These days Elton John is infinitely famous for his clothes, spending patterns and sexuality than for his actual music - which, given the sheer awfulness of his recent output, is probably just as well. Songs >From The West Coast is being heralded as a return to form for John, which effectively means that he's stripped down the production to piano and strings in an attempt to recapture the sound of his mid-70s heyday. It almost works - some of the songs here are his strongest for some time and for once he manages to keep the emotional blustering to a minimum. It's just a shame that he continues to rely on Bernie Taupin, whose lyrics here range from the absurdly pretentious to the unbearably trite and undo most of Elton's undoubtedly good intentions. A decent effort, but still a palpable miss.
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