Jump Up! – Rolling Stone
×
Home Music Album Reviews

Jump Up!

Jump Up is the album that redeems Elton John from his famine years as a fallen superstar exiled to less verdant pastures. Showing more spunk than anyone might have expected at this late date, he’s put himself back on top simply by making a tour de force of a record that says he knows he’s worth it. Even if he never again comes close to inciting the mass hysteria of the mid-Seventies, the sheer stylistic breadth of Jump Up should secure Elton John’s reputation as a rare master of pop form.

From the muscular lurch of “Dear John” to the Philly-soul stylings of “Princess,” Elton is feeling frisky again. Those trademark piano rolls and crisp cadences never sounded so good as on “Spiteful Child,” and he’s found a new expressiveness in his singing (witness the dramatic, mock-Brechtian reading of “Legal Boys,” which redresses the paper chasers with eloquent vehemence). And, for a guest-celebrity change of pace, there’s “Ball and Chain,” a catchy little tune that rolls along to the inimitable percussive strum of Pete Townshend’s acoustic guitar.

Lyric-writing duties are divided between Gary Osborne and Bernie Taupin. The former seems to coax a more effervescent melody from John, while the latter plumbs for emotional intensity — be it vengeance (“Spiteful Child”) or sentimentality (“Empty Garden,” a heartfelt paean to John Lennon).

Elton John just might be rock & roll’s equivalent of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. His songs have a kind of mechanical vigor, he’s a one-man pop-music assembly line, but the guy’s got a heart that won’t quit. “I am your robot/I am your robot man,” he sings on Jump Up, in a way that suggests he’s content with this self-assessment. Yeah, he may be a robot, but he’s our robot, all right. God bless him.

Newswire

Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.