Elton John’s “The Diving Board” is (captain) Fantastic!!!

The Diving Board

The Diving Board

So I promised to review this album a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve listened to it a couple of times. I have to say that I don’t normally listen to Elton John while I’m studying because most of his songs are so catchy that they honestly distract me from doing my work, but this album is different. “The Diving Board” is a relaxing collection of 15 relatively mellow, wonderful, piano-centric songs, and I’m absolutely in love with it!

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!

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George vs. Jim: The Ultimate Showdown

Will Gorgeous George win?

Will Gorgeous George win?

Or will Jim Parsons pull off an upset victory?

Or will Jim Parsons pull off an upset victory?

Hopefully, if I like how this post comes out, I’ll revive this feature sometime in the future. Basically, my plan is to take two of my favorite people, in this case George Harrison and Jim Parsons, and compare them in various categories to see how they stack up. Then, I’ll see who wins! I realize that this one in particular is probably a bit biased towards George, because since he’s my #1 favorite person, he’ll probably win. But I also have an Eric Idle vs. Paul McCartney in mind, as well as a John Lennon vs. Ringo Starr.
So, here are the categories for comparing the awesomeness of George Harrison and Jim Parsons: Sense of humor, acting ability, singing ability, overall charm, sense of style, looks, and personality. Here we go!

Sense of humor: This one is really tough. On one hand, George Harrison had a really great, smart sense of humor and such a wonderful relaxed attitude about life. His interviews are always witty and he says such clever things that also make you think. On the other hand, practically everything that Jim says is hilarious, whether he’s in character as Sheldon Cooper or not. His sense of humor is different than George’s, but it’s just as funny. I think his slight Texan accent makes everything funnier. I’m not really sure how to call this one, since both guys are funny in their own special ways, so I think it’s a tie. 🙂
George Harrison: 1
Jim Parsons: 1

Acting ability: This is a much easier choice, since Jim Parsons, unlike George, is actually an actor. I’m not saying that George wasn’t great in the Beatle movies and in his cameos in The Rutles and Life of Brian, but I think that the actual actor should win this one. So, Jim Parsons wins!
George Harrison: 1
Jim Parsons: 2

Singing ability: Just like with the last category, I should probably give this one to the actual singer, George. Although I have to say that Jim actually does have a good singing voice (check out the clip of Sheldon singing Fiddler on the Roof on Youtube!), George definitely has the upper hand in this category. I just love how unique George’s voice is. There is really no one like him in music today, and I’ve never really heard anyone who sounds like him. Georgie was truly one of a kind. 🙂
George Harrison: 2
Jim Parsons: 2

Overall charm: Once again, this one is REALLY tough! George was pretty adorable and charming back in the day. Just check out any interview of him with the Beatles for proof. He also had a way of talking that would immediately attract people to him, intentionally or not. However, Jim Parsons is THE most adorable man in the world today besides Paul McCartney! Seriously, he is. But as far as pure charm is concerned, I think George wins, but only by a hair.
George Harrison: 3
Jim Parsons: 2

Sense of style: Man, they’re both such good dressers! Jim always looks classy and put-together, and George always looked so effortlessly fashionable in everything he wore. However, George has the advantage of having lived through the sixties, which I think was a fantastic decade for fashion. Men’s fashion today is just not as interesting as it was back then. Since George’s style choices are perhaps a bit more varied and interesting than Jim’s overall, I think George edges him out in this category.
George Harrison: 4
Jim Parsons: 2

Looks: Although I think Jim is a very, VERY attractive man, there’s no contest here. George wins this hands down. I mean, how can he lose when he’s THE best looking man of all time? Exactly.
George Harrison: 5
Jim Parsons: 2

Personality: Again, this is extremely close. Both George and Jim have reputations of being absolutely lovely people, and I’ve never heard anything negative about either one from someone who knew/knows them well. They’re pretty much universally loved. And they both have such wonderfully endearing, fascinating personalities. So… This is a tie.

The Final Tally:
George Harrison: 6
Jim Parsons: 3

Why are you confused, Georgie? You won! Congrats!

Why are you confused, Georgie? You won! Congrats!

Well, that wasn’t a shocking result. George won, as I expected. And rightfully so. But I still think Jim provided some competition for him, which is good. Anyway, the point is, both of these men are really fantastic people in many different areas, and I love them both!!!