Review #112: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John

Karla Clifton
3 min readJun 19, 2021

#112: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John

This is basically Elton John’s magnum opus (which is why this review is going to be so damn long, sorry).

Elton John’s songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, wrote the lyrics for it in two and a half weeks, which is pretty crazy considering this is Elton John’s most introspective record. Elton John, meanwhile, wrote all the music for it in three days while staying at the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica.

Elton John had a bit of a resurgence in popularity when the movie Rocketman was released, and I’m very happy for him. He’s hard to dislike.

FAVORITE SONGS:

“Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” — This whole thing sounds like the overture to a really great play. I get very into it once it gets to the part where Elton John sings.

“Bennie And The Jets” — This always makes me think of that movie 27 Dresses.

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” —Rivals “Rocket Man” as one of the best Elton ballads. Have you ever listened to the words? So goodbye, yellow brick road/ Where the dogs of society howl/ You can’t plant me in your penthouse/ I’m going back to my plough.

“This Song Has No Title” — Well, that’s just not true.

“I’ve Seen That Movie Too” — This was my favorite non-hit. What a cynical, bitter song wrapped in a pretty melody! I guess that Elton John’s whole deal.

“Dirty Little Girl” — But I prefer when he does what I call in my notes his “big rock & roll wah-wah voice.”

“All The Girls Love Alice” — A 2015 RS article calls this “a surreal art film in song about a 16-year-old heterosexual prostitute who sleeps with older women before she ultimately kills herself.” Well, that’s… pretty dark.

“Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ’n’ Roll)” — I was bummed out by the last one, so I’m not gonna look up what this song means.

“Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT! OOOH OOOH OOOH!

“Roy Rogers” — Wow, a country song!

“Social Disease” — Again, really amazing lyrics. I dress in rags, smell a lot, and have a real good time/ I’m a genuine example of a social disease. Same, brother.

“Harmony” — At a certain point it’s hard for me to tell if these are all great songs, or if I just love Elton John. Either way, I could listen to this album ten times in a row.

LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:

“Candle In The Wind” — This song has a very rich history — it was written about Marilyn Monroe, but Elton John performed a famous version in 1997 for Princess Di. I wish I liked it but I just don’t.

IS RS FULL OF IT?

I think Elton got ripped off. Surely Goodbye Yellow Brick Road deserves to be Top 100? Didn’t they hear that part of the song where he goes AAAAaaaaAaaaah, AAAAaahaahaahaah?

Review #111: Control, Janet Jackson

Review #113: The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths

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