The Diving Board - Elton John

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. 100
    The singer has matched Bernie Taupin's best crop of lyrics for years with his own most emotively apt melodies to produce a collection that both harks back to the intrigues and interests of his earliest recordings, yet manages to break new ground, quite an achievement for an artist in his sixth decade.
  2. Sep 12, 2013
    It's an impressively strong set of songs, diverse in both lyrical themes and musical styles, and delivered with a confident range of drama and empathy by a "heritage" act resolutely refusing to rest on his laurels. [Oct 2013, p.66]
  3. John is still going strong and better than ever. A few listens to The Diving Board proves exactly that.
  4. 83
    It's slightly overlong and noodly in spots. [4 Oct 2013, p.64]
  5. Oct 30, 2013
    It may be too reserved for excitable fans hoping for I’m Still Standing sequels, but the purity and simplicity of this unadorned balladry (Can’t Stay Alone Tonight, The New Fever Waltz) may bring many who fell by the wayside back into the fold.
  6. Sep 24, 2013
    The Diving Board isn’t love at first listen. It quietly opens itself after several spins, unveiling a complex, winking toe-tapper of an album.
  7. Sep 24, 2013
    The Diving Board succeeds where the others did not. It does so by putting John’s piano and voice front and center, offering memorable melodies, and scraping off the production glop to reveal again the musician, the vocalist, the emotional artist still alive under John’s shiny shell of professional fabulousness.
  8. Sep 16, 2013
    Throughout, he remains the master of bluesy honky-tonking and surprising modulations that he always has been.
  9. Sep 13, 2013
    With The Diving Board, Elton has regained his sense of musical possibility and taken a brave, graceful jump.
  10. Sep 12, 2013
    It's an album that strikes a perfect blend of maturity and freshness.
  11. Sep 24, 2013
    The song ["A Town Called Jubilee"] plods along, one of a number that could have been trimmed to make an excellent record start to finish. But the successes are many, and highlight an artist who seems devoted to caring for his muse and its many unexplored corners.
  12. 75
    It’s about words and emotions rather than big pop moments; this is a slow-burner, which though possesses grandiose moments of musical glory, revels in the detail.
  13. 70
    Yes aging is difficult but Elton and Bernie seem to be making a good job of it. [Oct 2013, p.91]
  14. Sep 26, 2013
    With The Diving Board and all its relaxed, appealing textures, John has rediscovered his roots, and managed to bring his career full circle.
  15. 70
    The Diving Board proves that Elton John is on the right musical path once again, sounding so energized by the familiar trappings that a career renaissance, which seemed a long shot a few years back, now seems thrillingly possible.
  16. Sep 12, 2013
    The Diving Board is an adult affair, but impressive enough to explore, and reinforces Elton’s continuing creative renaissance.
  17. Sep 12, 2013
    The rich history which The Diving Board draws on also slightly undermines it: there is certainly nothing bad here yet so much of it has been done by Elton before.
  18. 60
    This 31st studio album won’t be anyone’s favorite Elton John record, or even necessarily a must-listen.... But, John’s vocals and technical playing raise nearly any song at least one rung up the ladder.
  19. 60
    He's no Marcel Proust, but full credit for producing what's an unusually thoughtful album in contemporary pop music terms. Even if it is a bit morbid.
  20. Sep 20, 2013
    There is much that is admirable about The Diving Board--the feel is spacious and haunting, the ambition is commendable--but the emphasis on tone over song means it leaves only wistful wisps of melancholia behind with the actual songs seeming like faded, distant memories.
  21. Sep 19, 2013
    There is much melancholy here, but he sounds comfortable singing songs that carry the weight of experience. [Oct 2013, p.87]
  22. Jan 27, 2014
    The Diving Board is less engaging, widescreen lyrics paired with waddling blues and maudlin balladry. [Oct 2013, p.104]
  23. Nov 21, 2013
    [Elton John] eschews formulaic pop for the stripped barroom noir of "Oscar Wilde Gets Out" and church hymn "A Town Named Jubilee." All too soon, though, "My Quicksand," which would be a perfect Rufus Wainwright vehicle, sinks overwrought while drawing the disc's Maginot Line. Only the Eighties-esque "Can't Stay Alone Tonight" rallies after that.
  24. Sep 24, 2013
    The Diving Board feels like an album made by somebody who’s spent the last few years performing the same set list night after night in Vegas.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Feb 1, 2014
    I'm sorry, but this is very boring. It pains me to say such a thing about Elton John's work, but it is. The whole album just feels like one long snooze. Even the 3 'Dream' tracks, which are the only redeeming aspect, are pretty short to make a difference. Full Review »
  2. Dec 15, 2013
    I was never a big fan of Elton's hit's. I found solitude in his songs that were tucked away on his albums that unless you are an advert fan of Elton you might never hear. Songs like Cry to heaven. or One more arrow to name a few. I am thrilled to have this Elton album in my collection. I have listened to it several times and will continue to do so until I know every lyric. I love Elton John when he is being Elton John and not so much the performer.... Full Review »
  3. Nov 15, 2013
    Elton John at his best, even better when it comes to pure classical piano. Every song is so heartfelt and the way the piano is masterfully highlighted in most songs makes this album entirely captivating in my view. Full Review »