The Captain & the Kid Anyone heralding a new Elton John album as a return to form faces credibility issues. (You may recall the "Elton's back!" scare around 2001's Songs… The Captain & the Kid Anyone heralding a new Elton John album as a return to form faces credibility issues. (You may recall the "Elton's back!" scare around 2001's Songs… 2006-09-19 Elton John Rock
Music Review

The Captain & the Kid (2006)

Elton John | COMEBACK 'KID' Plumbing his past, John crafts a close-to- Fantastic new album
Image credit: Elton John: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
COMEBACK 'KID' Plumbing his past, John crafts a close-to-Fantastic new album
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Sep 19, 2006; Lead Performance: Elton John; Genre: Rock

Anyone heralding a new Elton John album as a return to form faces credibility issues. (You may recall the ''Elton's back!'' scare around 2001's Songs From the West Coast.) But it's not crying wolf to warn you that Captain & the Kid is EJ's best since the Carter years. It's an autobiographical song cycle largely about the 1970s, which gives Elton a thematic excuse to answer fans' prayers, drop the adult contemporary slop, and deliver a piano-dominated, live-band effort consciously aping his earliest, most idiosyncratic breakthroughs.

It's billed as a follow-up to 1975's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, and while there's a whiff of desperation to classic-rock ''sequels,'' this really does pick up where John and lyricist Bernie Taupin left off. Barrelhouse rocker ''Just Like Noah's Ark'' isn't afraid to celebrate Studio 54-era excess, though much of the album is rueful, including ''Blues Never Fade Away,'' a sort of Everyman's ''Candle in the Wind.'' If Elton's music makes a fine case that time can stand still, Taupin's lyrics, with their late-middle-age perspective, nicely put the lie to that idea. So would it be asking too much to also put in requests for Tumbleweed Reconnection and Goodbye Again, Yellow Brick Road?

Originally posted Sep 15, 2006 Published in issue #898 Sep 22, 2006 Order article reprints
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