Elton John's “Wonderful Crazy Night” released this Friday, being John’s 33rd studio album. From the first single that was announced, “Looking Up,” it was obvious that John had the intention to incite joy in his music. From the catchy tones of the pianist to the soul in John’s voice, the message he wanted to give was clear; find happiness in all situations.
“Now I'm looking up more than I look down / the view's a whole lot better second time around,” proudly sings John in the song “Looking Up.”
While John’s last album “The Diving Board,” seemed to be more tailored to his older audiences, “Wonderful Crazy Night” has a lot of musical themes. It strays away from his prior style of music he produced back in 2013. John revamped his music flair, which mixed all different feels of music. From the first initial listen there is a hint of country, swing and classic rock. It seemed that John was really trying to entertain all the different varieties of listeners.
The song “Looking Up” could easily fit in at a country line dancing bar. This is an obvious dancing song that really makes the listener want to move from side to side. The song starts out with an array of big band sounds; from the diversity of instruments there is a catchy rhythm that allows for an audience to dance to.
It seems like John is either creating a new sound or struggling to find one. John has always been a romantic, with timeless songs like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” or “Tiny Dancer". In this new album there seems to be a struggle to maintain his true sound. As time changes the music world has continued to evolve, John seems to be trying to move forward with his music to reach a wider demographic. It is hard to distinguish if this act of new sound is extremely liberating or extremely sad.
“In the Name You” is a soulful track with a southern sensation. This song was much different than his other songs in the album. Slightly boring, but still pleasant to the ears This song has a long electric guitar solo in the middle that gives it a southern rock and roll impression.
"I just said that I even wanted the slow songs to be optimistic," John told Rolling Stone Magazine in an early interview. Without the impressive guitar work by Davey Johnstone this track would not be nearly as entertaining. Johnstone has played with John since the early 70s and really helped this song become close to interesting.
“I’ve Got Two Wings” is much different than the other songs in the album. This song specifically has a strong southern church sense. “I was the light for the living and I spoke of peace and love, with two wings and my old Gibson I bought blessing from above.” This song was a tribute to Louisiana preacher-guitarists. “I’ve Got Two Wings” is a strange song to have on this album, it is felt very out of place.
The track “Wonderful Crazy Night” really lives up to its title. “Ice cubes on the back of your neck, warm wind blowing through the parking lot, a radio humming in every car and it feels like the clocks have stopped.” There is a slight hint of seduction in the lyrics of this track. But, more importantly it conveys the idea of enjoying the moments you are spending, even if they seem insignificant in the grand scheme. “Someday if you're asking all about the key to love I'd say that wonderful night.” This song allowed John to enjoy the moments that seem minor, but really hold as dear memories in your head and heart.
The track, “Wonderful Crazy Night” is a great representative song for the entire album. It summarizes the sound that John is trying to portray throughout its entirety. For John, the usual theme of love and joyful bliss was very apparent in his album. Even by his classic wardrobe choice on the front cover, it was easy to tell the mood John was in. “Go where you want, when you want too just don’t let the wind tear you free.”