Thursday, November 8, 2007

Chameleon

By-the-numbers Elton ballad, which certainly seems to point to the flagging enthusiasm of all concerned at the time.

Lyrically, it's fine- Taupin conjures up some good imagery as he tells about a chance encounter with a bygone love. Of course, the default Blue Moves assumption is that he could be writing about a real-life encounter, or perhaps reminiscing about the early days of his by-then dissolving marriage. Hard to say.

But Elton casts it in a barely-memorable melody, and while the playing and singing (Toni Tennille of The Captain and... fame is among the vocalists) are never less than accomplished, the end result is bland and generic, almost as if this was created by a computer program designed to take all of John's balladic tendencies, put them together, and compose a new song.

Even though it seems like it was designed to be the A-side of a single, it ended up as a B-side twice: on equally uninspired tracks "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance)" in the US and "Crazy Water" in the UK.

2 comments:

thom de plume said...

Somewhere, I remember reading a quote, perhaps from Elton himself, that this song was a prime example of the influence Brian Wilson had on his writing.

But, I'm not sure if I can hear that...

What do you think?

Johnny B said...

He may have had Brian in mind, but I don't hear Beach Boys in that track, other than the usual harmony vocal blend. It's too lounge-jazzy to evoke that comparison.

Maybe he was trying to emulate Brain's Adult Child Sinatra-ballad phase- record collector that he was, I'd bet he had a bootleg...