Picks and Pans Review: The Big Picture

updated 10/06/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Elton John

Elton John, now 50, still has a voice whose strength is unmatched by artists half his age. Unfortunately his longtime lyricist, Bernie Taupin, does not enjoy the same vitality. As with 1995's Made in England, Taupin is unable to steer clear of his old standbys (love, loss and little else) or uninspired lines like "Something about the way you look tonight/Takes my breath away." The duo can still properly jell, as they did recently with "Candle in the Wind 1997," John's moving tribute to Princess Diana (which does not appear here). But too often on The Big Picture, John's attempts at experimentation—sprucing up "If the River Can Bend" with a vivacious gospel choir and reveling in the devilish darkness of "Wicked Dreams"—are held in check by Taupin's reheated refrains. (Rocket)

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