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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 September 2015
Elton's very best work for a long time and in his top 5 albums ever. Even the extra tracks on the bonus cd version are top quality. Amazing how he keeps coming up with consistent quality albums.
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on 8 April 2017
great music
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on 8 June 2017
Classic Elton, love it
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on 16 September 2013
When the news broke that Elton John's next album would be a return to the early days of his recording career I thought to myself where have I heard that before. Oh yes I remember. On just about all of Elton's post 2000 albums something similar has been said about those albums. So when I heard that this album would feature primarily piano, bass and drums with guitar thrown in here and there, which is a return to Elton's early band of himself, Dee Murray on bass and Nigel Olsson on drums, I was not going to let myself get sucked in to the same hype we've heard for the last 12 years or so.

And then I got a hold of a pre-release of the album. I have been listening for a solid week and I am thoroughly enjoying "The Diving Board". What surprises me the most is how well the songs work with the band configuration of a trio. There is an energy that has been lacking on some of Elton's recent work but it is back on this newest album, his first solo album since 2006.

Anyone expecting to hear "The Bitch Is Back" or "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" or are comparing this album to the "classic years" that's just silly and a mistake. Oh he still rocks out in concert but you're not going to get that on new Elton albums these days. That's just not where he is these days.

What I will say is that this album is the best thing he's done since "Songs From The West Coast" and it can stand on its own next to Elton's best work. The up tempo tunes all work. They all pass the skip test. The ballads are what Elton has always done best and he does not disappoint here. "Oceans Away" and "Voyeur" are the standouts for me as well as the single "Home Again". But's it's the up tempo tunes that are what surprised me the most. They carry the album in my opinion. For once the hype is justified.
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on 16 September 2013
This millennium in his albums (if not some side projects) Elton has been intent on re-establishing himself as a musical artist to be taken seriously, rather than a declining purveyor of plastic pop and inconsistent albums. He has made good progress; with The Diving Board he has arrived. That is not to say it will suit all Elton fans. Amid the exciting buzz of praise, there have been some dissenting voices. But my own doubts when underwhelmed by first impressions of lead single Home Again and a live version of upbeat Mexican Vacation have been well and truly laid to rest.

Don't expect an album full of spectacular tracks, catchy pop, instant classic singles or a return to hard-driving 70s rock. Pared back to piano-bass-drum trio, with striking piano to the fore, The Diving Board's strength comes from its cohesive mix of consistent, at times surprising, pleasures and tracks that grow. I certainly won't be skipping any.

The Diving Board is a labour of love, which gathers r&b, gospel, jazz and classical influences, with sumptuous or tender ballads, a few upbeat numbers and three brief "Dream" piano interludes acting like palate cleansers between tasty courses. It may remind at times of the early Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection albums, Blue Moves, Songs from the West Coast and even (superior) hints of Lestat, or what that musical might have been. Yet while it's familiar it's also bold and intriguing- a tremendous cumulative experience for me, rounded off by a sublime title track, that lifted me to places Elton's music hasn't taken me since Captain Fantastic.

Yes, this is the Elton album I've waited 38 long years for. It's deep, warm, dark, rich and wonderful. I hope you enjoy it too.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 October 2013
Elton John describes The Diving Board as not just "the most piano-orientated album" of his career but also his "most adult album."

The piano-based reference is certainly true - the tracks on The Diving Board are primarily arranged around the piano with minimal fuss and clutter, allowing the songs to breathe and highlight Elton John's vocal and Bernie Taupin's lyrics.

But Elton John has been producing "adult" albums of solid and, in the case of Songs From the West Coast, excellent quality since the big ballad sounds of the under-rated The Big Picture in 1997.

The Diving Board is therefore - in terms of song structure and arrangements - a continuation of the mature style to be found on albums such as the aforementioned West Coast and Peachtree Road.

The album features many minor key numbers, bringing a melancholic edge to proceedings (typified by the piano and vocal led ballad `My Quicksand' and the poignant `Home Again') but The Diving Board also includes three short `Dream' instrumentals and incorporates elements of pop, soul, gospel and little flurries of jazz.

The latter elements make Elton John's thirtieth solo studio release the perfect follow-up to The Union, his 2010 collaborative album with Leon Russell (and The Union producer T Bone Burnett is back at the desk for The Diving Board).
'Oscar Wilde Gets Out,' an intriguing mid-tempo number about Wilde's fall from grace and two-year imprisonment, would have been a great fit for The Union as would the gospel-tinged `A Town Called Jubilee.'

American country also gets the Elton John and Bernie Taupin treatment via the pleasant little sing-a-long of `Can't Stay Alone Tonight' while the up-tempo highlight of the album is the honky-tonk pop and roll shuffle of `Mexican Connection (Kids in the Candlelight).'
The smoky jazz blues of the title track (with a lyric inspired by troubled young actress and recording artist Lindsay Lohan) is the perfect closer for such an understated album.

On stage Elton John, the Greatest Hits live showman, portrays the Rocket Man of yesteryear - but then that's what the majority of the audiences is expecting and demand of their Crocodile Rocker.

But at 66 years old and with exaggerated vocal accentuations now employed to compensate for a diminished and lower vocal range, Elton John is almost a parody of himself when playing that Back in the Day role - if he entered an Elton John impersonation contest now he probably wouldn't make the top three.

But forty years on from Reggie Dwight's finest studio hour (and a half) his 21st century releases prove there's new musical life in the old Joanna player yet.

So wave Goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road and say hello to the adult version of Elton John, currently producing some of the best music of his entire career.
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on 22 October 2013
The Piano on this album is simply sublime as track after track opens with some memorable piano tunes. Add good lyrics and decent songs and this ranks as one of EJ's and BT's finest moments.

I confess to being a "semi" Elton fan. For all his classic albums like Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Sleeping With The Past and Too Low For Zero (I'm Still Standing) there has often followed two or three frustrating albums perhaps memorable only for the odd single. So his greatest hits is the next best option! But after reading positive reviews in the media I decided to buy it and am glad I did.

This album ranks up there with his best work and along with Macca this week EJ is showing age is no barrier when you have supreme musical talent.

Its hard to single out specific tracks because the standard here is so consistent and is almost a greatest hits part 3 on its own. Just enjoy Piano man!
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on 17 September 2013
I guess with all these recent new offerings from our senior tried & tested musicians, I tend to look for that familiar carpet slipper feeling - a hint of the old - and that is definitely here especially with Can't Stay Alone Tonight,Voyeur &Home Again.
My favourites, to date, are Oceans Away,The New Fever Waltz & the outstanding My Quicksand.
Currently a free MP3 download from Amazon, the bonus track is available only on some versions of the main album, and this also floats my boat!

Just short of an hour of EJ - overall a mixed bag with some I like and some I have yet to come to appreciate but, I am sure, like ROD, it will grow on me!



STOP PRESS *** 19th September 2013 - now part of Amazon's 'Two CDs for £15' offer ***
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... a hint of nostalgia. Quite a bit if originality too. The piano often takes centre stage: one of the things that made him unique when he first appeared all those decades ago. The accompaniments have Elton's hallmark but this time around he has also absorbed some of the more popular classical influences. Hints of Einaudi. But also some folky elements in the first of the three piano solo interludes, I could swear I heard a bit of folky Bartok piano music. The vocals are good, and the production is crystal clear and not overdone. The music is allowed the breathing space it deserves. His best album in years.
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on 9 November 2013
Why did I buy this. I still have a great respect for Elton and his music. I thought I would give it a try following the decent Leon Russell joint venture. This album contains few outstanding tracks but the standard is consistently good. The piano playing is probably the best it has ever been. It sounds as if Elton is still enjoying creating and playing music. Bernie Taupin still has something relevant to say. The whole package continues to grow in an unassuming way. Very enjoyable. He won't necessarily attract new fans but he will delight long standing fans with this.
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