Tag Archives: Elton John

38: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)

Album: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Artist: Elton John
Year: 1973

1. Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
2. Candle in the Wind
3. Bennie and the Jets
4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
5. This Song Has No Title
6. Grey Seal
7. Jamaica Jerk-Off
8. I’ve Seen That Movie Too
9. Sweet Painted Lady
10. The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)
11. Dirty Little Girl
12. All the Girls Love Alice
13. Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ‘n’ Roll)
14. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
15. Roy Rogers
16. Social Disease
17. Harmony

Most double-albums contain a lot of filler and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is no exception. Thankfully, the filler is mostly okay and the rest is excellent, so Elton gets the only double-album for this countdown.

Funeral for a Friend is a risky way to begin the album, being an instrumental, but it segues into the appropriately titled Love Lies Bleeding, a classic rocker. They combine for an epic anthem that make you feel like you’ve played an entire album when it’s over, only there’s sixteen songs left. Things stay strong from there with the superior version of Candle in the Wind. I don’t really care about Marilyn Monroe, but it’s a touching tribute nonetheless. Bennie and the Jets has grown on me over the years, mostly thanks to the song’s unique rhythm. And then you have my favorite song by Elton, the title track. The melody is insanely gorgeous, and the lyric is a unique view of the city mouse/country mouse dichotomy. Only Elton can sing “horny back toad” in a ballad and get away with it.

It’s hard for the rest of the album to match the intensity of the first four songs, but it does its best. This Song Has No Title doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s quite catchy. Grey Seal has a pleasant pop melody. And I don’t even mind Jamaica Jerk-Off, despite my general dislike of the classic Jamaican beat. It leaves be with a better taste, anyway, than I’ve Seen That Movie Too, which repeats the chorus way too many times and isn’t terribly interesting either.

The second album starts off with a song about a hooker who services sailors, and of course it has probably the album’s sweetest sounding melody. And if Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ended here, it would likely make my top 20. But it goes on, and on, and on. Danny Bailey is a generic gunfighter song. Your Sister Can’t Twist is a generic rocker. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting sounds really good but isn’t terribly interesting. Roy Rogers is a generic cowboy song; it sounds nice, but the lyric doesn’t match that of Candle in the Wind. Social Disease and Harmony also sound good, but don’t do much to stand out. The two exceptions are Dirty Little Girl and All the Girls Love Alice. The former has incredibly misogynistic lyrics, and even though I’m sure Elton sang it ironically, it just sounds awful. And the latter is about a adultery and statutory rape and doesn’t paint a pretty picture of lesbians. If the melody wasn’t do damn catchy I’d probably color it blue as well.