Madman Across the Water

Madman Across the Water

Elton John’s fourth album is a dusky, dense set of big pop gestures and lush ballads that, conceptually, detail Elton in America. It’s rich with shimmering melodies, booming pianos and guitars, and syrupy-sweet orchestral arrangements that sometimes hint at prog rock. There’s lots of magic and emotional depth in Bernie Taupin’s storyteller lyrics and Elton’s warm, dynamic vocals and performances—from the California girl in the haunting and pretty “Tiny Dancer” to the Native American warriors in the string-and-piano epic “Indian Sunset” to the homeless man in the blues-y “Razor Face.”

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