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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Artists I listen to when I’m in various moods

Here it is, my second post of the day! I realize that I haven’t been posting much lately, even on the weekends. I apologize, but since it’s near the end of the school year, things are very hectic. I find that listening to my favorite musical artists like the Beatles really helps me get through stressful times, and this post is all about what artists I listen to in different life situations. This is more of a way for me to keep track of what musicians I like, but it’s also a list of artists that I’d recommend anyone to listen to when they’re stressed, happy, excited, or in any other mood. These aren’t the only artists I like, but they’re the ones whose music I can most easily categorize according to my various moods. Remember, music really does heal the soul!

Artists I listen to when I’m stressed and need to relax: George Harrison
Okay, so I don’t ONLY listen to George Harrison music when I’m stressed, but I’ve noticed that during the most stressful weeks of the year, George Harrison’s music is playing nonstop on my iPod or on the computer. His music is so soothing and calming, it really helps me take a deep breath and remember why I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing. Some of his songs like Isn’t It A Pity and Hear Me Lord help me fall asleep at night, and when I listen to his music, I can feel all of the stress and tension from the day just wash away. Sometimes, in the midst of a busy, hectic day, I need to take a breather and listen to George Harrison for 5 minutes, and it always helps.

Artists I listen to on the weekends or when it’s summer and I’m happy at not being at school: Eric Clapton, the Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney & Wings, The Rolling Stones, ELO, Queen, The Who
The music from these artists always puts me in a good mood, and generally, I listen to them when I just want to hear some good old fashioned classic rock. Eric Clapton’s music in particular is fantastic to listen to when you’re doing basically nothing on a Saturday afternoon and you just want to hear a good song with an awesome guitar part. In fact, I may do an entire Clapton-related post at some point, so be on the lookout for it! And the other artists I listed are also great for when you’re kicking back and enjoying life, like I try to do in between my endless weekend homework assignments. 🙂

Artists I listen to when I’m doing homework: Phillip Phillips, thenewno2, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
Yes, I’m differentiating Paul McCartney’s solo albums from his albums with Wings, and that’s because he has a few fairly mellow solo albums that are great to listen to while I’m doing something and want to listen to music. I also enjoy listening to Phillip Phillip’s debut album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, while I’m studying or working. It has a lot of great songs with some fantastic acoustic guitar work, and all in all, it’s a very impressive album. As I’ve said before on the blog, thenewno2 has some really amazing rock/alternative/electronica music that is inventive and cool to listen to, and a lot of it is very relaxing. And then there’s George Harrison… What more can I say about his music that I haven’t already said?

Artists I listen to when I’m feeling in an oddly great mood for a weeknight: Paul McCartney (with and without Wings), ELO, Foster The People, Talking Heads, Pearl Jam
This is a rather diverse group of artists, but before I go to sleep on a weeknight, I really enjoy all of their music, and somehow they all fit together into what I call my “weird weeknight” mood.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned Pearl Jam before on the blog, but let me just say that I LOVE Eddie Vedder’s voice! It is truly a gift from God, and I was blown away by his performance of Comfortably Numb with Roger Waters at the Concert for Sandy last December. Wow!
Also, Foster the People, while they only have 1 album out at the moment, has some truly outstanding songs that are extremely catchy and fun to dance to, while actually having an interesting meaning at the same time. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s an unusual combination for a 21st century musical artist!

Artists I listen to when I’m feeling down and need a boost of confidence: John Lennon
There are others, but I find that John Lennon’s music is so wonderfully empowering, especially songs like Imagine and Power to the People, that he’s all I need to feel better about life. His music really makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to if I try hard enough. Thanks John!

Artists I listen to when I realize I need to participate in the music from this generation: Maroon 5, Foster the People, Phillip Phillips, thenewno2, Adele
Not too much to say here that I didn’t already say in my post about the 50th anniversary of Please Please Me, but these are some of my favorite artists from this generation that I enjoy when I’m not in the mood for classic rock. Okay, so that never actually happens, but I still enjoy these artists nonetheless!

If you’ve read my blog before, then you may be wondering where the Beatles fit in on this list. Well, never fear, because I have a special category just for them…

Artists I listen to in any mood, at any time, anywhere: The Beatles
The Beatles are the one band that I can ALWAYS rely on to make me feel good. They’re there when I’m happy, sad, and everything in between. Beatles music soothes the soul in any situation, and that’s all there is to it. I gave them their own category because, well they’re the Beatles, and also because I realized that they fit into every single category I’ve mentioned above, except for maybe the one about music from this generation. Basically, in any situation, the Beatles rule!

That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!