Say" and "Satellite" are pretty much standard album filler...some of which are good for a few listens but ultimately forgettable. The only other standout is the lyrically-dated "Nikita" and that's saying something! Mystifyingly, this re-released cd omits "Act of War" and in its place includes three pointless live songs from the Breaking Hearts tour. However, one welcome addition is the Song For Guy-type instrumental "The Man Who Never Died" which was the B-side to "Nikita"....written in the aftermath of John Lennon's death (hence the vocal "Imagine he's the man who never died" coda) it's a pleasant piano piece which some fans may enjoy. For the newly initiated Elton fan, there are some interesting moments here but its not one of his best 80s albums and nor is it his worst. Mediocre really.
|2||Cry To Heaven|
|6||Wrap Her Up - Elton John, George Michael|
|8||Tell Me What The Papers Say|
|9||Candy By The Pound|
|10||Shoot Down The Moon|
|11||The Man Who Never Died|
|13||Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word|
|14||I'm Still Standing - Elton John, Jean-Yves Lievaux|
- Elton John - Ice On Fire (1998) Retail CD
- 1215 x 919 px
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- 05/09/10 by pontiacc
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