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21 At 33 (Remastered) Enhanced, Original recording remastered, Import

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording remastered, Import
  • Label: Rocket - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B00008ZPDL
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
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Product Description

Digitally remastered edition of Captain Fantastic's first album of the 80's which marked a return to writing with Taupin on most of the songs here. The album spawned the hit singles "Little Jeannie" and "Sartorial Eloquence". This edition of the original 1980 album includes enhanced packaging and sleevenotes by John Tobler.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I do like this album a great deal. That's be 4 1/2 that rating. I just cannot give it the full five because some of these songs, notably the rockers, which were all the Taupin lyrics, go on too long. Chasing the crown, however, is perhaps one of Elton's best rockers. I really like the backing vocalists, Venette Gloud, Carmen Twillie and Stephanie Spruill [the last one first appeared on Victim of love] who add a very Gospel sound. Steve Lukather really rocks too. The song might be about the Devil, 'I was chasing the crown when he bight the apple, I was licking my lips when his Son come down ... taking a turn in the right direction by leaving his soul in the lost and found ...' but it's very obscure and hard to say. Two rooms has very experimental backing vocals, enjoyable fanfares and interesting piano. The backing vocalists by the way are Elton dubbed in many times. White lady, white powder, about cocaine, is a very melodic rock song, complete with the Eagles as backing vocals. The romantic piano relates to Elton's feelings fro the cocaine and the harsh guitar licks represent the dangers behind it all. Well that's how it comes across to me. But my favourite song here is the beautiful, serene, Never gonna fall in love, again. The production really captures a gentle atmosphere. The acoustic guitar really conjure up the image of a few friends around a campfire and to me the lyrics is one of them telling a story. Actaully this album does have a folk feel. I don't think it would be out of place somewhere between Honky Chateau and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Even the same synthesiser sounds used on 'Daniel' are used on this album. And like 'Don't shoot me' it has brass featured on a few tracks. It's just this sounds too late seventies melodically.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
The glory days of the 70's and the height of creativity had gone by, his face had changed, his voice was beginning to change and we had arrived to the 80's (well technically of course this album is recored in 1979!). You won't hear the high soaring falsetto here or any other album ever again, that shining voice you were used to during the classics of the 70's. Shame. This album is a nice comeback after the ventures in disco, a comeback to the pop charts and to the more familiar material for the fans. The over 5 minute rock opener 'Chasing The Crown' (penned by Taupin) contains some good instrumentations around the...well, a bit silly lyrics. It's a good opener considering what the previous album had been like and perhaps it's time I stop comparing everything to to horridness of 'Victim Of Love', they can do better than this and everything will seem golden if compared to that trash. 'Little Jeannie' by Tom Robinson, gave Elton a hit after a while of misses. This is a cheesy ballad, but some cheese is good. Very soft instrumentation with the usual "cheesy love ballad elements" of a saxophone solo and soft drums/synth (not to mention Elton's singing), hyper-cheesy lyrics 'I want you to be my acrobat, I want you to be my lover" add to the mold of this radio friendly hit-single. It is deadly catchy at times and I can't help to like it even though I know it's cheese (same way as I like Billy Joel's 'Just The Way You Are'), though if listened too often this will get hopelessly irritating. The 'Stepped in to my life...' bit is the best part to me. Let's all have cheese! 'Sartorial Eloquence' by Tom Robinson, another radio friendly and catchy song with clever lyrics that make you look for the dictionary at parts, very enjoable addition.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
every song is good, and elton shows us why he dips in every gendre of music, because he can and does it with excellence. From homoerotic ballads that chicks love to country songs, to disco"victim of love" stuff to songs about cocaine, to songs about playing the devil and stealing your soul "give me the love give me the key to your heart" OK. I love this album it's in the top 3 with single man and jump up, Dear God, great song. not that i'm religous i just like it. Elton you should have stayed on drugs tying up call boys in the woods, your music was much better in the late 70's and early 80's then it is today
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f292f3c) out of 5 stars 50 reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f0b6ad4) out of 5 stars The Decade Gets Off To A Pretty Good Start June 28 2003
By Keith T. Pells - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Elton John, fresh off 1979's active year, with a top 10 hit (the Thom Bell written and produced "Mama Can't Buy You Love"), being one of the first ever rock artists to tour the Soviet Union (the Berlin Wall was still up) and blast through the speakers of discos across the country with the "Victim Of Love" album, opened the new 80's decade with his last album for MCA, "21 At 33". As most people know, the title refers to the number of albums released (21) and his age at the time (33).
With the first single "Little Jeannie" becoming one of his biggest hits of the decade, the album got off to a great start, backed with a solid tour as well. What one notices right from the start on this record is how clean sounding the production and the arrangements are. The bell-tree in "Little Jeannie" is crisp and crystal clear. The horn arrangement in the autobiographical "Two Rooms At The End Of The World" (Elton in London and Bernie in Los Angeles) is pointed and the staccatos have punch to them.
The second single, "Sartorial Eloquence" was a decent, building-ballad (although I've never understood why MCA released it as the key line from the song "Don't You Wanna Play This Game No More"). EJ & Taupin even (blushingly) take on (of all things) cocaine in "White Powder White Lady". All with the Eagles provided ample backing vocals (and perhaps, noses???). But the next two tracks could have been stronger. "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again", written with England Gay New-Waver Tom Robinson, was OK, but "Take Me Back", a country-esque number complete with "fiddle" was in retrospect too obvious of a "filler".
Much more interesting was the album's closing number "Give Me The Love" written with label-mate Judy Tzuke (think elements of Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush), who had a gorgeous hit the previous year with "Stay With Me Till Dawn". The song takes on a fluid, crisp jazz quality, one which was a head-turner for the hard-core Elton fan. It was so well written and executed, that I couldn't help but wonder if Elton was listening to Boz Scagg's "Middle Man" album while writing the music. It's always been my belief that Elton should do more exploration into Jazz, as well as compose and release an album of instrumentals. "Give Me The Love" seems to support both.
As with the other newly-released, import remasterings, they could have included some really great bonus tracks like "Conquor The Sun" (B-side to "Little Jeannie"), and "Cartier", "White Man Danger" (which should have been on the album instead of "Take Me Back"), as well as other european B-sides like "Love So Cold" and "Tactics". They really blew it...especially with most of the "Classic Year" remasterings containing bonus tracks.
Overall, "21 At 33" gets 3-Stars. It was a sprightly, Summery album, which would have gotton 4-stars if there would not have been the "filler" track mentioned above, as well as providing the bonus tracks mentioned. It should be noted that the remastering is superb and definetely enhances the clean, crisp arrangements.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f0b6b28) out of 5 stars 21 at 33 Gets Two Thumbs Up! Nov. 30 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This album is excellent. "Two rooms at the end of the world", which is about Elton John and Bernie Taupin reuniting, is worth the price of the album alone! All of the other songs are equally impressive, with the Rock&Roll beat of "Chasing the Crown", and the sad, yet slightly jumpy sound of "Satorial Eloquence".
"White Lady White Powder", an ode to cocaine, was written about the beginning of Elton's cocaine addiction and features Glen Frey and Don Henly of The Eagles, among others, singing back-up vocals and is guaranteed to be a sing-a-long favourite.
"Give me the love", written by Judie Tzuke, is an excellent track with superb piano, clear and happy trumpets, and a jazzy disposition that is asking for love. This is easily one of the better tracks on "21 at 33".
All in all, an excellent album. From this reviewer's point-of-view, this is one of Elton's best of the early '80's.
Dr. Sloane Towns
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f0b6cfc) out of 5 stars a testament to the superior songcraft of Elton John Jan. 12 2006
By Missing Person - Published on
Format: Audio CD
"21 at 33", originally released in 1980, is not usually considered to be one of Elton John's best albums. More precisely, it seems to be viewed as something of a transitional record for Elton following his notorious and commercially disastrous disco album "Victim of Love".

That said, "21 at 33" is an incredibly impressive achievement. Despite the personal problems Elton was going through during this period, including his increasing drug dependency, absolutely none of the songs here fail to display Elton's superior knack for songcraft. In other words, there's simply not a weak song on the disc. And the production, by Elton and Clive Franks, is mostly very tasteful, and the performances are spirited.

Granted, Elton's reliance on other people to write the lyrics for his songs does give him a certain advantage in that he can focus solely on writing the music, and he can also use the lyrics he's been provided with as a vantage point for the type of song he's going to concoct. Bernie Taupin, following his songwriting absence on the previous two albums, returned here, co-writing three of the songs. Gary Osborne was also continuing to co-write songs with Elton, and there are additionally two co-writes from Tom Robinson, and one co-write from Judie Tzuke. The liner notes inform us that all of the songs here were written at the Cote d'Azur in Grasse, France in August of 1979, which inescapably brings to mind the thought that Elton can turn out great song after great song in his sleep--even if these tunes were all written quickly, they all seem carefully thought out musically, and none of them feel merely like album filler.

"Chasing The Crown" is a great, energetic album opener that rocks out quite nicely with super-cool guitar and piano licks. "Little Jeannie" is a supremely melodic ballad with a soaring chorus and an irresistible fade that's based on the instrumental intro. "Sartorial Eloquence" starts off with a lovely sequence of piano chords and again is splendidly melodic with an irresistibly catchy chorus. "Two Rooms At The End Of The World" is a toe-tappingly catchy horn-laden pop-rocker with neatly placed harmony vocals. The neatly-unpredictable "White Lady White Powder" is an extremely well-crafted and catchy uptempo pop-rocker. The 6/8 time "Dear God" is a gently-swaying, arrestingly tuneful ballad. "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" is also a solid ballad with a nice sighing quality to it. "Take Me Back" is a fun, musically upbeat song that shows just how comfortable Elton is a country-western setting. The album ends with the absolutely infectious grooving soft-rocker "Give Me The Love": unbelievably catchy vocal melody; irresistible syncopation; great horn and string arrangements; a really fun, spirited Elton vocal delivery; and great Elton piano fills.

"21 at 33" is an album that you can absolutely play straight through. On the other hand, you might have a hard time doing that due to a temptation to play certain tracks two or three times in a row. With a nice variety to the songs, and so much catchiness, this is a really great and underrated album from Elton, and I really can't fathom how any fan wouldn't love it.

(P.S. Further demonstrating what a roll Elton was on at this time, there are at least a couple songs from the "21 at 33" sessions that didn't make the album. One is the fine ballad "Conquer the Sun" which appeared as a b-side for the "Little Jeannie" single. Another is the irresistibly funky "Lonely Boy" which appeared as a b-side to the single for "Who Wears These Shoes?" in 1984. It would have made this album even sweeter had these two songs been added here as bonus tracks--fans won't regret tracking them down.)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa028933c) out of 5 stars A Good Hand Feb. 13 2005
By David Sigler - Published on
Format: Audio CD
That title for this review plays off the cover artwork for this 1980 release. With his recording career in a unexpected and doubtful place, Elton John re-emerged once again with a collection of songs that let's his fans know that he can deliver when he needs to. After the stark and moody "A Single Man" and the disco disaster of "Victim of Love", "21 at 33" rightfully puts Elton back in the pop-rock category. It may not hold together all the way through but at least his diversions are minimal and do not way down the entire effort.

Starting with the highly charged rocker, "Chasing The Crown", you know right away he mean business. Effective backing vocals and a great guitar by Richie Zito start the album off with a bang. "Little Jeannie" follows and is simply one of those enduring and memorable ballads Elton has built a successful career upon. It has one of his most unique lyrical hooks ("I want you to be my acrobat"), courtesy of Gary Osbourne, in years. Further, this may be the best John/Taupin song without a Taupin lyric. The way the melody flows and marriage of the lyric to the melody are very reminiscent of anything Elton and Taupin did back in '73.

And speaking of Taupin, this was his much herald return to an Elton John album since 1976's "Blue Moves". Here, he contributes three lyrics: the mentioned above "Chasing the Crown", a cocaine laced "White Lady/White Powder" and "Two Rooms At The End Of The World", which tells the tale of their reunion. Elton, with tongue clearly in cheek, give "White Lady" a melody that is so full of cheery piano fills and backing vocals, that it almost appears to be a parody when contrasted with the lyric about cocaine addiciton. And on "Two Rooms", an overproduced uptempo song that has too strong of a horn arrangement, misses some of the drama and insight into Taupin's story about how they write songs. "Two Rooms" isn't bad, it's just very busy with horns, piano solos, and many backing vocals that keep the listener very busy.

Elsewhere, lyrics are shared with Gary Osbourne, with the exception of "Little Jeannie," turns in more mundane, b-side worthy material (the ill-advised "Dear God", which follows the cocaine song - go figure, and "Take Me Back", a routine country song that feels way out of place among the others). These songs sound like leftovers from "A Single Man". But Tom Robinson provides Elton with lyrics for two pretty ballads:"Sartorial Eloquence" and "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again". This is a relationship that seemed to work nicely and a shame they didn't explore more opportunities in the future (though Robinson did make one last appearance on the next release, "The Fox").

Rounding out the last of the lyrical contributors is "Give Me The Love," which is written by Elton and Judie Ztuke. A jazzy, disco style upbeat number that certainly sounded very 1980 and contemporary when it came out. Not a bad song but again, a little out of place.

Elton produced this release with sound engineer Clive Franks and the results are overwhelming at times. However, this remastered version is very well done and the sound is crisp, clear and solid. It also helped that Elton brought back some of the original band members (drummer Nigel Olsson and bassist Dee Murray) for a few songs - notably the huge hit "Little Jeannie."

"21 At 33" is not his best album but certainly a signal that Elton John was getting serious about his music again. And at that time in his career, it proved he had a ace or two up his sleeve.

Best Tracks: Chasing The Crown, Little Jeannie, Sartorial Eloquence.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0289360) out of 5 stars The return of Bernie Taupin Oct. 28 2001
By David Hugaert - Published on
Format: Audio CD
"21 At 33" marks a slight return to form for Bernie Taupin's partnership with Elton John. These two hitmakers last collaborated on the 1976 release "Blue Moves", which, rather surprisingly, contained only one U.S. Billboard chart single - 1977's "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word". "21 At 33" starts things off musically in rip-roaring fashion with the up-tempo "Chasing The Crown", one of three EJ-BT compositions on this disc (the other two being the well-travelled "Two Rooms At The End Of The World" and the depressing "White Lady White Powder", where Elton begins his long-winded battle with cocaine). The majority of the other tracks here were written by Tom Robinson, including the gay dulcet tones of "Sartorial Eloquence" and the subtleness displayed in the disc's major hit "Little Jeannie", although this particular track was written by Gary Osborne, who also made lyrical contributions to "21 At 33" with the serene and sincere compositions "Dear God" and "Take Me Back" (which isn't quite as serene as "Dear God", but has a small degree of serenity to it, nonetheless). But, the main thing that makes "21 At 33" such a standout masterpiece is the musical versatility EJ and his band display on two tracks, "Take Me Back", as mentioned above, with its countrified, hillbilly-laden, violin feel and on "Give Me The Love", with its smooth jazzy, discofied nuances (although the disco movement virtually ceased to exist by the time "21 At 33" was first released in 1980). The latter track was also written by Judie Tzuke, who accompanied Elton on his "21 At 33" tour in 1980. Another nice thing about listening to this disc, is that Elton's vocals started to mature a bit (although I do miss those classic Elton vocals from the '70's), and are a suitable fit to the lyrics displayed in these songs. This disc was also the last EJ would record on the MCA label before signing with Geffen Records, that is, until he returned to MCA with the 1988 release "Reg Strikes Back". So, if you're a true Elton John fan, and you don't have "21 At 33" in your CD collection, what are you waiting for? Better get it soon, because it just may be gone tomorrow!