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Music Review: Elton John – Victim Of Love

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1978s A Single Man struggled to be an average album. 1979 found Elton John releasing Victim Of Love which is one of the worst, if not the worst, album in his vast catalogue. His fan base would agree with this assessment as it was his poorest selling studio album and did not even crack the American top forty.

It was the height of the disco era and Elton John made the poor decision to move his sound away from his pop/rock base and conform it to the popular music style of the day. Elton John and disco are two words that should never appear in the same sentence. It was a depressing and cheesy release.

He did not take writing credits on any of the seven tracks. Instead he relied on Pete Bellotte to co-write six of the tunes. He was responsible for such Donna Summer hits as “Heaven Knows” and “Hot Stuff” but his material here does not come close to these classic disco tracks.  

The good news is that the lead track is not a Bellotte composition. The bad news is that it was a cover of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode. The real bad news is that he took it in a disco direction and extended it out to over eight minutes. One can only imagine what Chuck Berry thought of this performance.

The only listenable song is the title track. It is smoother than the rest of the material and while it may go on a little too long, it does feature a good vocal.

There is good disco and there is bad disco and the other five tracks fall into the bad disco category. “Warm Love In A Cold World,” “Born Bad,” “Thunder In The Night,” “Spotlight,” and “Street Boogie” are all an uninspired lot and suffer from a lack of energy. Until I listened to these songs for this review, they had thankfully slipped from my memory banks.

I'm really not sure if Elton even played any piano on the album. It is only for diehard fans with the emphasis on die. The only person whose artistic integrity remained intact was Bernie Taupin who wasn’t involved in this sorry affair.

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