With thirty two albums under his belt and a thirty third on the way, it doesn’t seem like Elton John will be slowing down any time soon. In order to prepare fans for his upcoming album and show off the return of band members Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olson, Looking Up has been released as the lead single. And while it’s got its fair share of positive points, there are a few things wrong with it too.
In contrast to the sparse sound of previous album The Diving Board, Looking Up signals a return to rock and roll, focusing on an infectious repeating piano melody and guitar riffs to capture your interest. It’s a very fitting lead single for an Elton John album; closer in style to his late 90s, early 00s albums with more energy to it compared to his most recent releases, but it’s quite obviously his style of song.
At first it all works well, and it’s sure to induce foot tapping upon initial listens. The song’s main drawback appears after multiple listens, with the static structure and repetitive piano quickly growing tiring in the grand scheme of the song. As catchy as the arrangement is as a whole, there’s just not enough going for it to keep it fresh and interesting over multiple listens.
So while Looking Up is a solid track, it may not have been a prime choice to lead the album with. It’s highly likely that it will fare much better in the context of the album, but as the first and only piece of material we’ve heard so far, it’s not quite as strong an introduction as it could have been.