Now that you've struck a deal with Vegas to be its newest attraction, Sir Elton, let's get something straight. You may think that because you've booked your gazillionth international tour, already pre-packaged your next tribute to a dead starlet and still wear all those crazy, kooky glasses, we Americans are gonna kiss your ass and play toady to your LaChappelle life.
Think again, old man.
We're still gonna kiss your ass and go see you in concert (timeless songs, 35-year career, etc.), but being a popular live draw and being talented are definitely not the same. Truth be told, we're American. We've got Britney's pregnancy, Jen's divorce and Jessica's tuna. Look into our eyes and tell us what you see. Yeah, some crazy tabloid buyin' sons of bitches, that's what.
And we flock to your flaunting because, chances are, you're going to dish up some hot 'n' juicy gay-nation controversy. Remember when you screamed animal-kingdom insults at those Taiwanese photogs? Score two worship points for you, buddy (and partial points for your imaginary pals-Levon, Daniel, etc.).
Americans haven't had a truly noxious grumpy old celeb since Sean Penn popped up at the Oscars this year. In the interest of your own value, we strongly support your right to grumpiness, Sir. So go ahead and purse your lips like Popeye. Throw a tantrum within eyeshot of the media. Marry a woman.
What, you don't lip-sync and Lindsay Lohan does? So what. She's got a great ponytail, some big, bouncy assets and gives us a solid nightclub drama once a week. Our aesthetic purism has been replaced by prosthetic voyeurism. We're a problem you're going to be dealing with long after you finish bitching about Bernie Taupin.
I'm sure it was all cake and cookies when Songs from the West Coast caused such a critical jackoff at Rolling Stone, and hope-filled Eltonites were hailing a late-career renaissance. But now it's 2005. Peachtree Road is already a year old and things are awfully quiet around the ranch. Overproduction caught you by the piggies and dragged you back to your bubbling vat of kitsch.
You should have tossed your sham into the Thames in the '70s and listened to Lester Bangs: “Grossness is the truest criterion for rock 'n' roll, the cruder the clang and grind the more fun and longer listened-to the album would be.”
We don't want your flashbulb glamour-puss; we want your drama machine. Sure, we still listen to Yellow Brick Road. Of course, you know that, because you collect the royalty checks every month. But if you don't pump up the controversy, it's Barry Manilow-ville for you.
So if you can stay grumpy and insulting, persnickety and hurtful, drunken and disorderly, enraged and irreverent, irritable and irrational-we would really appreciate it.
Truthfully, it just makes “Candle in the Wind” bearable.
Elton John plays at Cox Arena, 8 p.m. on May 6. The show is sold out.