Song of the Day, June 26: The Long Honeymoon by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Today’s song is The Long Honeymoon by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It’s another magnificent song from their brilliant 1982 album Imperial Bedroom. Demonstrating the lyrical and musical complexity of the album, the song is clever, quirky, and tragic. It tells the tale of a relatively new marriage already on the skids.

Little things just seem to undermine her confidence in him
He was late this time last week
Who can she turn to when the chance of coincidence is slim
‘Cause the baby isn’t old enough to speak

There’s been a long honeymoon
She thought too late and spoke too soon
There’s no money back guarantee on future happiness

Enjoy this powerful song today.

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Song of the Day, May 6: The Birds Will Still Be Singing by Norma Waterson

Today’s song is The Birds Will Still Be Singing by Norma Waterson. It’s another stunning track from her first, eponymous solo album. Demonstrating her ability to pick the perfect song to cover, she took this one from Elvis Costello. It was originally included in his collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet, The Juliet Letters. All the songs for that album were written as imaginary letters to Juliet Capulet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. A sorrowful meditation on loss and death, this track is a perfect match for Norma’s voice and delivery.

Banish all dismay
Extinguish every sorrow
If I’m lost or I’m forgiven
The birds will still be singing

Enjoy this amazing song today.

Song of the Day, January 10: Battered Old Bird by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Today’s song is Battered Old Bird by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Taken from his amazing 1986 album Blood & Chocolate, this is one of Costello’s more complex narrative songs. Describing the strange charcters inhabiting a boarding house and its neighbors, the song sets a disturbing but very realistic tone. Costello is in fine voice as he whispers, sings, bellows, and hints through each vignette. Enjoy this wonderful song by a master of lyric today.

Song of the Day, November 19: Beyond Belief by Elvis Costello

Today’s song is Beyond Belief by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Costello has recorded a number of great albums throughout his long and varied career; my favorite is definitely 1982’s Imperial Bedroom, home to this great song. The album is a wide-ranging mix of styles and tempos reflecting Costello’s broad interest in music from Tin Pan Alley to punk. In lesser hands, it might have been an aimless mess. Costello, working with a very sympathetic producer in Geoff Emerick, weaves all the strands together into a cohesive, astonishing whole. Naturally, the unifying thread is his unerring sense of lyric; these are 15 of his best-written songs.

Beyond Belief is a perfect distillation of the album. With a steady rhythm section that would have been at home on This Year’s Model, the band creates a shifting sonic landscape of brittle beauty. Costello recites the lyrics in short, riddle-like bursts with varied pacing and tone, displaying the breadth of his range as a singer. Put together, it’s a wonderful picture of romantic tension and the perils of jealousy. Clocking in at under three minutes, this is one of Costello’s most perfect packages of music and meaning. Enjoy this brilliant, multi-layered song today.

Song of the Day, August 25: (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes by Elvis Costello

Today’s song is (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes by Elvis Costello. This brilliant song is from his amazing debut album My Aim Is True, one of the strongest debut albums of all time. This strong collection boasts 13 tracks without a pause in the stream of astonishing energy and launched the first phase of Costello’s career as an angry young man. Even with the length and diversity of his career since then, this stands up as one of his very finest recordings. Red Shoes is the standout track, opening with one of Costello’s finest lines:

Oh I used to be disgusted
But now I try to be amused

Enjoy this early televised version of the song and wish our Elvis a hapy 57th birthday today.

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