Album Review: Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection
February 17th, 2017 by Margaret Jokoh
Review by: Claire Riley’20
Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection
Released: October 30, 1970
LIYL: Billy Joel, Chicago, Paul McCartney, James Taylor
First and foremost, I would like to give credit to Billy McLaughlin (Class of 2020) for recommending this masterpiece of an album. In “Tumbleweed Connection,” Elton John incorporates a unique twist on his classic and iconic style that has made an indelible mark on music history. He takes his audience to the cowboy era of the Midwest in each ballad with his mesmerizing and soulful piano-playing and distinct vocals accompanied by the harmonica, drums, guitar, and harmonies that are sure to stick in your head and draw you right back in when the album concludes. Some of my personal favorites include “Ballad of a Well-Known Gun,” “Country Comfort,” and “Where To Now Saint Peter?”
Each ballad narrates a different story and embodies an underlying theme while exposing a wise message pertaining to each song’s respective matter ranging from love and life to home, loss, and sadness. Elton John, with his poignant, poetic, and descriptive lyrics, ingeniously creates a “fly on the wall” listening experience in “Tumbleweed Connection.” It’s as if he crafted each song specifically to give the experience of walking in another person’s shoes, looking through another person’s eyes, and listening to another person’s personal thoughts and conversations. Elton John’s poetic lyrics creates an illusion that causes the audience to feel personally connected to these characters, but realistically, we don’t know them at all. One song that really encompasses this technique and emotionally hits home is “Talking Old Soldiers,” which tells the story of a lonely and depressed veteran in a bar confiding in a young bar-goer. The veteran remarks, “Well do they know what it’s like to have a graveyard as a friend? / Cause that’s where they are, boy / all of them / don’t seem likely I’ll get friends like that again.” All in all, Elton John did an outstanding job with this album, but that’s no surprise whatsoever. Each song carries out its own variation–unique lyrics, a unique sound, and a unique message–which makes for one heck of album as a whole.