Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Kids Have Taken Over the Classroom. Pt. 1

Things are getting really crazy here, so rather than abandon you for a week, I've lined up some great guestbloggers for you. The first is one of the many people I've come into correspondence with courtesy of this blog, the wonderful Gretchen, who lives in Chicago, and has submitted some stuff thats gotten posted by me in the past. She has great taste, and I suspect you'll like her picks.

And I Know That This Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Me...

I've never done this, so I'm not sure why Keith asked me to do it. My positive musical criticism usually consists of "No, this song is amazing! Listen! Seriously, this one part, voom." So forgive me my writing. And I've been on an Elvis kick lately, so you're getting two Elvis tracks that you possibly might not have heard, but can always stand to be heard again.

Elvis Costello - I Hope You're Happy Now (Acoustic) "I Hope You're Happy Now" is one of my favorite Elvis songs. It's so loud and bouncy, and above all, angry and bitter. Something Elvis excels at, and I appreciate him for. This version is just him and his acoustic guitar, which doesn't allow anything to be hidden. With the original version (on Blood and Chocolate), you can play it anywhere and people will bop around without really listening. In this, you hear every single word and cannot deny anything. It has possibly the meanest line I've ever heard in a song, "I knew then what I know now / I never loved you anyhow." But you know full well that he did, otherwise he wouldn't be writing the song. And you know you've done the same thing.

[Buy Blood & Chocolate - the Expanded Reissue - from Insound.com]

Elvis Costello & the Brodsky Quartet - I Almost Had a Weakness Even a lot of Elvis fans don't seem to know about The Juliet Letters. The entire album is gorgeous; I'm particularly fond of "Taking My Life in Your Hands" and "This Offer is Unrepeatable." With just the strings backing him, Elvis's voice is really allowed to shine, and no one can deny what an amazing voice he really does have. Each song is built as a letter, to lovers, strangers, parents, or anyone who will listen. "I Almost Had a Weakness" is Elvis as a rich old woman, letting the gold diggers in her family know that she sees right through them. When listening to it I can't help but conjure images of crazy, old, rich people in the 1900's, insulting each other in the manner of Oscar Wilde with a couple of drinks in him. The pure vitriol when he spits out "and you little swines will get nothing" is enough to make me smile in even my worst moods.

[Buy The Juliet Letters from Amazon.com! - it's only $3.50 for fucks sake!]

6 Comments:

At 12/08/2004 06:38:00 AM, Blogger brendan said...

Great picks, Gretchen. I hadn't heard that solo version of 'Happy' before, but I remember seeing EC do it onstage with the Attractions a couple of years before B&C came out. He introduced the song as "a bit of mindless spite". Well, it's not mindless, anyway... classic bit of Costello invective tho, and even more effective done solo as you say. Nick Lowe once said that the most uncomfortable experience he'd ever had was sitting in a room with EC and a guitar, listening to Costello play his tunes - very upfront and confrontational.

You're right about The Julet Letters too - it seems lost on a lot of Costello fans, though people who've never heard of EC or know little about popular music love that record. I first heard about it from my mum!

 
At 12/08/2004 02:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linus here, posting with no Blogger account. The Juliet Letters is a wonderful record, one that pretty much cemented Elvis as Elvis, to my mind: he went from the obscure punky in-your-face wordsmith to sudden acceptance round about Imperial Bedroom, and then in his hand-biting way set about undermining himself once again (as if Almost Blue, the country album, wasn't enough). By the time JL came out the hardcore Costellans were ready to go just about wherever he would lead, and the rest of the world was ready to shrug and turn away whenever he strayed. And so stray he did.

I saw the JL tour at a hall in Berlin in '92 or '93; it was a real delight. Packed full of strange and eccentric songs.

 
At 12/09/2004 03:46:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

A looong time ago, I wrote a piece detailing my favorite EC insults (http://www.popcultmag.com/criticalmass/music/costello/costello1.html), including JL's "You're a swine, and I'm saying that's an insult to the pig!"

 
At 10/02/2005 12:12:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Very nice blog, hard to come by these days,

If you have a chance, can you visit my how to play guitar site

It has all guitar related stuff.

Thanks

 
At 10/02/2005 01:18:00 AM, Blogger tweedledeetweedledum said...

This blog is awesome! If you get a chance you may want to visit this software downloads site, it's pretty awesome too!

 
At 4/04/2006 06:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site
site

 

Post a Comment

<< Home