What do we think of WCN now?

The #1 Elton John message board on the net!

Talk about the music and career of Elton John here.

Please adhere to the Community rules that can be found here.

Hello, baby hello... and welcome back!
Oh the right romantic line...
Joined: 05 Dec 2001, 01:01

28 Nov 2016, 07:13 #1

Curious what our thoughts are on WCN with the passage of a little bit of time.  I've actually been enjoying it lately.  Still finding that all the bonus tracks would have been at least as good or better than many of the tracks on the album.  This could have been a 12 to 14 track album.  Either all tracks included, or maybe leaving off  A Good Heart and perhaps one other, but including all 4 bonus tracks.
My other thought is what a difference better lyrics would have made.  Even if all the music was the same, with just a bit more inspired or cinematic lyrics from Bernie, this could have really been much improved.  

Still not fond of the album title.  It would have been far preferable to call it either Looking Up or Guilty Pleasure.  (I just think WCN itself is a lousy cheesy title for the song and for the album.  For cryin' out loud, even taking a random lyric and using it as the title would have been preferable.  He could have called it "Chicken Stand." Image )

Anyhoo, my constant recurring wish is that it all had a heavy dose of Paul Buckmaster strings interwoven throughout. Buckmaster strings make anything better.

My absolute favorite tracks are Claw Hammer, I've Got Two Wings, and Guilty Pleasure.   Favorites among the bonus tracks are No Monsters, and England and America, although I really like the other two as well.

Thoughts my fellow EJ fan-friends?
Last edited by skylinepigeon on 28 Nov 2016, 07:15, edited 1 time in total.

I\'ve seen that movie too...
Joined: 17 Apr 2013, 16:41

28 Nov 2016, 15:51 #2

I agree with most of what you said. What would have made it better is effort. Elton and the crew put this together in 2 weeks again. And that's including songwriting. He just can't write a hit in 30 minutes these days. I wish they would create songs within a longer time, say two years. Then pick the 10 best songs for an album.

That being said, I still like the album. It hasn't really grown to be a favourite but I enjoy it. 2 Wings, Guilty Pleasure and The Open Chord are my favourites. 2 Wings and Open Chord are actually amazing songs.

But you ought to be a saint...
Joined: 31 Oct 2015, 22:00

28 Nov 2016, 17:01 #3

I'm listening to it right now, but mainly because I saw this topic title.

My opinion hasn't changed a whole lot since I posted about it when it was a week old, but I think my disappointment has faded a bit. I consider it just ok, and I like most of his other post-2000 albums a lot better, but, that being said, I find it listenable and return to it occasionally. I just think it's not all that musically interesting when it comes to the riffs and song structures (which was the main reason for my initial feelings of disappointment, but I think it's just the style of the album being different).

Other than that, I agree with skylinepigeon that better lyrics, even if nothing else was changed, would've been an improvement, and I still hate the album title (and the album cover).

I also agree with keissu about him still rushing his writing, and that may have worked out pretty well for him in 1970, but it's not 1970 anymore and maybe he should take more than 2 weeks to do an album if he wants it to be memorable. But then, I doubt that will change after all this time, and he has a family and other things to worry about now, I suppose.

Now she rolls like the dice...
Joined: 18 Aug 2006, 11:15

28 Nov 2016, 17:30 #4

My opinion has not changed. I like it, but far from love it. I find it to be a VERY lazy effort from Bernie and ESPECIALLY T Bone Burnett. It sounds like it was written and recorded in 2 weeks - and that is NOT a compliment! When I see profiles of Paul Simon and Robbie Williams this past week (due to new albums out for each) and I see all the effort and time and production that goes into their craft and their latest efforts, I get very disappointed with Elton.

He is tarnishing his legacy by releasing an album that is beyond generic and formulaic. He needs to get a Producer who will push him harder, he needs arrangements (string and brass) to accentuate his melodies, Bernie needs to put down his paint brush for more than a few weeks and write "stories" again (just read most of his lyrics from the classic years and compare to the vapid and sappy lyrics delivered with WCN), stop with the "live in studio" - one or two take - recordings, use Davey and Nigel and/or get some backup singers to create the "Elton John sound" that has made his greatest hits, well, GREAT! Basically, do what has always been done with an Elton John album previously (which would not require HIM to do much differently from what HE has always done - just his Producer and musicians). He was on the VERY right track with Patrick Leonard, and then the wheels began falling off the wagon.

Other than that, all is fine! hahaha!

I\'ve seen that movie too...
Joined: 03 Sep 2006, 16:32

29 Nov 2016, 07:48 #5

I still like WCN very much. Listen to it at least once a week. Yes, the lyrics are simple. But as I'm not a native English speaker, it's easy for me to focus on the music. I still think that In The Name Of You, Claw Hammer, Tambourine and The Open Chord are phantastic songs. The others are at least good. No skippers this time! Image
Conclusion: A pretty good album with some definitive highlights. No complaints.


On a bench, on the beach...
Joined: 25 Jan 2008, 13:16

30 Nov 2016, 11:33 #6

I still like the songs, most of them, all of them to some extent.  However I do recall my horror when I first heard 'Looking up' on BBC Radio 2.  I really did think it was dreadful!  Which started to reinforce some negative bits of info we got to know, from a pre release listeners summary.  'Looking Up' did however grow on me to some extent, in the end.  Started to feel more at ease with Wonderful Crazy Night the song, and increasingly more positve about the album following 'Blue Wonderful.'
I HATE that bloody album cover - I still look at it all gone out, and I also dislike the album title.  Indeed, as Skylinepigeon thought, a line from a lyric would have been better, even if it was 'Chicken Stand!'
I think my favorite song on there is 'In the Name of You.'  I also really like 'I've got 2 Wings.' 
When I give it a play through I don't feel like I want to skip any of the tracks, which for me is good.  I do however also wish that he spent a little more time on putting new material together, and in that regard he does seem quite lazy.  I'm quite sick of hearing about how little he does when it comes to putting out new material.  I oddly enough don't however think this album has suffered due to his rather slap dash approach, but I do think it could have been much stronger had he spent more time in the studio, writing, and piecing something together from a wider selection of songs. 
Last edited by gayrobot on 30 Nov 2016, 11:41, edited 1 time in total.
I may be an idiot, I may be a savant.  I didn't choose this life for me, but it's something that I want

I\'ve seen that movie too...
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:37

02 Dec 2016, 12:27 #7

I don't know what to think about WCN. 
I can put it on and listen to it, and I really enjoy it. It's a fun listen. It doesn't outstay it's welcome. There is a pleasing variety of styles. Elton's vocals sound pretty nice. 

But at the same time, for all this, I don't think that it's really all that GOOD. There seems to be a big difference between something that's enjoyable and something that's good, but it's sometimes very hard to pinpoint where that difference lies. I think that on the whole, The Diving Board is a better album than WCN, it feels like an artistic statement of some kind; it has something to say. But on the whole I find it a kind of depressing album to listen to. The textures are so dark, it feels overburdened somehow. WCN is so much lighter, it's a mood-lifting album, but it doesn't really seem to suggest any kind of artistic vision. It's just a bunch of ok songs that sound nice.

Songs From the West Coast is still to me the modern-era benchmark of an Elton John album that is both good and enjoyable. He's never really come all that close at any time since, though The Union was getting there. 

Hello, baby hello...
Joined: 05 Nov 2015, 20:39

03 Dec 2016, 15:39 #8

According to today's press here in the U.K, Elton is expected to announce his retirement in March 2017 and will finish touring altogether next year rather than in 2018. He has also apparently lost 1.5 stone in the last few months - having recently employed three full time chefs. Judging by the picture he certainly looks to have significantly slimmed down.

Back then, I was handsome...
Joined: 20 Mar 2003, 13:15

03 Dec 2016, 20:18 #9

Elton has denied that report on his instagram page:

Don't believe what you read in the papers today. There is no truth to the rumours that I am planning to retire. In fact, I am looking forward to celebrating 50 years of collaborating with my partner-in-song, Bernie Taupin, next year.
Last edited by elton1111 on 04 Dec 2016, 07:03, edited 1 time in total.
there's treasure children always seem to find
and just like us, you must have had a once upon a time
(elton/ bernie)

Hello, baby hello...
Joined: 05 Nov 2015, 20:39

03 Dec 2016, 20:32 #10

Thanks elton1111, that's good to read. He definitely looks slimmer though