Elton John, Jump Up!

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 09.24.12 in Reviews

Jump Up!

Elton John

Now producing a full Elton album, producer Chris Thomas manages to extract some passion from the singer with a sound not unlike Thomas’s recent work with Pete Townshend, who guests on the particularly strum-my “Ball and Chain.” Drawing from New Wave and trad-rock alike, 1982′s Jump Up! sometimes foregrounds guitar and drums, yet the piano man manages to get a few good licks in on the should’ve-been single “Spiteful Child,” his catchiest cut in years. Debuting the lower end of his vocal register and then dramatically crooning up the scale, “Blue Eyes” may be forgettable like much of the rest, but it’s flattering in a Sinatra-eque way. The bigger hit, “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny),” evokes Barry Manilow more than it does its subject, the late John Lennon.