Having not heard this album for a very very long time (I'd guess 25+ years), I was surprised by how badly it's dated, it now sounding rather too 'bright' / trebly, poorly mixed, and very much a product of its era (and I was listening to a near-Mint original vinyl pressing too).
What's more, I had no recollection at all of at least half the tracks, yet I was once well-acquainted with the entire album, so evidently the material hasn't proven itself especially memorable. That's perhaps not so surprising, as - according to Wikipedia - Elton John wrote most of the music for what is after all a double-LP, over a mere three days. A carefully-gestated work of Art it surely ain't then.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
(GYBR) turned out to be the pivotal album of Elton John's career, in that it completed his transition from introspective singer/songwriter (though Bernie Taupin wrote his lyrics) to big-time showbiz entertainer. Released nine months after Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player
(whose "I'm Going to Be a Teenage Idol" was perhaps a statement-of-intent), GYBR would prove to be Elton John's successful grab at megastardom.
In retrospect, the album demonstrates that the piano is not even remotely suited to be a lead instrument for rock music, fronting as it does a mass of electric guitars, orchestrals, and percussion. Compounding that is the production, which seems deliberately geared to presentation in large stadia anyway, and as such GYBR could be viewed as the first 'Arena Rock' album. But due to the full production, in order to be heard at all Elton John's playing throughout sounds very hamfisted, what with him thumping his way across his keyboard, certainly on all the more 'robust' numbers anyway.
by Reviewer: bluemoon