Everyone has an artist or band they can return to time after time without it becoming boring or tedious. When all other bands have become tired, and it feels like there will never be good music written ever again, there’s the knight in shining armor: the old favorite.
Elton John is that artist for many, including myself.
John’s career has spanned over 50 years after meeting his writing partner, Bernie Taupin, and his music has yet to exit the public consciousness. He has stood the test of time, despite technology's advancements and changing trends.
His music molds with what is popular, but he never abandons that Elton John sound that everyone is so familiar with. From his country-western album Tumbleweed Connection to his poppy yet powerful Too Low for Zero, John has a way with his voice and his keys that wrangle in the new listeners without alienating his faithful fans.
His classic voice and unique range give him a lot of wiggle room to adapt to a changing culture. He wasn’t phased when glam rock’s popularity fell and disco took over, releasing “Street Boogie,” and songs like it, to keep himself within the public’s eye.
But it never feels unnatural. Many artists, such as Queen, changed their original sound to stick with the trends. They released Hot Space to combat what seemed like rock and roll’s downfall. This album, however, retreated from what made their sound so unique. Although Freddie Mercury obviously kept his vocal range, the guitar-based songs gave way to synth and bass, changing what felt like half the draw of the band.
Elton, on the other hand, never had a “signature” genre. He skipped around to different genres — gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, country and western — to keep his music fresh and interesting for those who may be looking for different genres.
Not only does John’s music keep itself in the mainstream by genre-bending, but he also tells compelling stories in his songs. “My Father’s Gun,” the highlight of Tumbleweed Connection, tells the story of a naive Confederate soldier who fights only because he feels as though it is his duty.
No one alive today has that experience, so John and Taupin imagined together the tribulations of a soldier who assesses his situation by what he believes is best for his family and country. Not only is the music in the song grandiose, but the lyrics alone, both in catchiness and storytelling, cement the song as an Elton John staple.
Elton John’s music has withstood time’s test. Not only does his music transcend genre, but his lyrics allude to unique experiences and stories that many find compelling. He has found a way, unlike many other older musicians, to keep himself fresh in the limelight by adapting his music to technological and musical advances. Elton John has always been bold, and his work reflects his ability to roll with the changes.
Shelby Campbell is a junior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Shelby know by tweeting her @bloodbuzzohioan.