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Wonderful Crazy Night Image
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critic Reviews What's this?

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6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

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  • Summary: The 33rd studio release for the British singer-songwriter was co-produced with T-Bone Burnett.
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Top Track

Blue Wonderful
Every breath is a prayer of some kind I beathe in, I beathe out, I just breathe And you're so well, blue wonderful blue wonderful to me Like the... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Feb 5, 2016
    80
    There is a matured pacing and weight to the music and John's vocal performances that make this record one of his finest in its own right.
  2. 80
    Wonderful Crazy Night is not an album of hit singles, but John knows his game is to sit on the sub’s bench these days. But still to be delivering such carefully and enthusiastically forged handiwork says much about his respect for his legacy and his audience.
  3. Feb 23, 2016
    70
    As good as the tracks are, there isn’t that one real standout. Still, his voice sounds great, the songs are catchy and engaging but still well-crafted, and Elton and his band seem to be having a genuinely good time.
  4. 67
    Rollicking arrangements conceal lackluster songwriting on Wonderful Crazy Night’s more upbeat cuts, but when the tempos slow, John’s music suffers. Still, his voice is intact (which is more than some of his peers can say) and his showmanship still shines.
  5. Feb 8, 2016
    60
    Yes, it’s Elton John by numbers, but it’s his talent as a songwriter that has solidified his stature in popular music and that wide appeal will only be further cemented by Wonderful Crazy Night.
  6. Feb 5, 2016
    60
    It sounds good on paper, but the album unfolds as an undifferentiated wash of music, without the big toothsome melodies that have lifted John's music for decades.
  7. Feb 8, 2016
    42
    Under the production of John and T-Bone Burnett (back again after The Diving Board), the instrumentation on Wonderful Crazy Night is glossy yet separate, as if each part was recorded in its own high-end echo chamber. As a result, none of it sounds unified--more high-fidelity karaoke mix than a band that’s playing together.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Feb 6, 2016
    10
    Elton John says he wanted to make a “joyous,” “jingly-jangly,” uptempo record to showcase his current mood and show the uninitiated how he andElton John says he wanted to make a “joyous,” “jingly-jangly,” uptempo record to showcase his current mood and show the uninitiated how he and his band rock out on stage, night after night. The result is Wonderful, Crazy Night, truly a “festival” of music, as Elton’s co-producer, T Bone Burnett, observed recently. As Elton says, this album looks back to the 70s while bringing us forward to today. Every band member has shining moments on this album; Elton again proves he’s got more piano licks up his sleeve than there are species of animal life on this planet, and that his voice keeps getting better as he gets older. Bernie Taupin supplies a set of evocative lyrics that can be pored over with fascination. The track-by-track overview:
    WONDERFUL CRAZY NIGHT: A joyous and rollicking opening. Thinking back to a fun summer night of young romance – and plenty of eating, drinking, and music listening – Taupin writes: “Loose clothes and a cool, cool drink/ A greasy breeze from the chicken stand/ Hearts on fire just one last time/ A wishbone snappin’ in every hand.” Elton’s piano goes through amazing changes, sometimes pounding loudly, other times chasing rapid runs. New bassist Matt Bissonette displays on this and several other tracks his ability to recall the late Dee Murray’s playing, but with his own thumping, melodic style.
    IN THE NAME OF YOU: This bluesy, funky, infectious track recalls several earlier Elton recordings; the Commodores’ 1977 hit, “I’m Easy,” in guitarist Davey Johnstone’s searing guitar solo; and the sound of the 70s band Bad Company, but with much better singing.
    CLAW HAMMER: Elton says that this one starts off like Steely Dan, continues like Little Feat, and ends up, with some very effective jazz-synth horns by keyboardist Kim Bullard, like Peter Gabriel. The Byrds are also audible, in the song’s jingly-jangly mid-section; Elton’s abstract piano outro recalls some of his concert extemporizing . Taupin conjures up interesting imagery about someone who is hard to know: “You’re buttoned down/ All sewn up / You’re an archeological soul…. You’re gonna need a claw hammer/ Oh, my Lord/ To bust on through/ And break down your walls.”
    BLUE WONDERFUL: About someone’s love for a pixie-like spirit affected by wanderlust, this is an exquisite, mid-tempo ballad that Bob Dylan ought to cover. Co-producer T Bone Burnett contributes some atmospheric, sonorous guitar work, as Elton’s sensitive piano lines gently lift it up.
    I’VE GOT 2 WINGS: I choked up the first time I heard this, but it’s not sad, just moving. It’s about the real but elusive Elder Utah Smith, an African-American preacher who lived a positive, uplifting life, traveling around the South during the time of Jim Crow wearing gigantic paper angel wings and playing an electric Gibson guitar as he preached mercy, peace, and love to black congregations. It has a folky vibe; Elton hums a mystical melody that breaks into song about this fleeting , spiritual man. Echoes of pre-rock guitar noodling that the real preacher might have played haunt the last few minutes of the recording.
    A GOOD HEART: A country-leaning power ballad, but an emotionally honest one. Elton says this could be about him and David (his husband): “Don’t be afraid of all my years/ What you see or what you hear/ It’s all yours and yours alone/ Yours for the taking/ So take it home.” Elton’s strong, supple, hopelessly romantic vocal is the stand-out of the album.
    LOOKING UP: Don’t be fooled by the deceptively simple verse-chorus hybrid structure. This is quite a tour de force in musicianship, and one of the three purely rockin’ numbers on the album.
    GUILTY PLEASURE: Elton says this is the album’s most “raucous” number, and thinks that it could have been his punk anthem. The electric guitars roar throughout, the melody is angry and defiant, and it all moves like a hurricane. It is probably the most simplistic of all of the songs on this CD. Still, I recommend cranking it up and bouncing to the beat in your “Rock Lobster” sandals.
    TAMBOURINE: This track is the most 60s-style, jingly-jangly of the 10; Davey Johnstone’s guitar parts come through squeaky-clean, as if he were playing right next to you. Instrumentally and vocally, it bears a striking similarity to some of Elton’s 70s songs. Better yet, Elton hasn’t sounded so young in ages!
    THE OPEN CHORD: This song is among the most gorgeous on the CD. Elton has revealed that it was inspired by his late-in-life fatherhood and, separately, that of Taupin’s. The open chord is: “A new broom/ Sweeping up the scenes I no longer play/ cleaning out the corners/ Clipping off the horns/ That the devil used to make me wear all day.” As Elton sings, with evident happiness and satisfaction, “You’re an open chord I’m gonna play all day,” we see how he feels nowadays, as an Elder Statesman of Rock who loves what he does professionally and, with all his heart, the family he goes home to.
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  2. Mar 18, 2016
    10
    Absolutely a Wonderful Crazy Album and I am SOOOOO glad Elton John keeps at it cause goodness knows he doesn't have to! He thinks of his dieAbsolutely a Wonderful Crazy Album and I am SOOOOO glad Elton John keeps at it cause goodness knows he doesn't have to! He thinks of his die hard fans and for that I am grateful. Expand
  3. Feb 12, 2016
    9
    This album is for me the best since 1989 Sleeping with the Past. Second album with T-Bone too, this duet sounds well. This is a festival ofThis album is for me the best since 1989 Sleeping with the Past. Second album with T-Bone too, this duet sounds well. This is a festival of music. If Elton continues with this type of albums he can score any No.1. Expand
  4. Apr 2, 2016
    9
    I enjoyed listening to all songs except one and Elton John's voice is legendary as always. It's one of the best albums of the year, it doesn'tI enjoyed listening to all songs except one and Elton John's voice is legendary as always. It's one of the best albums of the year, it doesn't aim for producing hits or anything like this so it's understandable that its peak position at Billboard 200 is #8. Overall, Wonderful Crazy Night is a pretty good album both lyrically and musically. Expand
  5. Feb 7, 2016
    8
    This is Elton's best album since 1989's SLEEPING WITH THE PAST. Elton's best produced/sounding album since 1995's MADE IN ENGLAND. The firstThis is Elton's best album since 1989's SLEEPING WITH THE PAST. Elton's best produced/sounding album since 1995's MADE IN ENGLAND. The first album 'up' album since 1997's BIG PICTURE.

    Fans like me felt Elton no longer had 'this' in him. I mean we'd see this joie de vivre in concert but when he's release records it was all 'turning off the light at the end of my life' stuff. WONDERFUL CRAZY NIGHT isn't another funeral dirge. It's CAPTAIN FANTASTIC having YET another comeback.

    If Elton is an old friend to your ear and you haven't dropped by in ages -- come on over and have some fun.
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  6. Feb 10, 2016
    7
    Combining Elton John with the country/blues mastermind T-Bone Burnett was always going to be an interesting collaboration, and despite someCombining Elton John with the country/blues mastermind T-Bone Burnett was always going to be an interesting collaboration, and despite some obvious missteps the two pull off an album that is warm and intriguing enough to justify. This is clearly a personal journey of exploration for Elton and it rarely brushes on the sounds that made him an all-time hitmaker, but there's enough here to satisfy long-time fans.
    My Top Tracks: I’ve Got 2 Wings, A Good Heart, The Open Chord
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  7. Feb 8, 2016
    3
    Having grown up on Elton's masterworks during the 70's ,I tried to listen to this album .

    I just can't get past how bad his voice is now
    Having grown up on Elton's masterworks during the 70's ,I tried to listen to this album .

    I just can't get past how bad his voice is now relative to his prime days with Bernie Taupin .

    Well i tried the first few songs and I give up .Long live Elton!
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