Elton John

Elton John has come up with his best album in years. On this disc, produced by longtime Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard, the singer turned to longtime lyricist-partner Bernie Taupin to provide words for his melodies. The album’s first single, “I Want Love,” is a beautiful song about the search for romantic completion that contains the memorable line, “A man like me is dead in places”; it reminds me of something by John Lennon from his “Imagine” period. Another standout is “Dark Diamond,” a reggae-ish track that features Stevie Wonder on harmonica. And “American Triangle,” a tribute to Wyoming murder victim Matthew Shepard that features singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, is also a winner. While this may not measure up to such EJ classics as Madman Across the Water, it’s a vast improvement over the artist’s more recent efforts—a step back into the past and a step forward into the future.