So why am I still an Elvis Costello fan, thirty-seven years after that fateful day when I first heard This Year's Model? (I still owe you, Craig.)
Because I'm a lyrics girl -- and this guy's lyrics still wriggle inside my brain pan as few others do.
Puns? yeah, he's a punster supreme. But it's more than puns; it's nuance, and allusiveness, and a novelist's nose for character conflict. Every one of these tracks is a finely tuned short story, for those of us willing to devote a morsel of imagination to filling in the blanks.
Oh, and yeah, he gets a pretty solid musical groove on too.
So here are the lyrics; click on links to see previous posts about these songs. (I TOLD you this guy runs deep with me.) And if you're curious, I'm sure there are YouTube videos of all of these. C'mon, peeps, do I have to do all the work?
And though the passion still flutters and flickers, it never got into our knickers – "Just About Glad" (Brutal Youth 1994)
Don’t get smart or sarcastic He snaps back just like elastic Spare us the theatrics and the verbal gymnastics We break wise guys just like matchsticks. – "The Loved Ones" (Imperial Bedroom 1982)
I wish that I could push a button and talk in the past and not the present tense And watch this hurting feeling disappear like it was common sense. – "Brilliant Mistake" (King of America 1985)
You either shut up or get cut out, they don’t want to hear about it, it’s only inches on the reel to reel, and radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools trying to anaesthetize the way that you feel – "Radio, Radio" (This Year’s Model 1978)
Why do you talk such stupid nonsense, when my mind could rest much easier? Instead of all this dumb dumb insolence I would be happier with amnesia – "Riot Act" (Get Happy! 1980)
Let me get this straight -- Did I hallucinate this fine and helpless feeling? – "When Did I Stop Dreaming" (North 2003)
I was down upon one knee, stroking her vanity -- "Big Boys" (Armed Forces 1979)
I woke up and one of us was crying. – "I Want You" (Blood & Chocolate 1986)Just look at me, I’m having the time of my life, or something quite like it. – "London’s Brilliant Parade" (Brutal Youth 1994)
Charged with insults and flattery Her body moves with malice Do you have to be so cruel to be callous? "Beyond Belief" (Imperial Bedroom 1982)
So you knock the kids about a bit because they’ve got your name -- "Little Palaces" (King of America 1985)
I can’t stand it when it goes to reel to reel, too real too real, I can’t stand when I get those punch lines you can feel – "B Movie " (Get Happy! 1980)
In a perfect world where everyone was equal, I’d still own the film rights and be working on a sequel – "Every Day I Write the Book" (Punch the Clock 1983)
Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone. – "Accidents Will Happen" (Armed Forces 1979)
I’ll build a bonfire of my dreams and burn a broken effigy of me and you -- "Indoor Fireworks" (King of America 1985)
I’m in a foxhole, I’m down in the trench, I’d be a hero but I can’t stand the stench – "Opportunity" (Get Happy! 1980)I want to chop off your head and watch it roll into a basket. – "Senior Service" (Armed Forces 1979)
I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody, I only know it isn’t mine – "Alison" (My Aim Is True 1977)
And you know what I do, when the light outside changes from red to blue – "Motel Matches" (Get Happy! 1980)
She’s filing her nails while they’re dragging the lake – "Watching the Detectives" (My Aim Is True 1977)
But it’s easier to say “I love you,” than “yours sincerely,” I suppose -- "Big Sister’s Clothes" (Trust 1981)
Sometimes I think that love is just a tumor, you’ve got to cut it out – "Lipstick Vogue" (This Year’s Model 1978)\
AND THE ULTIMATE ELVIS COSTELLO LYRIC IN MY HEAD:
I don’t wanna be your lover, I just want to be your victim – "The Beat" (This Year’s Model 1978)