Revamp & Restoration

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Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin and Restoration: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin are two tribute albums to English performer Elton John and his frequent songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. Both released on 6 April 2018, Revamp was described as John's project and features covers of the duo's back catalogue by pop, rock and R&B artists, whereas Restoration was seen as Taupin's project and features covers by country music artists.[1][2] Revamp was released via Island Records and Restoration by Universal Music Group Nashville. The release of the albums coincided with John's 2018–2020 Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.[3]

The cover of "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" by Maren Morris which appears on Restoration received a Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance nomination at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.

Background[edit]

On the decision to release two separate albums encompassing different genres, Taupin told Rolling Stone: "From day one we borrowed from everything that's good about American music – whether it's blues, country, gospel, pop, pure rock – everything got thrown in the mix. It would be tiring if you just got stuck in one niche your entire career, especially when it's one as long as ours."[4] John added, "We have two completely different albums; Revamp being the pop one and Restoration being the country one and God we have so many great artists doing our songs, it's quite incredible."[1]

Of his Revamp record, John said, "It's always a huge compliment when an artist loves your song enough to take the time and effort to rework it. As songwriters, Bernie [Taupin] and myself are thrilled when singers we admire and respect as much as those on Revamp and Restoration choose to add their own unique twist in the process. It means that our music is still relevant and ultimately that our songs continue to reach new audiences. We're humbled and thank them all for their generosity." He added, "On Revamp, I wrote out a wish list of people that I would love and asked them and to my surprise most of them said yes and we have quite an astonishing eclectic crew."[1]

Of Taupin's Restoration record, John said, "Restoration was Bernie's project and he's a huge country fan. He came up with an astonishing list of country performers both new and legendary".[5]

Cover art[edit]

The Revamp album features a pop art style cover based on the Terry O'Neill photograph of John that was recreated in neon. The Restoration artwork was created by Taupin who wanted to emphasise the role that US culture played in his and John's careers, stating, "For me, there's an irony about the American flag. It's been battered and beaten and burned, but it's resilient. It's always come back. I incorporate it with other things, and lately I've done a lot of pieces with deconstructed guitars and other found materials: barbed wire, broken bottles, things that people identify with on an everyday level. If it's on the floor and it works, I'll put it into the artwork. But it all goes hand in hand with my belief in America and my interest, I would say obsession, with Americana."[5]

Reception[edit]

Reviews of the two albums generally favoured the country reinterpretations of the John/Taupin catalogue, with significantly greater critical praise going to Taupin's Restoration volume than to John's Revamp. The Metacrtic score for Revamp, which averages professional reviews from a wide range of media sources, was 58, indicating "mixed or average reviews". The same site, meanwhile, assigned a score of 84 to Restoration, indicating "universal acclaim."

The professional consensus in favour of Restoration centered around what was perceived as this volume embracing both riskier and rootsier arrangements. Steven Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic called Revamp "slickly produced" and "dull", though giving praise to tracks cut by Cara, Miley Cyrus, Q-Tip & Demi Lovato, and Queens of the Stone Age.[6] The same reviewer noted that on Restoration, "the artists take risks, and they -- and the songbook -- come out sounding the better for it."[7]. Chris Willman of Variety, while praising individual tracks by Coldplay and Sam Smith, opined "the list of predictably commercial names that fills out Revamp sits at the intersection of tasteful and cash-grabby" and that "this feels like an album designed more to move tickets for his farewell tour." Conversely, Willman had little but positive things to say about Restoration, singling out 10 of its tracks for special praise and noting of its country feel, "with Restoration, it’s a treat to get reacquainted with Las Cruces Elton."[8]. Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone gave three stars to Revamp, stating that the "best moments on Revamp, featuring big names from pop, rock and R&B, are those least faithful to the originals." Rosen gave four stars to Restoration, calling it "a revelation".[9]

In a three-star review of Revamp, Michael Hann of The Guardian wrote that "When it’s good, Revamp is very good. When it’s bad, it’s awful."[10]

Revamp[edit]

Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Revamp - Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.png
Compilation album by
various artists
Released6 April 2018 (2018-04-06)
LabelIsland
Producer
Singles from Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
  1. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
    Released: March 16, 2018
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic58/100[11]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[12]
The Guardian3/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[14]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleArtist(s)Length
1."Bennie and the Jets"Elton John, Pink and Logic3:11
2."We All Fall in Love Sometimes"Coldplay4:00
3."I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues"Alessia Cara4:31
4."Candle in the Wind"Ed Sheeran3:19
5."Tiny Dancer"Florence and the Machine6:01
6."Someone Saved My Life Tonight"Mumford & Sons6:09
7."Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"Mary J. Blige3:16
8."Don't Go Breaking My Heart"Q-Tip featuring Demi Lovato4:06
9."Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters"The Killers4:56
10."Daniel"Sam Smith4:10
11."Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"Miley Cyrus5:36
12."Your Song"Lady Gaga4:16
13."Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"Queens of the Stone Age3:11

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 5
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[16] 17
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[16] 38
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[16] 98
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[16] 101
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[17] 31
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[18] 7
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[19] 28
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 17
US Billboard 200[20] 13

Restoration[edit]

Restoration: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Restoration - Reimagining the Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.png
Compilation album by
various artists
Released6 April 2018 (2018-04-06)
LabelUniversal Nashville
Producer
Singles from Restoration: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  1. "I Want Love"
    Released: March 16, 2018
  2. "Rocket Man"
    Released: March 23, 2018
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic84/100[22]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[23]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[14]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleArtist(s)Length
1."Rocket Man"Little Big Town4:47
2."Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters"Maren Morris5:04
3."Sacrifice"Don Henley and Vince Gill5:27
4."Take Me to the Pilot"Brothers Osborne3:55
5."My Father's Gun"Miranda Lambert4:39
6."I Want Love"Chris Stapleton4:32
7."Honky Cat"Lee Ann Womack5:17
8."Roy Rogers"Kacey Musgraves3:36
9."Please"Rhonda Vincent and Dolly Parton4:16
10."The Bitch Is Back"Miley Cyrus3:33
11."Sad Songs (Say So Much)"Dierks Bentley4:14
12."This Train Don't Stop There Anymore"Rosanne Cash and Emmylou Harris5:04
13."Border Song"Willie Nelson3:24

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[24] 57
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[25] 181
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[26] 9
Swiss Albums (Swiss Hitparade)[25] 59
US Billboard 200[20] 36
US Billboard Country Albums 4

Grammy salute[edit]

On 10 April 2018, CBS aired I'm Still Standing: A Grammy Salute to Sir Elton John which featured artists performing songs from the John/Taupin songbook, including many of the artists who recorded songs for Revamp and Restoration. At the end of the broadcast, John and Taupin were given Grammy Awards: the President's Award.[27][28]

Performers[edit]

House band[edit]

Christopher Jackson, Gayle King and Neil Patrick Harris provided recitations of Taupin's lyrics accompanied by Valerie Simpson and Jon Batiste. Additionally, Harris, Anna Kendrick, Lucy Liu and Hailee Steinfeld served as hosts introducing some of the performances. Neil Portnow presented John and Taupin with their awards on behalf of the Recording Academy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Elton John Announces Two Cover Albums Featuring Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran". E! Online. 15 March 2018.
  2. ^ Snapes, Laura (15 March 2018). "Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Lady Gaga to feature on Elton John covers albums". The Guardian.
  3. ^ "Elton John Announces Retirement From Touring". Rolling Stone. 24 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran Set for Two Elton John Tribute Albums". Rolling Stone. 15 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Restoration: Reimagining The Songs Of Elton John And Bernie Taupin To Be Released April 6". Universal Music Group Nashville.
  6. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/revamp-reimagining-the-songs-of-elton-john-and-bernie-taupin-mw0003159826
  7. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/restoration-reimagining-the-songs-of-elton-john-and-bernie-taupin-mw0003159818
  8. ^ https://variety.com/2018/music/album-reviews/elton-john-tribute-albums-review-1202745157/
  9. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/review-megastars-turn-out-for-splashy-elton-john-tributes-revamp-and-restoration-629388/
  10. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/06/revamp-reimagining-elton-john-review-ed-sheeran-lady-gaga
  11. ^ "Reviews for REVAMP: REIMAGINING THE SONGS OF ELTON JOHN AND BERNIE TAUPIN by Various Artists". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  12. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "REVAMP: REIMAGINING THE SONGS OF ELTON JOHN AND BERNIE TAUPIN - Various Artists". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  13. ^ Hann, Michael (1 August 2019). "Revamp: Reimagining Elton John review – Sheeran and Gaga join middling covers rehash". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  14. ^ a b Rosen, Jody (6 April 2018). "Review: Megastars Turn Out for Splashy Elton John Tributes 'Revamp' and 'Restoration'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  15. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d e "ultratop.be – Revamp – Reimagining The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin". Ultratop. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Various Artists – Revamp - Reimaging the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  18. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  19. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 40 Album uke 15, 2018". VG-lista. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Billboard 200: April 17, 2018". Billboard. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  21. ^ Leight, Elias (6 April 2018). "Producer Frank Liddell Explains How Bernie Taupin Tested Him for the Elton John Country Tribute Album". Billboard. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Reviews for RESTORATION: REIMAGINING THE SONGS OF ELTON JOHN AND BERNIE TAUPIN by Various Artists". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  23. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "RESTORATION: REIMAGINING THE SONGS OF ELTON JOHN AND BERNIE TAUPIN - Various Artists". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  24. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #468". auspOp. 14 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  25. ^ a b "ultratop.be – Restoration – Reimagining The Songs Of Elton John And Bernie Taupin". Ultratop. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  26. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  27. ^ Lynch, Joe (9 April 2018). "'Elton John: I'm Still Standing – A Grammy Salute': 10 Knockout Moments From Ed Sheeran, Kesha, Sam Smith & More". Billboard. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  28. ^ Rice, Lynette (10 April 2018). "Elton John: I'm Still Standing: What you will and won't see on tonight's special". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 16 September 2018.