Mercury Records – 2004 – 52 minutes

2001's 'Songs From the West Coast' saw Elton John return to the familiar territory of his early work. 'Peachtree Road' continues that trend, but it's a much more personal offering, up there with his best.

The album's pace is slow, allowing us to relax in Elton's company and enjoy the more contemplative nature of the lyrics. There's little of Elton the showman here – 'They Call Her the Cat' is the only non-ballad. Instead, what we get is a serious, mature artist, whose concern these days is the making of quality music.

This maturity is most evident in the humble nature of the lyrics. 'Peachtree Road' is suffused with gratefulness. 'Weight of the World' details the transience of fame and how amazed Elton is that he's still around, while 'All That I'm Allowed' reveals his thankfulness for his success and his contentment with life.

Though the words are penned by Bernie Taupin, Elton's writing partner of many years, there can be no doubt that the sentiment is all Elton's. He bares his soul in these songs, and particularly in 'My Elusive Drug', a kind of confession of his sins to the man he loves, and the album's best track. There is a much more personal element to these lyrics than the likes of 'Your Song' ever had.

With other memorable tracks like 'Freaks in Love' and 'Turn the Lights Out When You Leave', 'Peachtree Road' is a superior offering to 'Songs From the West Coast'. It's a deeper, more profound collection that secures Elton's position as an elder statesman of pop.

Katie Moten

Tracklisting: Weight of the World – Porch Swing in Tupelo – Answer in the Sky – Turn the Lights Out When You Leave – My Elusive Drug – They Call Her the Cat – Freaks in Love – All That I'm Allowed – I Stop and I Breathe – Too Many Tears – It's Getting Dark in Here – I Can't Keep This From You