Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Salvation

I suppose Bernie must have felt like the Elton faithful (or perhaps his bandmates) wanted or needed a rallying song of sorts, because that's pretty much what "Salvation" is- an inspirational call to work harder, keep that chin up, and those eyes on the prize, and with "salvation" (provided by some unknown agent- fans, perhaps, or the record company most likely) we will surely succeed.

Instrumentation is primarily the Johnstone/Murray/Olsson band, with what sounds like a Hammond organ or harmonium in the background (but neither is credited) and Madman Across the Water-style chorus vocals to give it a "Border Song"-type gospelish feel. Johnstone contributes an interesting double-tracked George Harrison-style slide guitar solo in the middle section. The melody suits the mood of the song, but isn't especially memorable, and this is one of the weaker Chateau tracks as far as I'm concerned.

5 comments:

thom de plume said...

Another melody that simply doesn't take hold, I suppose.

However, I've always loved the anthemic quality you describe, and the bVII chord with the tonic on top...

"You must understand - Salvation."

Johnny B said...

You're trying to intimidate me with all that music theory and notation talk, arent'cha, fella!

Kidding- I wish my knowledge in that field was more thorough. Might help in this undertaking!

That's very true about that chord, though, and that does really help the melody there.

thom de plume said...

Music theory is a lot simpler than it sounds, and the focus should always be on the effect, rather than the terminology.

More digressions...

I remember thinking at one time that Elton was trying for a Ray Charles-type inspirational ballad with this song.

Also, is there a trace of Partridge Family here?

Johnny B said...

Totally agree on the effect vs. terminology notion, although I do envy people like Tim Riley, whose book "Tell Me Why", about the nuts and bolts of the music of the Beatles, is a favorite of mine...

Ray I can definitely hear, and seem to recall Elton mentioning his desire to emulate him in more than one of his songs. This one specifically, though, I don't know. Partridges, not so much, although I think the BVs do have that quality...

Little Earl said...

I'll stand up for this one, particularly the rousing bridge, "A chance to put the Devil down without the fear of hell/Salvation spreads the gospel 'round, and frees us from ourselves." It also works quite well next to "Slave" on the album.