Taron Egerton / Elton John

Rocketman [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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The subtitle to Rocketman is "Music from the Motion Picture," which is a clear signal that this is indeed a soundtrack to an Elton John biopic, not an Elton John hits collection. While Elton John isn't absent from Rocketman: Music from the Motion Picture -- he comes in at the close, singing on a triumphantly dramatic reworking of "I'm Still Standing" and taking the lead on the brand-new "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," a nice evocation of his chipper imperial era -- he cedes the stage to Taron Egerton, who plays the young Elton both on screen and on record. As far as the soundtrack goes, Egerton is an admirable Elton stand-in, possessing a vocal timbre that's reminiscent of John that enables him to evade imitation, which is a bit more than can be said about the lion's share of the arrangements of Elton oldies. By and large, these versions are meant to stir memories of the hits you know by heart, but they're shaped to fit the contours of the film, so they can feel slightly off even when they're hitting their marks precisely. While this can make for a bit of an uncanny valley experience for listeners who've memorized the original recordings, these new versions deliver a snazzy, cinematic punch that distinguishes Rocketman: Music from the Motion Picture from Elton John's own work.

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