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TURN-ONS AND TURN-OFFS IN CURRENT HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES : Excellent Good Fair Poor : COMPACT DISCS

December 30, 1986|JON MATSUMOTO

"Leather Jackets." Elton John. Geffen. It's hard to believe this is the same Elton John who virtually ruled the pop music charts in the mid-'70s. The English singer-pianist used to have an uncanny knack for highly melodic and well-tailored tunes. But John's latest work extends his streak of artistically disappointing albums. The up-tempo songs sound random, and the ballads don't have much flavor or drama. What makes the artistic shortcomings even more lamentable is that "Leather Jackets" was digitally recorded. Though the sound quality on the rock-oriented songs tends to be somewhat flat and uneven, the slower tracks have wonderful spaciousness and presence. Now if Elton could only recapture some of his old songwriting magic. 1/2

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