Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Have you heard: Elvis Costello & The Attractions

I got an email last week about an upcoming Elvis Costello concert here in PTown. I've never really gotten in to Elvis Costello, like ever before. Frankly, I didn't see what all of the fuss was about. In trying to decide if I wanted to attend said show, I went to Lucille 2 and searched for the Elvis Costello songs I already have. Songs like "Alison," "Watching the Detectives," "Radio Radio," and a few truly mediocre covers. None of which I find outstanding. (I really like the organ on "Radio Radio" though.)

But then, I had a song called "Pump It Up," I have no idea where it (or any of these other songs really) came from, (maybe my brother?) but it's been on Lucille 2 for as long as I've had it...years.

I feel like I need to do some more research on old Declan MacManus and find out if there are more ditties that I would love as much as I love "Pump it Up." Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Brian said...

I am a massive, massive Elvis Costello fan. His first three albums with the Attractions (This Years Model - 1978, Armed Forces - 1979, Get Happy!! - 1980) constitute one of the best runs of consecutive albums in rock history. I would highly recommend the aforementioned three albums in their entirety, as well as Imperial Bedroom and My Aim is True.

Elvis is frequently regarded as the greatest wordsmith in rock, which is very hard to dismiss. There are some songs I've literally heard dozens of times where I'll suddenly realize there was some buried metaphor or some super-sly bit of wordplay that I had never picked up on. He is responsible for my favorite rock lyric ever (from the song "Riot Act"):

Don't put your heart out on your sleeve when your remarks are off the cuff.

If Elvis had stopped making records around 1983, he would have left behind a pretty impeccable legacy, but he is just so prolific and goes off in so many bizarre directions (a country covers collection, a song cycle for string quartet based on hypothetical letters from a professor in Verona to Juliet Capulet, a ballet called 'Il Sogno' based upon A Midsummer Night's Dream) that he continually dilutes his reputation and makes it very difficult for newcomers to find an entry point into his catalogue.

I have made "Elvis Costello for Beginners" mixes before, and I can make you one if you would like.