When he performed "Ticking" at the Christenhof Castle, Sweden, on his 2003 tour, Elton introduced the song saying it dealt with violence in America around 1973; when Bernie wrote the lyrics we thought things would get better not worse, things have got worse, so it's more relevant today than ever, and at the end, he said simply "No guns." The song though makes a statement not only about American society but about society worldwide, and about human nature. In spite of the problems Mankind faces in the 21st Century, most people, certainly in the West, in Japan, and other advanced nations, have never had it so good. Yet the problems of survival, and eking out a mere existence have been replaced by increasing psychological and social problems. Indiscriminate knifings, shootings and even mass murders by outwardly sane and rational people are often triggered by the most trivial of stimulae such as an angry glance or being "dissed" in some abstruse manner. No one knows who is ticking, and will explode suddenly and without notice.
A true masterpiece, running to 7 minutes, 28 seconds, this was and remains one of Elton's most under-rated as well as one of his most powerful songs.