Photos by Nick Tomecek
“Ice on Fire” is not a fan favorite.
Many felt Elton John borrowed too heavily from his and other musicians' previous work in the 1985 record. It’s an understandable opinion, because it lacks consistency.
But, I never take Elton for granted.
His vocals have graced more than 30 records, many of which are in my own record collection. It wouldn’t feel right to skip over any albums from one of the most talented songwriters. Also, I don’t hate this album.
My favorite track is the opening one, “This Town,” with its horn arrangements and funky feel. Yes, I hear Talking Heads, Wham!, Daryl Hall & John Oates, in other words, borrowed sounds. But, I’m not against it.
During a time which Elton released an album almost every year, there had to be time for experimentation.
You let friends borrow clothes when you know they will return them in good condition, not stretched out or with a giant coffee stain. If you lend something to Elton, he will return it better than before.
I enjoy the opening track’s jaded look at a blue-collar community.
It’s closing time the boys are all together at the bar
Staring in their glasses
Looks like another layoff at the yard
— “This Town”
I don’t connect with the ballads on this record, and it’s likely because Elton has already set such a high precedent. “Cry to Heaven” and “Too Young” just don’t ring true for me.
Then, the B-side kicks off with “Wrap Her Up,” featuring a favorite, George Michael. I like this match-up, but I don’t like the song.
The two try way too hard to create a sexy pop song comparable to those by Michael Jackson or Prince, but it’s not even in the same time zone. To me, it comes across like a cheesy jingle from a commercial, possibly about wraps.
Luckily, the album redeems itself with “Satellite.” With a medium-paced rhythm and gruffer vocals, Sir Elton returns to his former self.
“Tell Me What the Papers Say” is a fun, upbeat track featuring sweeps across the piano keys and a catchy ooh-ing in the background. At this point, I’m all in. “Candy by the Pound” follows suit.
The final track, excluding bonus tracks, is “Shoot Down the Moon.” I read online, though I can’t confirm, that this song was written for a James Bond movie, though it was turned down.
This song is cool and perfect for that occasion; in fact, it vaguely brings to mind Adele’s “Skyfall,” also written for a James Bond movie. It’s comforting to hear the piano dominate an Elton song again.
You can’t shoot down the moon
Some things never change
We can build a bridge between us
But the empty space remains
— “Shoot Down the Moon”
One thing I can honestly say I love about this album is the cover. This snapshot of Elton in a top hat and bow tie is suave and makes me think of Frank Sinatra.
I wear appropriate attire for the occasion, a shimmery black dress and rhinestone, dangle earrings. When it's Sir Elton, why not dress to the nines?
Earrings, dress - Forever 21
Hey, I'm Savannah. I collect records, and they collect dust. Like my preferred media form, I strive to not become obsolete. I created Off the Record as a way to turn my mind inside out, into something visual and tangible. One is the loneliest number, so I asked my friends to join.