He’s old and haggard
Posts Tagged: Elvis Costello
The disruptive force of romance
a good week to discover tons of new bands!
Biographies are crazy things.
He morphed into Elvis the Pelvis
One lucky fella
He needs the money
I still love that verse he cut
my current favorite is the Loretta meets Costello song on her newbie
You come out considering the man less gnomic and more borderline autistic
Costello is known for posting unfavorable reviews so this hasn’t really gone to my head
I don’t know when I’ve resented a rock star more.
My ultimate take away is in his songwriting, as in this book, Costello doesn’t have the self-discipline to harness his enormous talents into consistent greatness
He is still a chatty, sincerely, crooked guy. He still doesn’t know when to shut up or when to talk, still is always in service to his hybrid version of pop superstardom, still talking when he should listen, still unwilling to take that chewing gum out of his ear.
There is truly no one in the world more ambivalent about Elvis Costello than I am. In 1977, I officially switched boy crushes from David Bowie to Elvis and from 1977 till 1982, he could do no wrong. And then from 1893 till 1986 he could do some wrong and some very right.
Elvis Costello was asked to choose his life in 10 songs. Of the ten songs, seven of them were from 1975 to 1986, and the other two from 1987 – 2015. This is pretty strange from a man so obsessed with being contemporary. A man whose last album was written with the Roots. What gives?
The worst sort of songwriting is the one where songwriter’s believe they are writing “important” songerly songs, as though their mere presence adds depth where none exists. The new (old) Kris, Rosanne and Costello “April 5th” is insufferable, smug and plain bad news. Elvis is on Colbert on Monday with Darlene Love on Monday.
A purely excellent two and a half hour set. I always write exactly what I believe and I have ragged on Costello for a couple of years now, but credit where it is due. He reformed the Attractions (c’mon, that’s what he REALLY did) and played an Attractions set. Just like that. And he was so good he made iffy songs sound like masterpieces.
Not unlike Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, U2 and the Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello is a white rock and roll superstar who has lost the knack and can only very occasionally write a killer song. Of course, occasionally isn’t never, and since I have a working knowledge of, well, everything he has ever written, I thought I’d try and find some of the better tracks you may have missed. In order of release (more or less). I passed on the opera and I passed on great great covers album called For The Stars.
So not the longest story ever told by any stretch of the imagination and what is strange is the man is a gasbag and so you’d expect him to tell the story long and hard. I remember seeing him at the “Spectacle” gig years ago and he kept on stepping all over his guests line…
Why was Costello the great rock and roll savior? I might claim he was my savior because he was the first rock start to look like me but he didn’t really, he was better looking than me in 77 and he is fatter than me in 09. And his love life wasn’t mine -he may have been getting fucked over but he was getting fucked anyway unlike, well, certain unfortunate 18 year olds.
I wrote this Elvis Costello overview back in 1982 for a Creem “New Wave” special. Kinda funnily, I claimed I’d always put Get Happy!! in the center of his career. Which, considering this was some six years into a career still going nearly 40 years later, has proven inaccurate. Though it is still my finest EC moment
Sure, songs remind you of times and places but does it remind you of some girls. For me I tend to let the girl dictate to me the song and I don’t mean our song, she might not even know it is our song, but somethings a song and a girl will come together…. Here is five such times.
Here is a story I wrote after watching Costello go on and on and on at a taping of his actually excellent when you see the finished product “Spectacle” talk show way back in 2009. Needless to add, Costello fans didn’t like it.
Why is Costello opening for Steely Dan on what is a really pretty big tour? What sense does that mean. To be fair, Costello has played a whole lot over the past two years, you can’t throw a brick without seeing him and I personally have seen him something like five times since he opened for the Who at a charity gig a coupla years ago.
If “We Can Be Together” sounded like a good trip (man, that Grace Slick can sing, how did you lose her cool?) it wasn’t, it was based on Black Panther’s war cry, “Up against the, motherfucker”) and from there it blows blues hot (try a terrific “Wooden Ships” and folk cool. Add on top two of the best songs, the title track and “Somebody To Love” and you have a career peak.
‘Florida Key’ is one of these tracks, and it seems to me that the project is part too-ambitious, part already-doomed … how can you possibly adapt a lost, abandoned Dylan song? isn’t Dylan totally untouchable? absolutely iconic?
As Costello notes on one of these songs, poverty is a different sort of enlistment but anyhow, three songs about war and all A Plusses
Costello sounding much like he did with the Roots nevertheless comes up with a nice bluesy low key very rhythmic take that works for me, Rihannon Giddens, of Carolina Chocolate Drops,sings back up. And it took me back to “Nothing to It”and it is better than I thought it was.
“Age of Consent,” New Order. Three years after permanent mope Ian Curtis offed himself, New Order effectively established a new post punk sound, sounding a bit like a less attention needy version of the The Cure. An unexpected entry on your “Songs About Jailbait” playlist.
Point of No Return – Gene McDaniels – the early 60s pop star made a sweet, masterful samba out of a little know Goffin-King new romance ode, you just can’t get out of its way, a gorgeous romantic work – A
“Oh I know that she has made a fool of him” Costello sings in “No Dancing”, “Hey girl I wanna shake your hand, all I ever do is bow”, “I wanna get right through the way I feel for you”, “I can’t be wounded because I’ve got no heart”, “they told me everything was guaranteed, somebody somewhere must have lied to me”, “if I was a Saint with a silver cup…” , “I can hear you whispering as I crawl by your door”… it is like every line goes bing in the back of your pain valve.
Elvis Costello – Carnegie Hall – June 25th, 2014 – The second of a two night stand but this is the one to have watched. A solo performance, started with half of My Aim Is True, ended with a brand new song, a good one, and “Peace Love And Understanding” and in between he spend two and half hours wandering round his future history with unvarying, unwavering and very thrilling results
Do You – Spoon – Here is a song even Spoon agnostics but unequivocally approve of, a sticky, handclapping, nonsense syllabicating masterstroke, which I noticed when I caught em at Governors Ball and am now insane about – A
Yes, the US lost against Germany in the World Cup, but they still made the next round and considering the Germans had control of the ball an astonishing 70% of the time and only managed one goal, this is something in the nature of a miracle and the miracle has a name: Tim Howard., US Goalie. By the time you read this, they may be out but it doesn’t matter any way, Tim did well.
It is a real achievement, performing solo and invitingly and interesting so the audience isn’t dozing, for 165 minutes. The penultimate song of the evening found him strapping on his electric song for the first time all night for the new and excellent “The Last Days Of My Youth”. Perhaps it is, or perhaps he will never grow old.
“Alison,” Elvis Costello. Declan MacManus delivered a debut album that couldn’t be ignored; pairing pub rock licks with punk rock attitude and the wordplay/songwriting skills of a learned veteran, not a rookie that had just quit his day job. On “Alison,” he stumbles across an old flame that is drowning in unsalvageable sorrow
I Could Easily (Fall In Love With You) – Cliff Richard And The Shadows – On Saturday, Cliff mentioned recording in Nashville and you might wonder how he would do with country, this is a modified country (not even rockabilly lick) drenched in melodic goodness – A
I can’t predict this one though Elvis Costello, one man show, Carnegie Hall, you have to assume he is gonna bring out the heavy arsenal, though when I saw him a coupla years ago doing a coupla songs solo I thought he wasn’t happening. And that entire the Roots deal was a major bummer. So I dunno, Helen bach liked him so… I guess we will see Wednesday!
Tokyo Storm Warning – Elvis Costello And The Attractions – An astounding achievement, the words pull on and out and on and on till he has a dream of that revolver in her pure and but what dow e care of the world is just a joke? Now they’re hanging protest singers – A+
For the first time in decades, Costello caught my mood, the sense of time passing by and of ends arriving and yes he over sings it and over writes the lyrics but I don’t care: it reminds me of a pop version of Kings Of America. In its own way it is a straight up masterpiece
Hong Kong Gardens – Siouxsie And The Banshees – The purely disparaging colors Siouxsie is painted in Moz’s autobiography at least leaves some musical room to maneuver. Well, I’ll give her this one – A-
Wonder how he got to Carnegie Hall anyway… practice practice practice. A two night stand June 24 and June 25, catch it if you haven’t already tired of this ‘solo’ tour.
The songs I am working on with Burt Bacharach are not being prepared for recording. Initially they are being prepared for performance on stage and for a musical.
Bloody Burnett. I am so tired of this guy, there isn’t a thing he does I approve of any more. I blame the Coen Brothers, it all delves from the O Brother Where Art Thou, where he took Harry Smith’s work and put his name on it.
Roving Eye – James Chance – Not only does Chance blow like a dream that is emerging out of a nightmare, he sings like a white boy coked out yelping twitching basket case channeling James Brown in the best way and this is a Ze Records peak from the early years.
It Takes A Woman – Walter Matthau – Jokey sexism turned on its tail with growly jowly and curt Walter claiming you need a woman to help clean the stables and shoe the horse, that all romantic. “The important things in life come gift wrapped” he tells his prospective fiancee… hard to disagree right? – B+
The original version of ‘She Used To Love Me A Lot”, chock full of slide guitar and pluckin’, with a two step sawdust floor back beat. Not a bad thing- it fits just right- but with the help of Mr Costello, this ’80s rarity gets the thump and momentum of a 2014 anthem.
The tune tells the story of how Cookie Monster eats Costello’s red 2, thus making it impossible for him to count to ten. Set to the tune of “(The Angels Want To Wear My) Red Shoes”, its a perfect pairing for an adorable video.