Why Elton John’s Looking Up is His Best Single in Years

Elton John New Single

Photo: By David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Elton John is back with one of the most enjoyable and well written songs that Elton John and Bernie Taupin have composed in the last twenty years.  Elton John’s new album Wonderful Crazy Night hit the store last month with rave reviews. The album was hailed by many as a return to form. However, we would argue that most critics were wrong with the return to form label. Elton John’s new album defines a fresh sound that is a departure from some of Elton’s recent work. It seemed for a time Elton John may have struggled a bit with his vocal range not being able to replicate those high notes that fueled some of his iconic compositions from the earlier part of his career. A limited vocal range can be devastating for a singer songwriter as prolific as Elton John. When Elton John released Songs from the West Coast, in 2001, it seemed he had found just the right groove that worked wonderfully on that album. Nonetheless, as great as the recordings were on Songs from the West Coast, one could hear the influences from various points in his career. For the most part that was one of the reasons fans and critics loved the record.

For those critics and fans who have labeled the album as a return to form, I would argue that the album is a step in a new direction. It seems that Elton John has found a new compositional method in which he utilizes his piano in the lead role as a compliment to his lead vocals. The song that this new style is most apparent on is the track “Looking Up.” The song begins with a retrained blues guitar riff before the rest of the band dives into the mix. The piano slowly  begins to participate before it blows us away with a creative piano lick that becomes the heart of the song. Utilizing the piano riff as the song’s chorus is a creative technique that Elton has rarely used. It works beautifully and sounds completely fresh.

The recording of “Looking Up,” is a reflection of Elton John’s desire to stay relevant and continue to write great pop music. The is not an oldies act looking to rest on past glory and simply perform concerts filled with songs written twenty years ago.  Elton John is a songwriter at heart. True songwriters never stop writing. Its who they are, its what they do, until their last breath. Elton John’s news album is brilliant because its a step forward. It’s an amazing collection of fresh sounding original content that will cause Elton John fans to drop to their knees in praise while Looking Up to one of the greatest songwriters of the past fifty years.

 

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