On October, 22nd 2021 Elton John release his most recent studio album. The Lockdown Sessions is the 32nd studio album by the English singer, songwriter, pianist and composer. And once again, he did not disappoint.
The association “young” and “rock classics” often clashes and generates doubts among the most skeptical ones. However, Elton John was able to direct and then release a convincing album despite apparent distances between musical genres and artists.
Elton has repeatedly shown that he is more than willing to experiment, and this time he outdid himself. In fact, how and with whom he covered the songs is very particular and innovative. The album has a reminiscent effect and induces a nostalgic feeling, but the artists who joined the production brought innovations. This is the case, for example with Nothing Else Matter, a cover of the classic rock ballad by Metallica. Here the iconic song meets a radiant Miley Cyrus, that offers a goosebumps performance over Elton John’s majestic piano.
But the striking feature is how he was able to manage his “team” and creates a cohesive album from an array of distinct eras and genres. The project features pop musicality, disco, dance, R&B, trap, rap, rock, and even some country. In fact, the differences between the songs is exactly what makes the album cohesive.
A fusion of genres and musical times
As well as singers from an array of eras, what is striking is the fusion of contemporary genres and music of classic rock titles. A clear example is the musical hit Cold Heart (Pnau remix), released in collaboration with Dua Lipa. In this song, the two take up some of the successes of the award-winning Elton John, adding to them some musical verses and a disco and dance rhythm.
The other two singles of the album are After All, in collaboration with American singer Charlie Puth, and Finish Line, with the timeless American singer Stevie Wonder.
The album presents 16 songs, and each song is a collaboration with at least another famous artist. Besides the ones already cited, the record also features collaborations with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, Brandi Carlile, Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, Stevie Nicks and Glen Campbell.
“Take me back some years,” sings Elton John, but with new influences
The Lockdown Sessions received generally positive reviews from music critics. Some journalists and newspapers underlined the disjunction of the single songs. By the way, this can’t be completely considered as a critique. “Take me back some years,” sing Elton John and Stevie Wonder in their Finish Line collaboration, but the artist declared to be very interest in deepen new musical perspectives in the present.
“All the tracks I worked on were really interesting and diverse, stuff that was completely different to anything I’m known for, stuff that took me out of my comfort zone into completely new territory. And I realized there was something weirdly familiar about working like this. At the start of my career, in the late 60s, I worked as a session musician. Working with different artists during lockdown reminded me of that. I’d come full circle: I was a session musician again. And it was still a blast,” said John.
Elton John recorded the album during the COVID-19 pandemic. Quarantine led him to different methods of production. Therefore, he once again proved to be more than inclined to the knowledge of new musical approaches.