[ This item is in response to a post dated December 2010 from a contributor named “David.” You can review their comments here. ]
Just saw a rather critical review of The Union by another 22nd Rower. Wow, more proof that there is no accounting for taste. Not that I needed more proof given how many people out there like mushrooms. Me, I can’t abide them.
Anyway, I have to second Jim’s reply. Notwithstanding the inclusion of a few trite numbers, I couldn’t be happier with this collaboration. I’ve put it through many listens now and just like a good tomato sauce, it keeps getting better and better with each reprise. Even better, it doesn’t eventually run out.
My wife, on the other hand, likes Leon Russel’s voice about as much as I like mushrooms. 🙂 So, I play the album when she’s out.
But, my goodness, there are so many “Elton John” albums out there I think it’s great that he does these other projects. What exactly am I going to do with another Songs From the West Coast? I’ve already got one of those. Note to Elton: I’ll happily take another if you’ve half a mind.
Oh yeah, I wanted to also comment, specifically, on a few of songs. I don’t understand the critique of “Hey Ahab” with respect to how many times the chorus is repeated. Seems like a completely normal number of times for an up-tempo song to me. Plus the chorus is the best part of the song. And regarding “I Should Have Sent Roses,” I didn’t think this at first, but this one really has grown on me. Now I find myself really looking forward to this song coming up.
Finally, if you keep in mind that “In the Hands of Angels” was a gift from Leon to Elton you can’t help but enjoy this one more. This actually gives me goose bumps: “There was nothing I could say…I was in the hands of angels.”
From Bill C:
I was very leary of the Union when i heard about it. Then, I heard “….Roses” prior to the release. I wasn’t impressed, and it’s still my least favorite song on the album. However, the album as a whole I give 5 stars. At this point, as much as I enjoy new albums of just Elton, this is a benchmark. The fact that Rolling Stone gave it FIVE stars, and listed it as 3rd best album of the year is an indication that Elton is finally being recognized for his artistry in the present and not just for “…Yellow Brick Road”, etc. This is the first album in a while that I make a point of listening to front to back, not skipping anything. (OK, sometimes I skip Roses . However this is something special. Further, I had a chance to see Elton and Leon at the Bridge School benefit, and it was amazing. The crowd had clearly never heard any of these songs, but they were wildly on their feet for Monkey Suit, Hearts have Turned to stone, and Ahab. My friend who went to the show, who is a moderate EJ fan said at one point…”Oh my God! What is going on down their. He said it in sheer amazement. This is a special album. I hope Elton takes this non-hits mentality into whatever he does next. The Union to me is an Artistic Tour de Force.
From Daryl Treger:
In interviews with Elton recently that I’ve seen on TV, he said that making this album was indeed a revelation in that it was recorded “the way it used to be” – live in the studio. He said that he felt the sound and the “soul” came out so well, that he will never go back to the more “recent” way of recording (with lots of overdubs, etc.).