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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Often Dismissed
Following on from "Sleeping With The Past" was always going to be tricky. The album that gave us 'Sacrifice' was a great work that in terms of quality went far beyond just that one track. However, "The One" does very well as a follow-up, and is far too often overlooked. From start to finish, this album is actually filled with many gems.
Most notable are the...
Published on 10 Mar 2005 by satyrist

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong Suit
"The One" is a pretty decent long player, and represented an early Nineties return to form for Elton after a decade that yielded a half-dozen or so great singles, but mostly substandard albums. However, as always with Elton, where there is good news, there is also some bad. So let's deal with the bad first. The album contains a number of tracks that can only be described...
Published on 23 Sep 2008 by Miracle


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Often Dismissed, 10 Mar 2005
This review is from: The One (Audio CD)
Following on from "Sleeping With The Past" was always going to be tricky. The album that gave us 'Sacrifice' was a great work that in terms of quality went far beyond just that one track. However, "The One" does very well as a follow-up, and is far too often overlooked. From start to finish, this album is actually filled with many gems.
Most notable are the beautiful 'Simple Life', which leads us into the album; the beautiful top ten hit 'The One', with its simplistic yet brilliant piano solo at the end; the rocking 'Runaway Train', performed with Eric Clapton; the strange yet compelling 'Understanding Women'; and the hauntingly beautiful and very sad 'The Last Song', a song all about a man dying from AIDS-related diseases.
My only real criticism of this album is the inclusion of 'When A Woman Doesn't Want You', which sounds like it's on the wrong album completely and gives "The One" a slight feel of having a "Sleeping With The Past" hangover.
On the whole, though, a great album and well worth a listen.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elton John - The One, 22 Mar 2009
By 
Mr. R. A. Jones "AL" (North Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The One (Audio CD)
After a plethora of average albums in the 80s, 1992's The One and it's predecessor, 1989's Sleeping With the Past, returned Elton and Bernie to a respectable level of artistic quality, if not to the creative merit of their 70s peak. All but forgotten by the general public apart from the Top Ten title track, The One is a better-than-average record, and probably their finest work of the 90s, until the duo re-emerged in 2001 with the near-masterpiece Songs from the West Coast.

Ballads are aplenty here, mostly following the blue print of the title track, and only occasionally meander into mediocrity. The very welcome duet with Eric Clapton on "Runaway Train" matches the ever-intriguing lyrics of Bernie Taupin with a sustainable guitar-driven lead, courtesy - naturally - of Slow Hand. The two superstars gamely trade lines of almost frowning complexity ("Tell Monday I'll be around next week/I'm running ahead of my days") as the piano falls back into the mix, giving Clapton's guitar free reign.

Taupin's awe-inspiring lyrics are woven with melodic simplicity on "Emily" ("In a cage sits a gold canary/By a wicker chair and a rosewood loom/As a soul ascends abord the evening/Canary sings to an empty room") while "When a Woman Doesn't Want You" is at best a forgotten classic and at worst, one of the best songs on the album. It's a piano ballad, a bit overlong (a repeat chorus could have easily been omitted), and if performed by a prominent boy band of the period would have had no problem in reaching the charts.

"On Dark Street", about the trials of a husband and father fraught with financial worries, is one of the best tracks here. Although treated with slightly over aught production, this problem is remedied by a foot tapping beat, a factor taken to it's very limits in "Sweat It Out", a blue-collar rally against bureaucracy and Thatcherism; and clocking in at almost six and a half minutes, it's the longest track here.

Bernie seems to be turning once again to his early American influences - but this time without a western theme - on "Whitewash County". Although a Country influence would pervade 2006's The Captain and the Kid to glorious effect, despite the Southern-inspired lyrics, what fiddle is heard is buried beneath over-production which includes distracting heavy drumming. But if this song is about the South, then Bernie balances things out in "The North", an ode to his upbringing in Lancashire, complete with bleak imagery: "The driven rain that washes you/to a different shore/there's a north in us all/and my north can't hold me anymore."

Despite such plusses, there are a couple of flaws with this record: "Understanding Women" doesn't deserve to make the cut, while "Simple Life", led by a harmonica, takes a while to get into the groove; and at nearly six and a half minutes, it has plenty of time to do that. The only song to end in less than four minutes is "The Last Song", a tribute to an adolescent Aids victim who Elton had befriended. It includes a melodic reference to the Paul McCartney-penned "Yesterday" (Elton would balance things out with his 1995 album Made In England, which was littered with Lennon references).

Production is helmed by Chris Thomas, and as already indicated; Elton's piano-playing is significantly rationed. As such, the sound isn't reminiscent of his early "golden" years - the over-orchestrations suffocate what could easily have been stripped down, almost acoustic performances - but neither is it as dated as his drum-machine-and-synth days of the 80s: The end result is a hybrid of the two.

It's also worthy of note that this was the first time in years that Elton had made an album without the influence of drugs. Clarity obviously aids inspiration, as this album would be the best he had offered in some time, and in this reviewer's opinion, wouldn't release an album so strong for the remaining decade.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong Suit, 23 Sep 2008
This review is from: The One (Audio CD)
"The One" is a pretty decent long player, and represented an early Nineties return to form for Elton after a decade that yielded a half-dozen or so great singles, but mostly substandard albums. However, as always with Elton, where there is good news, there is also some bad. So let's deal with the bad first. The album contains a number of tracks that can only be described as fillers. "The North", "Whitewash County" and "Emily" fall squarely into the "inoffensive but bland" category; "Understanding Women" is a synth-based curiosity that is a little out of place with the rest of the work; and "Sweat It Out" is an odd attempt at funk-pop (or something) that doesn't quite come off. On the positive side, "Simple Life" gets things going with an assured panache; the title track is an excellent ballad with a catchy piano riff; "On Dark Street" is a delightful slice of disposable soul; and, for once on an Elton CD re-issue, there is a superior bonus track in the form of the trojan "Suit Of Wolves". The highlights on the album are "When A Woman Doesn't Want You", an outstanding power-ballad with fine straightforward lyrics; and "The Last Song", an emotive tune that recounts the tale of a father and son reunited by the son's AIDS-related illness. The muscular production maintains an excellent sonic quality throughout, raising even the weaker tracks to a standard above their station. We can never expect perfection from the Watford Warbler, but "The One" is a fairly good effort.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Elton returns, 9 Jun 2007
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The One (Audio CD)
This is not quite 4 stars in my view, but its a better album than Elton had produced for a long time with stronger songs and arrangements than anything since "Two Low for Zero". It is still over-produced but there are hints here of the gradual return to his classic sound of the early 70's that would occur so dramatically on "Songs for the West Coast".

'Simple Life' and 'The One' are fine starters to the album. 'The One' in particular shows off Elton's melodic gift as well any track I can think of through his use of an extended chord sequence. Its sad that the track is over-produced, but this can't detract from a great melody. 'Emily' is classic Elton John. Starting with a verse that really doesn't seem to be going anywhere, but then he hooks with another of those amazing choruses. "On Dark Street" is a soulful track, which is one of the few tracks that benefits from its contemporary production. If you want a comparison with classic period its 'Philadelphia Freedom (ish)'. Eltons insistent electric Piano underpins the whole song, and a synthesised string arrangement adds to the soulful arrangement.

'The Last Song' is the last track of the album and is a great song both lyrically and melodically. Its a shame that Elton didn't do this with just Piano and Vocal as the track really doesn't need the other keyboards. However its a fine way to finsh the album.

Its really only the production and overall sound that separates this album from say 'Songs fron the West Coast'. Elton showed with this album that having recovered from the drugs and alcohol problems he could write good songs again and this is well worth getting.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The underdog of all elton john albums, 15 Nov 2003
This review is from: The One (Audio CD)
I didn't think THE ONE would be as good as they made it out to be, but when i found that the title track had reached the top 10, i was surprised. THE ONE is a song not to be underestimated! SIMPLE LIFE is jolly, and THE LAST SONG, a moving ballad about AIDS, had me crying. Love it!
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The One
The One by Elton John (Audio CD - 1998)
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