Elvis “The Fool”

Elvis “The Fool”
released in July 1973

Track List:

  1. Fool
  2. Where Do I Go From Here?
  3. Love Me, Love the Life I Lead
  4. It’s Still Here
  5. It’s Impossible
  6. (That’s What You Get) For Lovin’ Me
  7. Padre
  8. I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen
  9. I Will Be True
  10. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

Elvis Presley’s 18th studio album, Elvis (The Fool), released in July 1973, is a typical late period Elvis album, with songs cobbled together from different recording sessions to attempt to make a cohesive album. Mostly recorded at RCA Studios in Nashville, this album is mostly notable for the three tracks that feature Elvis on piano (“It’s Still Here”, “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen”, and “I Will Be True”).

Like every Elvis album during this period thus far, Elvis (The Fool) does contain some goodies, but it is by no means a fully cohesive effort. Elvis’ voice, particularly his vibrato, is too much at times, and the sound has moved away from the soul genre towards an amalgamation of love ballads, pop, country, and strangely enough…a hint of mariachi? There’s a lot here. Here goes…

*notes the songs especially recommended 

  1. Fool*

The first thing I noticed about this song was how modern its production sounded, the second thing I noticed is how appealing the melody is. I am usually wary of ballads for Elvis during this period, but this one works. Elvis presents himself as either a benevolent spirit or friend here, giving his friend some advice about romance. Also, it is a nice thematic callback to “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You”.

2. Where Do I Go From Here?

Written by the incredible songwriter Paul Williams, meaning we are truly at the peak of the early-70s world of music. This song absolutely has “We’ve Only Just Begun” vibes, especially during the chorus. However, rather than waxing poetic about the uncertainty during the beginning of marriage, this song focuses on the disillusion and jadedness that comes later on, perhaps when that couple is on the brink of divorce. However, the song quality is no “We’ve Only Just Begun.” The chorus is a little messy and hurried, causing the message of the song to get muddled. Also, it’s about 45 seconds too long.

3. Love Me, Love the Life I Lead

Yet another song highlighting the word fool, and also a second semi-callback to “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, yet this song is of a lesser quality. This one is also the perfect example of why Elvis should refrain from doing ballads at this point in his career. The particular vocal flaw of this song? Elvis keeps grasping for a meaningful moment in this song by reaching for the high notes in the most awkward way possible.

Elvis onstage in 1973

4. It’s Still Here

Uh-oh. Another ballad. This one features a nice bluesy arrangement, which does tend to suit Elvis’ voice better. As much of a subtle vocal reflection that Elvis can achieve during this era. It amounts to an adequate acoustic ballad.

5. It’s Impossible*

It is always anxiety inducing when you see that Elvis released a cover of a song you already love, as is the case with “It’s Impossible”. However, this cover is worthy of this song. The strings and Elvis’ nuanced vocals really lend a dreamy quality to this song. This version feels as though it should soundtrack the montage where the two people fall in love in the romcom.

6. (That’s What You Get) For Lovin’ Me*

Elvis goes honky tonkin’ alert! I am really digging the banjo woven throughout this song. It’s a really fun, sassy, little ditty.

7. Padre

This is the one with the aforementioned mariachi vibes. It adds some needed spice to this album, but Elvis’ overwhelming vibrato shows up again here. Particularly at the end when he decides to turn it up even more, making everything way too intense, to the point where I am not sure if the song is supposed to be a fun bop or an angry bop.

8. I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen

Elvis’ melodic piano part on this song is very fitting for this extremely old piece; it was written circa 1875.

Elvis 1973

9. I Will Be True

A love ballad that made me a little sleepy, though that may be intentional. Elvis is playing piano yet again on this one, and his playing is incredibly soothing.

10. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right*

Another jaunty country tune, this one striking a tone that is more low-key and reassuring. Elvis’ vibrato works here and this is a stunner of a closing song.

Listen to Elvis (The Fool) here

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