Production Weighs Down Strong Songs
The One has a classic ballad as only Elton and Bernie Taupin can do, with the title track, a Top 10 hit in 1992. This album features many, many highlights, even though some of the material is buried in a “thick as mud” wall of sound production that worked in 1992 but dates it now.
And that’s a shame, because the songwriting is particularly strong, once again, with lyrics by Bernie Taupin and Elton providing the melodies. A minor quibble is that there could have been some more imaginative arrangements. Being Elton’s first album after sobriety, it’s understandable that The One is also mostly a mid-tempo affair. The first track on the album, Simple Life, is a breezy mid-tempo number driven by Elton’s strong piano chords and tells the tale of getting back to the simple things in life. The faux harmonica also moves the song along too. The North, is also a moving song due to Taupin’s lament about letting your childhood birthplace go. Elton sings this one with much conviction.
Elsewhere, Emily is a haunting tale in the vein of The Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby and lastly, Understanding Women features a great piano riff and guest appearance by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd on a blistering guitar solo. But, this album is probably Elton and Bernie’s most political album ever too: Taupin pens lyrics about everything from Margaret Thatcher (Sweat It Out), David Duke (Whitewash County), date rape (When A Woman Doesn’t Want You), homelessness (On Dark Street) and the AIDS crisis (The Last Song).
The One however suffers from top heavy synthesizers and layers upon layers of instrumentation. Produced by Chris Thomas, these songs have no breathing room and Thomas had a pretty good track record producing Elton prior to this release. A more organic, stripped down approach would have made The One sound less dated.
The songs deserved better.
One of my favourite albums
This album helped me get through high school. Even though I was in the closet, I could play this album on cd and things seemed better.
By rockin rob M.
elton john rocks.
One of my absolute favorite EJ albums.
By R.A.G. oldies fan
First off, this reviewer needs to his ears get screwed back on, for every song on this album is incredible! This is my favorite sober Elton album (even more so than Captain and the Kid). Every song hits your feeling brain like a train. The emotions experienced on this album are more harowing, and more mature than any other album. Simple Life has proved an uplifiting and motivating song for me, The One is classic!, Sweat it Out has a nice groovy feel, Runaway Train is fast and furious while speaking of the newfound wisdom of sobriety and the feeling of finally trying to reclaim control of your life, Whitewash County is one of my absolute EJ faves as is The North, When a Woman Doesn't want you is very solid, Emily makes you hear the Christmas bells and snow falling during the holiday season, On Dark Street has an excellent chorus, Understanding Women has brilliant keyboard and guitar work, and The Last Song is one of Elton's best and most moving ballads, almost with a religious quality to it. This is Elton at his best, anyone who thinks otherwise probably likes all of the modern, tastless crap that circulates today!
the great one
This album will remind a lot of people why Elton John will go down as the most incredible human jukebox of all time. Nobody approaches his ability to dabble so well in so many varied styles of music but always with his special pop sensibility included. So many hooks, so many hits, so many album cuts that could have been Top 40 gems. This album rocks pretty hard on the first side especially and once again sounds both similar and different from other albums. That luxuriant voice is wrapped around some great material...just listen to "The North" or "When A Woman Doesn't Want You" or "The Last Song" or the title cut and tell me that isn't the most incredibly warm and vibrant voice of our generation. And reviewer SladeRRD is absolutely right-the last two minutes of "Sweat It Out" is vintage piano-pounding at its best. "On Dark Street" is so full of lyrical and musical hooks it begs to be a single. But this is just one of dozens of great EJ albums - buy it people, along with everything else this guy has produced in 40 years!
This is the Elton John Album to own!
Many good songs on this one. Clapton does a good job with him on Runaway Train. This is the Elton album I listen to to get in a good mood every time!
By The Entertainer19627
To an Elton fan like me, the later material may not have been as good as his earlier material, but this album is excellent. Not only is the hit "The One" very good, but there are other potentially classic tracks on here like "Simple Life", "Runaway Train", "The North", and especially "When a Woman Doesn't Want You".
If there is any outstanding track on this album, though, it's "The Last Song." There are few Elton tracks more somber yet more effective than this one. If you won't go to the trouble to buy the entire album, get this track! (Personal suggestion: don't buy the bonus tracks)
Good only for the hits
The title cut, "Simple Life" and the "Last Song" are all great Elton classics but the rest of the album is dull and unexciting, make 1992's The One one of Elton John's most boring and uninspiring albums
Are you people nuts?
When this album came out, I was a complete metal-head. (Insert mean-spirited insult here) I mean, if it was not metal, why bother? But, I gave this album a listen because it was Elton John and I had heard his music on the radio--only when I did not get to choose the station of course--and I had respect for his talent. This album absolutely kicked my butt!!! This is an incredible collection of songs. Those who do not like it, what is the problem? Drop the talentless Rolling Stone reviewing, and just listen to it. Phenom of an album.
If I were asked to recommend just one Elton John album, this is The One.
The album is great!!! You've got "The One". You've also got "The Last Song", "Emily", "On Dark Street" and LOADS of other greats. However, the coolest track on here, which has somehow failed to gain the recognition it deserves, is "Runaway Train". Whom the album fails to credit as an artist is the great Eric Clapton who co-performs the song with Elton. It is a great old-timey rock & roll song with a fast-pace and a unique sound. Please buy this song!!! And when you have it in your library, edit the "artist" section and change it to "Elton John & Eric Clapton".