Various Artists -Revamp: The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin | Restoration: Reimagining The Songs Of Elton John And Bernie Taupin
With movie reboots and sequels popping out like hotcakes it’s only right that music legends Elton John and Bernie Taupin see their greatest hits undergo the same treatment. Unlike movies you may see at the theatre, though, you won’t be disappointed. Listening to this double album compilation (the first disc curated by John; the second by Taupin) is an unforgettable experience. Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, and Willie Nelson perform covers and new renditions of these two artists’ most treasured songs.
Beginning with Revamp, original John vocals on “Bennie And The Jets” introduce the new take with a classic touch. Pink’s vocals are just as strong as the bass, creating a powerful but more upbeat take on the record, and Logic contributes a verse. If you’re a fan of the original, you’ll be glad to hear Pink’s handling of John’s lines on the track. Though Logic’s verse adds a modern-pop structure to the song, Pink is clearly the highlight of the opening track.
John tapped another ginger-haired singer similar to himself for the 2018 version of “Candle In The Wind.” Soft-voiced Ed Sheeran, builds along with the power of the guitar, shining on the second verse: “Loneliness was tough / The toughest role you ever played.“ The painfully beautiful ballad offers an acoustic take on the light-rock jam.
On the second of the two albums, Restoration, lends a bit of a country feel to many of the cuts, with less emphasis on the beats and more on the singer’s vocals. Lee Ann Womak’s take on “Honky Cat” is the prime example, transforming the light soul record to a country classic. The use of more folk-based instruments creates a new atmosphere around the record. On “Honky Cat” (“You better get back, honky cat/Living in the city ain't where it's at”), the loss of the horns from the original record is missed but under Taupin’s guidance, a new country classic is born.
There are a few exceptions to the country sound, like “Rocket Man” by Little Big Town. The Alabama group adds a choir-like feel to the Elton John classic and an early-2000 alternative-rock sound as far as the instrument choice and use. Though not the strongest vocal performance on the album it is a great introduction to the disc and even a better reintroduction to this classic.
Whether you’ve never listened to Elton John and Bernie Taupin or have their whole catalog on vinyl, this double album has something for everyone. Revamp & Restoration are need-to-hear albums.