Elton John - Songs From The West Coast

Limited Double 2LP 180 Gram Heavyweight Vinyl Remaster

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Songs From The West Coast is the twenty-seventh studio album by British singer-songwriter Elton John, originally released in October 2001 via Rocket Records.

When Songs From The West Coast was released, the music press made a big deal of how much the album sounded like Elton’s early ’70s work. But the rock legend wasn’t so much inspired by his old work than he was stirred by a new, young troubadour.

“Hearing Ryan Adams’ album Heartbreaker was a seminal point for this part of my career,” he told Cameron Crowe in Rolling Stone in 2013. “I just fell in love with him and that record.”

Elton even thanked the alt-country singer-songwriter in the liner notes “for making me do better.” Before making his 27th studio album, he met with his longtime partner, Bernie Taupin, and talked about working a little bit harder on new songs.

“I’m a perfectionist and sometimes I just haven’t pushed myself hard enough,” John told GQ in 2001. “Bernie and I had a meeting last year in the south of France and said, ‘If we’re going to do this album we’ve got to have an abundance of songs to choose from, like we did in the old days.’”

For the first time ever, Elton and Bernie worked in the same room on material. That room was in Los Angeles - hence the record’s title. Bernie seemed to pick up on John’s reflective mood, writing compositions that recalled ’70s epics (“Ballad Of The Boy In The Red Shoes”) or took a wearied look back on crazier days (“This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore”). Elton actually requested one song, a track about Matthew Shepard, the gay teenager who had been killed in 1998. That song became “American Triangle”.

“When Matthew was murdered, I was shocked and outraged, and I couldn’t believe there was someone who could do that,” John told VH1 in ’01. In addition to setting up a scholarship in Matthew’s name, Elton wanted to honour the boy in a song. “So I wanted desperately to write something about it, and it turned out really well. It was the first song we wrote on the album.”

Once Elton and Bernie had a batch of quality songs, recording began (also on the titular West Coast). Patrick Leonard was brought in to produce and he, in turn, brought in other musicians to ensure that Elton couldn’t fall into too many easy habits from recent records. In addition, Elton brought in a few of his famous friends to collaborate on the album, including Billy Preston, Rufus Wainwright and Stevie Wonder. There were two main sessions used to record the tracks and in the second of those sessions, Elton was reunited in the studio with original Elton John Band members Nigel Olsson on drums and Davey Johnstone on guitar. The touring band members take tracks such as "The Wasteland" to a new level of power and energy. Paul Buckmaster also returned to provide string arrangements for tracks such as "Mansfield", harking back to the feel of his early albums in the 1970s.

“I decided that recording wasn’t as much fun as it used to be,” Elton said in GQ. “I thought if I was going to record again then I’d better enjoy it. I also wanted to go back to recording just piano, bass, drums and guitar, just a four-piece, analog, with hardly any overdubs. I also thought it was really important for the piano to be featured much more than it has been in the past. We got away from synthesizers and went back to being, I hate to use the word, but a bit more organic.”

Fans and critics took notice, with some writers claiming that Songs From The West Coast was Elton’s best collection of songs in years, if not decades. Everyone involved in the making of the record seemed to give it high marks. John has continued to praise the 12 tunes, even singling out “Original Sin” as “one of the best songs I’ve ever written.” Also Patrick Leonard mixed Elton's voice right up front and centre of the songs together with the piano, marking a big shift from more recent recordings.

What Songs From The West Coast claimed in quality, it lacked in hits. Although high-profile videos starring Robert Downey Jr. (lip-synching “I Want Love”), Justin Timberlake (doing the same in “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore”) and Elizabeth Taylor and Mandy Moore (“Original Sin”) went into heavy rotation on the video networks, the singles failed to have a huge impact on radio. Indeed, 2001 would mark the first year of John’s career where he didn’t land a single on the Billboard Hot 100 – a record-breaking streak lasting 31 years.

As such, Songs From The West Coast would begin a new era for Elton, continuing to strip down his music, reflect on the past, pair-up with like-minded collaborators, and focus on making satisfying albums instead of trying for pop chart success. In many ways, Elton the elder statesman was born on the west coast.

Check out the tracks: “I Want Love”; “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore”; “Original Sin ; "The Wasteland"; "Ballad Of The Boy In The Red Shoes"; "Mansfield" and "American Triangle".

This album has been released on vinyl for the very first time!

This Limited Edition double LP featuring remastered audio, a digital download code and reproduced artwork is pressed in Germany on 180 gram heavyweight vinyl.

(00602557087628)

Tracklisting:

 

 

Title

Time

A1

The Emperor’s New Clothes

4:30

A2

Dark Diamond

4:29

A3

Look Ma, No Hands

4:24

B1

American Triangle

4:51

B2

Original Sin

4:51

B3

Birds

3:54

C1

I Want Love

4:37

C2

The Wasteland

4:23

C3

Ballad Of The Boy In The Red Shoes

4:54

D1

Love Her Like Me

4:00

D2

Mansfield

4:58

D3

This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore

4:40

SKU 00602557087628
Record Label Rocket Records
Label / Model # Universal
Catalogue Number 5708762
Country DE - Germany
Release Date (Year) 14 April 2017
Original Release Date (Year) 01 October 2001
Barcode # 0602557087628
Shipping Weight 0.6000kg
Shipping Width 0.008m
Shipping Height 0.314m
Shipping Length 0.314m
Shipping Cubic 0.000789000m3
Type New
Format Limited Edition Double Album 2LP Records, 180 Gram Heavyweight Vinyl, Gatefold Sleeve, Remastered Audio, Reissue, Digital Download Code, Released On Vinyl For The Very First Time!
Vinyl Colour Black
Genre Rock
Genre Pop Rock
Genre Classic Rock
Format VINYL LP

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