Rolling Stone magazine has ranked The Elton John / Leon Russell non-duet The Union number 3 in their Albums of the Year list. Here’s what they say:
“Two rock giants, one largely forgotten, re-kindle a friendship and make music that ranks with their best. Producer T Bone Burnett delivers his most spectacular production in memory, filled with shining steel guitars, chortling brass and gospel-time choirs. Ultimately, its Russell’s voice that shines brightest, drawing on the entire history of American popular music in its canny, vulnerable, knowing croon.”
To which I say: what drugs are you on, and can I have some? Because I want life to look like that too: an impossibly dreamy rose-tinted place where cherubs tickle me with dodo feathers and George Clooney pours champagne down my throat 24/7. To Whom It May Concern at Rolling Stone: wake the fuck up and employ human beings with ears and balls. Let’s face it, the best and most honest writing you have is about fucking FOOTBALL (Matt Taibbi, natch). What happened to you, formerly esteemed music magazine? Did you switch your leather jeans for a nice pair of Wallyworld softpants? It’s blurb-reviews like this which totally devalue your take on the industry you purport to represent.
Let’s look at that paean to the print blow-job above, shall we?
-- Please, someone, convince me that any, ANY of the tracks on this album are worthy of wiping the sweaty brow of either Elton or Leon’s “best” tracks. Then give me a ketamine hotshot for my own good.
-- While it is true that T Bone does deliver “his most spectacular production in memory” on this record, it is only true if the world and everything in it was invented yesterday. O Brother, Where Art Thy Cajones? T Bone dropped not one but two balls on this clunker, and you know it, you just can’t bring yourself to admit it. Lest lightening strike you down.
-- Ultimately, it’s ELTON JOHN’S voice that shines loudest on this record, which should be obvious to anyone who has actually listened to it, as opposed to tapping out a plausible-sounding paragraph on his Blackberry and emailing it in to the office while enjoying a Four Loko lunch with his buds. (Or her.) And while we’re at it, the phrase “drawing on the entire history of American popular music” sounds like something one of my students writes when he/she is gunning for an A in dazzling bullshite.
-- Leon Russell does not “croon.” Please. Leon Russell makes a downhome plaintive growl that uses your peritoneum as a tambourine.
On a positive note, they did include Jamey Johnson’s The Guitar Song and the King’s of Leon’s Come Around Sundown on their list. But that was EASY. Listen: it’s OK to tell it like it is. What’s Elton going to do to you? Yeah, it might feel a little uncomfortable at first, but use lube.
What, you’re all out already?