Top positive review
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'An Excellent 80's LP'
on 12 December 2008
Not only is 'Too Low For Zero' an excellent Elton John album, it is also one of the Lp's that remind you so much of the 80's. Containing the seminal 80's single 'I'm Still Standing', the rocky, rousing and fun 'Kiss The Bride', and two typical Elton John songs 'Cold As Christmas (In The Middle Of The Year)' and ' I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues' it contains plenty of hits. Just this fact alone is enough to make you dream back to those heady days of the 80's when the singles chart meant something and a hit was a hit because it sold records not downloads...
But, it is not just for nostalgic reasons that this album scores a perfect 5 stars. ALL of the songs on the original album are winners and there is plenty of variety. The title track and 'Crystal' have a synthy feel to them and are rather experimental, while 'Saint' is a nice romantic song (and could have been a single on a lesser record). 'One More Arrow' is a very sad song (something that Sir Elton has always excelled in) and all strings and violins and 'Whipping Boy' is a rocky fun song in the vein of 'Kiss The Bride'.
This remastered re-issue has other factors that add to the thrill however! There is another of John Tobler's insightful essays contained in the booklet, the re-mastered sound is great AND the cd has been intelligently put together so the 'extra tracks' have been put onto the disc after a suitable gap from the end of the original album set. This is important because (getting all nostalgic again) 'Too Low For Zero' comes from an era when the was a definite art to making an album. Tracks were not just 'squeezed' onto a cd to fill up 70 odd minutes, each song was carefully placed to create the perfect listen.
Finally, the extra tracks are a joy in themselves! 'Earn While You Learn' may well have been something that Elton and his band made up as a jamming session in the studio, but it is the kind of bluesy, rocking and rolling instrumental that you can imagine 'our Reg' enjoyed playing in his 'Bluesology days'. 'Dreamboat' meanwhile is one of those tracks that really should have been more than just a b side but, you can also see why it ended up as such. To different from anything else on the main album to fit in, and with lyrics not by Bernie, its fate was sealed but it is a great song and one that will now get a lot more plays because of its inclusion here. Lastly, 'The Retreat' is a classic Elton story song and, though from a slightly earlier period, it makes for a suitable finale to a great 63 or so minutes listen. ESSENTIAL for all Elton and 80's fans.