I decided before this album and “New” came out that I would only pay for one of them on iTunes, and so after buying “New” the day it came out, I had to wait a few weeks for this album to come in to the library. It was definitely worth the wait! I usually listen to new albums like “New” at night as a reward after I’ve finished my homework, but the week I got this album, I was very busy. So, I decided to go against my usual principles and listen to it while doing some work, and as soon as I heard the first notes of the first track, “Oceans Away,” I knew that this was the perfect context in which to hear this album for the first time!
I won’t do a track-by-track analysis of this album like I did for “New” because the songs here aren’t quite as diverse, so my descriptions wouldn’t vary much from song to song. However, the fact that many of the songs sound kind of similar definitely works in this album’s favor. It’s not an upbeat, poppy album at all, but the songs are so beautifully written and recorded that it is art all the same. I can’t believe that after all these years, Elton and Bernie Taupin are still writing together, and the lyrics on this album are stellar.
The standout song is probably the single, “Home Again,” that Elton has performed on just about every single talk show in existence at some point this fall. I also love the instrumental “Dream” tracks, and the afore-mentioned “Oceans Away” is stunningly beautiful. The only song that kind of drags on a bit for me is the title track “The Diving Board,” but it’s still a very pretty song. Overall, the entire album just works in a way that while not many of the songs stick out from each other, it’s not at all boring. On the contrary, it’s a fascinating and wonderful listen. This will probably become my go-to Elton John album to listen to while doing work, and I don’t think I’ll get sick of it any time soon.
I don’t know that I would recommend this as the first Elton John album for a new fan to listen to, but if you like Elton John already, do not pass this up! Here’s a video of Elton performing “Oceans Away” in Providence a few days ago. He sounds fantastic, and I am extremely excited about seeing him live in 16 days!!!!
Have a lovely week!