Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Flutter and Wow" / Elvis Costello & the Imposters

Damn, but I love it when Elvis goes soulful on us. This track off his latest, Momofuku, lounges and strolls along with bone-deep syncopation, and his passionate vibrato yelps and shivers all over the place. It almost doesn't matter what he's testifying about, does it?

The gospel that Elvis is preaching here, though, is love sweet love, and that makes it even more delicious. Between that hip-shifting rhythm and the propulsive honky-tonk piano, it's a seductively physical number, just like the earthshaking attraction that he's describing. Forget the trademark Costello hostility; this is rhapsodic, romantic, and very very sexy.

As the chorus puts it, so caressingly: "I can't believe that / This is happening / You make the motor in me / Flutter and wow." That's a metaphor that really works for me.

He does set it up as a dramatic scene, a twilight moment when he's first dumbstruck by this physical attraction, but it isn't exactly a short story. Well, except for one lovely cinematic instant: "My voice got stuck in my throat / Pulled my hand up into the sleeve of my coat / So you'd never know how it was shakin'." The vulnerability of that is rare indeed for Elvis, and I love him for it.

Then he scats around a bit, while bassist Davey Faragher and guitarist David Hidalgo croon in the background (I do love the Imposters). "You make the motor in me / Flutter and wow / Flutter, and how / Flutter and wow / Flutterin' now..." It does my heart good to hear Elvis this loose and joyful. I could listen to this song all night. In fact I probably will.

Flutter and Wow sample

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