"Okay, so this album has a place in my heart because I first bought it when I was only 13; I had just had my first exposure to Elton with "I'm Still Standing," and wanted more. And there's definitely a familiarity about the album (which I wore out on cassette before replacing with a CD) that makes it special to me.But even examined in the overall context of Elton's oeuvre, this work stands out. Yes, "Empty Garden" is a moving tribute to his friend John Lennon, and yes, "Blue Eyes" is a beautiful love song...Beyond that, though, you have what now has to be recognized as a seminal moment in Broadway musical history - "Legal Boys," the first song Elton ever wrote with Tim Rice, with whom he later wrote "The Lion King" and "Aida." It's twisted, sardonic, and well-orchestrated; how many beautiful songs about divorce have you heard in your life?"I Am Your Robot" is a bit of a clunker, and "Ball and Chain" ain't fabulous either, but the rest of the songs fill out the CD nicely. "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?" and "All Quiet on the Western Front" in particular are musical departures for Elton, and it's always been nice when he takes risks.Simply put, I feel this album is underrated and often overlooked among Elton's work, and I think unjustifiably so. It belongs in the collection of every Elton fan."
John Kwok | 01/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I listened to Empty Garden after my father-in-law died of cancer. That was our insect that damaged so much grain. Sad Songs do Say So Much. Nobody writes them better than EJ. This cd is very under-rated. Great upbeat tunes too, like Dear John."
David L Grow | Agoura Hills, CA United States | 09/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Elton found himself floundering by the end of the 70's--"Victim Of Love" and "The Thom Bell Sessions" were critical and commercial disasters. 1979's "Single Man" revealed Elton--now openly gay-- staring down the world. Gone were the glasses and the feather boas that were his trademark--replaced by contacts and songs like "Big Dipper," a tossed gauntlet to even the most open-minded of homophobes. Elton was not happy and the music reflected that.Suddenly in 1980, "Jump Up" appears and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The album opens with "Dear John," a rolicking ode to failed love where Elton sounds very much like his old ass-kicking self. "Empty Garden," a tribute to his friend John Lennon sets a sobering but beautiful mood which feels very Beatlesque. Other highlights on the record are "Legal Boys," a stark confessional both poingiant and lyrically powerful and "All Quite On The Western Front." "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?" gets a solid C plus and "Princess" has an engaging chorus amid it's slight R&B feel. It's new territory for Elton but he makes it work. What doesn't work are the silly and very forgettable tracks like "I Am Your Robot" and "Ball and Chain" which was a total rip-off of "Queen of Hearts." "Blue Eyes" is a pretty song but it sounds like Elton was a runner-up in the Elvis impersonation contest and the production is a bit too much Nelson Riddle.Overall, without question, there are only two albums from Elton in the Eighties worth having, Jump Up and Too Low. Get em both."
mark paul | australia | 09/29/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes when i listen to this cd i don't like it and other times i love it.The song empty garden is very clever.If you listen to the song empty garden closely u can hear the drum imitating someone knocking on a door.Just before elton sings "and i've been knocking" the drum imitates someone knocking and this happens throughout this song at different stages of the song."