Songs from the West Coast

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Songs from the West Coast
Studio album by Elton John
Released 1 October 2001
Recorded 18 September 2000 – 30 April 2001
Genre Rock, pop rock
Length 54:06
Label Rocket/Mercury
Producer Patrick Leonard
Elton John chronology
Elton John One Night Only – The Greatest Hits
(2000)
Songs from the West Coast
(2001)
Greatest Hits 1970–2002
(2002)
Singles from Songs from the West Coast
  1. "I Want Love"
    Released: 2001
  2. "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore"
    Released: 2002
  3. "Original Sin"
    Released: 1 April 2002
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly (A-)[2]
Jam! (favourable)[3]
Los Angeles Times (positive)[4]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[5]

Songs from the West Coast is the twenty-seventh studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released worldwide on 1 October 2001. Many critics have said that this album brought him back to his piano-based musical roots. He once again collaborated with long-time lyricist Bernie Taupin. Drummer Nigel Olsson returns to the band full-time. Tata Vega makes an early appearance as a backup vocalist and joined the EJ band later. This album marks the first time John and Taupin wrote together in person. From the album, "I Want Love" was a single and a Grammy nominated song, and "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" and "Original Sin" also became hits. None of the songs from this album hit the Billboard Hot 100, which froze John's record of 31 years with at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100 (30 with at least one in the top 40). George Strait tied that record on the Country charts in 2011. Stevie Wonder, who previously worked with John for the songs "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" and "That's What Friends Are For", played harmonica and clavinet on "Dark Diamond".

Patrick Leonard produced the album and played keyboards on several songs, as was the case for The Road to El Dorado soundtrack. Guy Babylon, Bob Birch and John Mahon, three of John's band members at the time, do not appear on this album.

It was the first non-soundtrack studio album from John to be released after PolyGram and Universal Music Group merged, consolidating distribution rights to his entire catalogue.

Rufus Wainwright sings backing vocals on the track "American Triangle", which is about Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was brutally murdered in 1998.

The restaurant shown on the album's cover is Rae's Restaurant, which is frequently used as a location for many Los Angeles-based film shoots, including 1993's True Romance and 2005's Lords of Dogtown. John's partner David Furnish and his Director of Operations Bob Halley appear on the album cover: Furnish as a cowboy at the bar and Halley as the man getting handcuffed.

John has said that the inspiration for many of the songs on this album came from when he listened to Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams.

In an interview with Jon Wiederhorn in 2001, John revealed that the album was recorded using analogue tape as he believes "the voice and instruments sound warmer".

The album was dedicated to Matthew Shepard and Oliver Johnstone, Davey Johnstone's late son.

In 2002, the album was repackaged as a special edition containing a bonus disc with remixes, b-sides and non-album singles from the time of its release.

Critical reception[edit]

For the most part, Songs from the West Coast was warmly received by music critics. Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine was glad that Elton made a record that sounded like his classic albums from the early seventies, even though he still included some adult contemporary material. Erlewine went on to say that the record doesn't have all the "warmth" of his classic albums, but that it is still the best album he has made in years.[1] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly that the album effectively sounds like Elton's early recordings. He feels that Taupin's lyrics, such as "American Triangle", devalues the song, but on other times makes Elton "liberated".[2] Jane Stevenson, writing for Jam! CANOE, felt glad that Elton returned to his roots, even if he doesn't quite make it there.[3] Barry Walters of Rolling Stone knew that back-to-the-roots albums by artist rarely work, but Elton was able to make it work on Songs from the West Coast even if some songs, such as "American Triangle" and "The Emperor's New Clothes", miss the mark, others like "I Want Love" effectively manage to sound like his earlier work.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

  1. "The Emperor's New Clothes" – 4:28
  2. "Dark Diamond" – 4:26
  3. "Look Ma, No Hands" – 4:22
  4. "American Triangle" – 4:49
  5. "Original Sin" – 4:49
  6. "Birds" – 3:51
  7. "I Want Love" – 4:35
  8. "The Wasteland" – 4:21
  9. "Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes" – 4:52
  10. "Love Her Like Me" – 3:58
  11. "Mansfield" – 4:56
  12. "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" – 4:39

2002 Reissue bonus disc track listing[edit]

  1. "Your Song" (With Alessandro Safina) – 4:21
  2. "Teardrops" (With Lulu) – 4:46
  3. "The North Star" – 5:32
  4. "Original Sin" (Junior's Earth Mix) (Edit) – 3:55
  5. "Your Song" (With Alessandro Safina) (Almighty Mix) (Edit) – 4:31
  6. "I Want Love" (video)
  7. "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" (video)
  8. "Your Song" (video)

B-sides[edit]

Song Format
"God Never Came There" (3:51) "I Want Love" CD (UK)
"The North Star" (5:28) "I Want Love" CD (UK)
"Did Anybody Sleep with Joan of Arc" (4:20) "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" (UK)

Music videos[edit]

The music video for the song "I Want Love" was directed by Matthew Bice and featured actor Robert Downey Jr. lip-synching to the song. He was the only one to appear in the video. The entire video is one long shot where the camera follows Downey from room to room of a large empty house (Greystone Mansion).

The music video for the song "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" featured Justin Timberlake portraying a young Elton.

The music video for the song "Original Sin" featured Elizabeth Taylor and Mandy Moore. It also featured John playing the father of Moore's character and the husband of Taylor's character. Moore was the centre of the video, who plays a huge Elton John fan from the 1970s who is transported by a dream (à la The Wizard of Oz) to one of his concerts, where she socialises with various celebrities of the period (Bette Midler, Sonny and Cher, Barbra Streisand, etc.) played by look-alikes. Then at the end she wakes up and Elton's character asks, "Who is this Elton John, anyway?" It also has more of an upbeat dance mix to the music.

Personnel[edit]

Accolades[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2002
[6]
Songs from the West Coast Best Pop Vocal Album Nominated
"I Want Love" Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male Nominated
2003
[7]
"Original Sin" Nominated

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Review: Songs from the West Coast by Elton John". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (1 October 2001). "Review: Songs from the West Coast by Elton John". Entertainment Weekly. ISSN 1049-0434. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Stevenson, Jane (30 September 2001). "Album Review: Songs from the West Coast by Elton John". Jam! Music. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Hilburn, Robert (28 October 2001). "Strong Selections From Worthy Voices". articles.latimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Walters, Barry (17 September 2001). "Review: Songs from the West Coast by Elton John". Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner. 
  6. ^ "THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS List of Nominees". articles.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. 5 January 2002. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS The complete list of nominees". articles.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. 8 January 2003. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Austrian Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Songs from the West Coast – Elton John". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Danish Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Dutch Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Les Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Chartverfolgung / JOHN, ELTON / Longplay". Music Line (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  14. ^ "Archivum: Top 40 Album". MAHASZ (in Hungarian). Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  15. ^ http://irish-charts.com/showinterpret.asp?interpret=Elton+John.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Italian Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  17. ^ エルトン・ジョン-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック "Highest position and charting weeks of Songs from the West Coast by Elton John". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). New Zealand Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Norwegian Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  20. ^ "OLiS: sales for the period 15.10.2001 – 21.10.2001". OLiS. 
  21. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  22. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Swedish Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Schweizer Hitparade. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  24. ^ "Chart Archive: Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive – 13 October 2001". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Australian Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  26. ^ "Elton John – Songs from the West Coast (Album)" (ASP). Finnish Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  27. ^ "The Official UK Albums Chart – Year-End – 2001". Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  28. ^ "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 2001" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  30. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Elton John – Songs from the West Coast". Music Canada. 
  31. ^ "Danish album certifications – Elton John – Songs from the West Coast". IFPI Denmark. 
  32. ^ "Album Top–40: Uge 26 – 2002" (ASP). Hitlisten (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  33. ^ "Italian album certifications – Elton John – Songs from the West Coast" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry.  Select Album e Compilation in the field Scegli la sezione. Select Week -- and Year ----. Enter Elton John in the field Artista. Click Avvia la ricerca
  34. ^ "Norwegian album certifications – Elton John – Songs from the West Coast" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  35. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 2001" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  36. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Elton John; 'Songs from the West Coast')". Hung Medien. 
  37. ^ "British album certifications – Elton John – Songs from the West Coast". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Songs from the West Coast in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  38. ^ "American album certifications – Elton John – Songs from the West Coast". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  39. ^ "Elton John Strolls Down 'Peachtree Road'". billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  40. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 2001". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.