Saturday, January 2, 2016

Neglected Hits - I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That - Elton John

In the pantheon of Elton John songs and hits, surely there are bound to be some that aren't discussed, played, or remembered as much as others. I mean, who else remembers 1989's top 20 song, "Healing Hands?" Maybe a few of you, but you'll find even fewer who would openly discuss it next to "I'm Still Standing," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Daniel," or "Tiny Dancer."

There's another song though that was a massive hit for Elton, going all the way to Number 2 on the charts in 1988, and I have heard it on the radio a total of one time and have never heard it brought up in any conversation I had about Elton with any of my friends or peers. As you can probably guess from the title of the article, it's "I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That."

Like many of Elton's best songs, this was penned by him and Bernie Taupin and features many of the musicians he employed during his best albums of the '70s, and brought back for his '80s comeback. The song is fairly indicative of its time period given the electronic drumming and use of the digital piano as opposed to a traditional one, but the lyrical content of the song and its incredible flow are timeless. 

There's no down time in the song, it never stops, it never rests, it just keeps moving. Elton rattles off the lyric at a brisk pace and when he's not singing the bass is thumping along and the piano is rolling right with it. 

Special mention should be made of the song's bridge that begins at about 2:12. Elton ratchets up the intensity of his vocal by injecting some extra grit into it, the backing vocals come in strongly, and then it segues right back into the chorus again with a renewed sense of vigor.

Even the music video seems to acknowledge the song's perpetually driving nature by making itself look as if it was just one constant cut. It's obviously not, but the idea is there and it works very well with the song's tempo

It's probably because the song is very much a relic of the '80s that it doesn't get as much play as it should; it's not mellow enough for lite rock stations but it's too '80s pop/rock to find a home on classic rock radio next to "The Bitch is Back" and "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." If you ever get sick of how certain Elton John songs get overplayed, do yourself the favor of throwing this one on and remember how great he could be.

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