Elton John, Empty Sky

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 09.24.12 in Reviews

Empty Sky

Elton John
He hasn’t found his voice yet

Released in the UK in mid 1969 and then finally issued in the US in early 1975 at the peak of his popularity, Elton’s debut album suggests future pitfalls more than it points to impending success. There are a few strong melodies and commanding intros, but Elton hasn’t found his voice yet — neither as singer nor as a recording artist. His delivery here is as folky and as tentative as the arrangements, which aren’t played or produced particularly well: Even his pumping piano performance dwarfs next to his harpsichord renderings. The strings that will define his next few albums haven’t yet arrived, but the initially hypnotic opening track is really, really long, and Bernie Taupin’s obtuseness is already in full effect.