Tuesday, November 02, 2021

'The Lockdown Sessions': the new album by Sir Elton John

The hands of Sir Elton Hercules John haven’t stopped since 1964. And, at the age of 74 and a father of two, Elton still doesn’t want to say goodbye to his beloved piano tiles and glitters.

Covid seems to have left few scratches on his iconic glasses, but now he’s back louder than ever with his 32nd studio album ‘The Lockdown Sessions’. 

Released on October 22, it includes singles ‘Cold Heart’ featuring Dua Lipa, ‘After All’ with Charlie Puth, and ‘Finish Line’ in collaboration with the one and only Stevie Wonder.

The overflowing art of Elton John knows no bounds. ‘Learn To Fly’ is the third track from the album, featuring Texas-hailed indie-pop duo Surfaces, and wasrecorded entirely via Zoom cutting out the huge distance between South America and Windsor. Again, music proves that its power can fill the gap between three divergent genres such as reggae, soul and jazz, and can easily connect two generations of music-making. As a result, Elton John’s piano skills are perfectly highlighted by the new wave-ish sound of Surface’s harmonies and vocals. 


Partners in crime like Batman and Robin, Elton John and Dua Lipa have produced ‘Cold Heart’ which soon became one of the hottest hits of this summer. The tune quickly became Aria certified platinum, gold by Fimitalia, and silver by Brit Awards. It is a disco-house mash-up of previous Elton masterpieces ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Where’s the Shoorah?’, ‘Kiss the Bride’, and ‘Sacrifice’. The two singers first met virtually when Dua Lipa interviewed Elton via Instagram Live, during one of her four streaming concert sessions called “Studio 2054”. They instantly got along and managed to compose this tune which is far from being cold as its title says, thanks to Dua’s warm and smooth voice followed by Elton’s heart-melting lyrics. The ‘Always Love You’ rhythm is much alike and emanates similar groovy vibes. In this song instrumental piano meets hip hop and chopped bits and rhymes come from both Young Thug and Nicky Minaj. This collaboration started in 2018 when Young Thug sampled parts of ‘Rocket Man’ in his single ‘High’ which gained Elton’s admiration. 


In the last 30 years, Elton John has been one of the biggest supporters of the fight against Aids and the founder of Elton John AIDS Foundation following the fall of one of his closest friends, rock legend Freddie Mercury. This is the purpose that fuels the electric dance song ‘It’s A Sin’, featuring the eclectic Olly Alexander, the lead singer from Years & Years; Olly starred in the homonym television drama by Russel T. Davies. The five-part series is set in London and depicts the lives of a group of gay friends during the Aids crisis in the UK, which moved Elton so much that he couldn’t miss the chance to sing about the sense of fear and hopelessness back in the days. The amazing synchronicity between Olly and Elton blew away the last edition of Brit Awards when they sang ‘It’s A Sin’ smiling at each other.


In 'The Lockdown Sessions' Elton John gave a voice to the future of music, thanks to his willingness to collaborate with contemporary artists of all kinds, putting into melodies his natural talent, kindness, and never-dying dedication to new music. However new and old fans will have to wait to see Elton play his piano live one last time since his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour has been rescheduled to 2023 due to his difficult health conditions. Let's hope that he's going to be high as a kite, by then. 


Martina Bovetta 


Image: 'The Lockdown Sessions' Official Album Cover (PRESS)

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