Thursday, September 29, 2011

30 in 30, 9/30/11 - "Lipstick Vogue", Elvis Costello

Elvis was my biggest love for a long, long time. First heard the second album around 1978 (it includes this song) and then just kept going. There was a time when I would have called him my favorite songwriter/performer/musician/Whatever. I still don't think there's any songwriter working in English who is better than he; certainly there are some folks out there who are just as good, though.

Now, as I am committed to deeply exploring country music, the influence that country music had on Elvis becomes far clearer to me. I still love him, but he's taken something of a back seat for awhile as I learn about artists I've missed out on, everybody from Waylon Jennings to Lefty Frizell to Gram Parsons to Vern Gosdin.

But Jesus he can do anything, Elvis (and if you've watched his TV show you will also know that his knowledge of ALL music is Beyond Encyclopedic) - among other things, he has a straight up country album, one of Sinatra-esque ballads, one with a string quartet, one with Burt Bacharach NOT TO MENTION all of his rock and roll albums, and a little masterpiece called King of America. (For the record, my absolute favorite is Get Happy.)

I chose Lipstick Vogue because I knew of this song when I was 15 and idly wrote those two words down on a Peechee and my mother demanded to know what that could possibly mean (she was not happy - I might also add she and I have still not had our birds and bees chat; I can't help but think that is related to her obvious fear of those two words in combination). Anyway, this live version has all the energy that he brought with him when he first came to our/my attention.

More info because why not finish 30 in 30 with a bang: swear to God this is true - Declan McManus became SUCH a huge part of my life that, anytime anybody mentioned Elvis, I always thought of Costello first, even when, in retrospect, it was clear they were talking about Presley and I was just being dense (with no disrespect intended to Elvis Aaron, I do like him, especially all that really early stuff)...

(This also happens to me on the CNN sports page, by the way, or on ESPN anytime there's a headline about a certain golfer, and they only use his first name, and it'll be December, maybe, and I'll not immediately comprehend why there's a headline-worthy story about that baseball team from Detroit that I love so much (and I mean this happens OVER and OVER again). Plus I really don't give a shit about golf or Mr. Woods, so there's that.)

Lipstick Vogue...


1 comment:

  1. Well you'll obviously get no argument from me about EC. Watching this, I'm reminded of just how amazing The Attractions were pretty much right out of the gate.

    Bruce Thomas may have been insufferable asshole, but he was the first of the truly great bass players that came out of the punk/new wave years (prior to punk, ska & post-punk, you pretty much had John Entwhistle and [urp] Chris Squire). And Pete Thomas & Steve Nieve...well, you know.

    "Sometimes I almost feel/just like a human being
    "Sometimes I think of love as just a tumour/ you've got to cut it out"

    How many songwriters would love to have two lines that good on one album, let alone one song? And how many performers have put out a 2nd album that dwarfs their 1st?