The Elton John Hipness Continuum, part 1.
About ten or so years ago, none of my rock snob friends or erstwhile hipster pals would even acknowledge Elton John as a true force of songwriting brilliance. So I was amused to read, recently, that the meme seems to be shifting today and now Elton’s first few albums, Elton John, 11-17-70, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across The Water and Honky Chateau are considered to be the GOOD Elton albums, made before he alledgedly jumped the shark. Extra hipster points awarded to Elton’s Friends and Empty Sky, just as deep Beach Boys fans tend to overvalue Sunflower or Wild Honey, merely because your parents ignored them.
Now, the meme reads that Elton “lost the plot” on “indulgent” works like Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.
So here’s what I’m thinking.
At this rate, in about five or ten years, Piano Player, Yellow Brick, Capt. Fantastic, heck even Caribou, will be upgraded to “Golden Age of Elton”.
In about ten to fifteen years, songs like “Grow Some Funk of Your Own,” “Island Girl” and “The Bitch Is Back” will be revered.
Maybe in 20 years, we’ll be praising “Nikita” and “Sad Songs Say So Much.”
On second thought, maybe that’s too much to ask. For now.
PS: This piece is merely addressing “rock snob” ideas of what a good Elton John album is. I already think Piano Player and Yellowbrick Road are classic.