Monday, March 17, 2008

Tonight

Out of all the morose songs to be found on Blue Moves, none, not even the downright suicidal "Someone's Final Song", are more genuinely miserable than this track, which is the de facto album opener after the brief fakeout instrumental "Your Starter For...".

The singer and his significant other are trapped in a relationship which has broken down seemingly beyond all repair, and despite the singer's forlorn hopes of reconciliation, lines like

It's late, too late
To chase the rainbow that you're after
I'd like to find a compromise
And place it in your hands
My eyes are blind, my ears can't hear
And I cannot find the time


suggest that the damage is done, and his/her hopes are doomed to failure. Knowing what we know about Bernie's relationship issues, which inform much of this album, it's difficult not to see that he's pouring his heart out on the paper this time out.

Elton, for his part, sets this in music that is as elaborate, heavily orchestrated, and theatrical as anything from the Madman Across the Water album- strangely enough, even though Paul Buckmaster did contribute to the album, this score isn't his- it's by keyboardist James Newton Howard, who signed on as part of the Westies band. It's a beautiful arrangement, with ebbs and flows and washes of strings, punctuated by horns. Elton accompanies on piano. The melody itself is tender and poignant, perfectly complimenting the song.

"Tonight" is a rewarding and outstanding track, if you're able to listen objectively as one man lays out all the hurt, confusion and despair he feels at the breakdown of his marriage. It's defintely uneasy listening, for sure.

Lyrics and a sample

1 comment:

Douglas Holzmeier said...

"Tonight" is a great song - the problem was EJ was in his "high register" singing period. He was obsessed on being considered great vocalist starting with the "Captain Fantastic" album.

Blue Moves suffers from this insistence to "hit the REALLY high notes".

When George Michael performed "Tonight" in the early '90s it was brilliant. I heard Elton do it live - in a reasonable register - on the late '90s unplugged tour. It was BRILLIANT!

But, your right, as a teenager in 1976, after the shallow "Rock of the Westies" - Tonight was hard to listen to - especially to open up a double-album. It ain't "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" - but it is a wonderful John/Taupin composition.

By the way - nice effort - from one EJ fan to another.