Friday, November 23, 2007

Ticking

In which a pampered momma's boy goes mental and kills a bunch of people in a Queens bar, and is shot dead by police when he does finally emerge.

Not exactly "Your Song", is it?

It's an atypically long track, for the Caribou album anyway, and instrumentation is only Elton on piano and vocal, along with Dave Hentschel on synths. It's 2:13 longer than the next longest track, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"- and I say that not to appease the number crunchers but to point out how (despite the potential for monotony) engaging the track is, carried by Elton's deft vocal and the band's harmonies. The subject matter is a bit lurid, almost screaming "RIPPED FROM TODAY'S HEADLINES!!!"- perhaps Bernie had read a newspaper account of a similar incident- but we do get our dramatics administered with an even hand, and that helps. We get sympathy for the perp, sympathy for the victims, but maybe not so much for the police, who gun him down even though he gives up.

This track was a bit of a stretch for Elton & Co., I can't recall another instance, until much later with John Lennon's death, when he and Bernie would be this topical again.

3 comments:

Burkee said...

I can't believe he played 'Ticking' at his concert in Halifax. My brother and I both thought that it would be too long and rather obscure for him to play.

It is one of my favorites and although many in the audience did't seem to know it, I sang every word.

Johnny B said...

He seems to be a bit more interested these days in exhuming a lot of his pre-1977 catalogue. Good to know he remembers this one!

Peter Markush said...

I've had this album for years but finally gave it a good listen today. This is by far my favorite track. Positively gripping, Bernie and Elton at their best. According to the liner notes, the harmonies are actually all Elton.