NEW ALBUM: ELTON JOHN | THE LOCKDOWN SESSIONS
After more than 35 years since Elton John recorded with Stevie Wonder, the legends are singing again. And Sir Elton, despite his 74 years of age, has released his new album, "The Lockdown Sessions," boasting an unbelievably talented company of singers. He's enlisted some famous friends from across the contemporary-music spectrum: Eddie Vedder, Lil Nas X, Dua Lipa, Rina Sawayama and a pair of Stevies - Nicks and Wonder - are among the artists who join him on the album's 16 songs, several of which were recorded remotely due to pandemic-induced restrictions. If the concept recalls John's 1993 album "Duets," the execution this time is more original, focusing on primarily new material vs. the covers found on that previous LP. But "The Lockdown Sessions" is still a disorienting scrapbook of a record. It Sellotapes together 16 collaborations that bounce between genres and covers and originals in a way that risks staking the listener back into 2020's weirdly scattered and out-of-time mindset. While the first half of the album makes room for new takes on Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin" (with Years & Years). Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" (with Miley Cyrus) also contains "The Lockdown Sessions" best moments, like the '70s throwback "Cold Heart" with Lipa, Sawayama's slow-build "Chosen Family," "After All" with kindred spirit Charlie Puth and previously released 2020 collaborations with Surfaces ("Learn to Fly") and Gorillaz ("The Pink Phantom").