Thursday, July 02, 2015

music music # 12

Meta-musicians par excellence - Elvis Costello and Paddy McAloon

Elvis is always complaining

"take that chewing gum out of your ears"

"the dancing was desperate, the music was worse"

and from the same, awful album

"Her transistor offers no salvation or regrets
No pool, no pets, no cigarettes
Just non-stop Disco Tex and the Sex-o-lettes"

There's no name, no name for the place
Or pain we'll cause you again and again
If you do not cooperate with the Invasion Hit Parade

"listening to the sad song that the radio plays / have we come this fa-fa-fa to find a soul cliche?"

This was about the soul 'n' passion thing in the U.K. in the early Eighties, and specifically Dexy's Midnight Runners -  

From a great interview by Barney Hoskyns from the time: 

EC - ""I think perhaps when I wrote it I was asking myself the question. You know, is that all there is? Is there nothing more from within than just saying there's stuff from within? Is it enough to say 'I'm a soul man', without being one? "I always suspected songs that spoke about how much you spoke. I love a lot of Graham Parker's stuff, but there was one song I could never abide called 'Pouring It All Out', because it was a whole song about how much he was going to tell you. I'd much rather he'd just told me. And that's my bone of contention with Kevin Rowland, that he spends his time saying 'I'm gonna tell you, I'm gonna tell you, I'm gonna tell you', but what does he tell you? At the same time, I like a lot of the mannerisms he uses."

Good points Elv, but then again isn't it even more emptily meta to write songs critiquing meta-soul, or commenting on trends within music?

(Does remind me that could probably do a whole Music Music" post just on Kevin Rowland)

Paddy is less bitter, more wry

Apparently aimed at Bruce Springsteen and his ilk - and seems to be based on a reductive misunderstanding of Springsteen, if that is the case.  "Some things hurt much more than cars and girls"... Cars, agreed, but girls?  They are right up there in the category of things that  can cause hurt, as far as pop music subject matter, I'd have thought.

Never liked that song and the album it's from was most disappointing after Steve McQueen.

Concept song-suite about Abba - more info here. My second favorite bit on the album, behind the concept song about Jenny Agutter.

One of a bunch of songs on Jordan: The Comeback about Elvis P. Yawn.

"any music worth its salt is good for dancing". "I'd rather be the Fred Astaire of words",   Cute.

What have I missed? Dozens I'm sure. Wasn't he once going to do a concept album about Michael Jackson?