Saturday, February 6, 2016

Track Of The Week: Elvis Costello "Man Out Of Time"

It's February, the most miserable month of the year.  I am currently listening to the Republican presidential debate, which is making me even more miserable.  However, both the month and the debate have given me inspiration for my track of the week.

Some albums are season-coded in my mind, and seem to fit best with certain times of year.  For whatever reason, I associate Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom record with February.  It might be that I first heard it in the winter, and thus the songs were burned into my mind with associations with slushy sidewalks and grey skies.  It also has a kind of cold classicism in it, especially in Steve Nieve's elegant piano playing, which is prominently featured.  It's also a sign that Costello had stretched out from his nervy New Wave beginnings into something very different.  It's an album I really love, but it also marks the end of his stunning six album run from 1977-1982 (I don't include Almost Blue, since it's really more of a side project/novelty album.)

"Man Out Of Time" is a song about a vulgar yet powerful man, and as such reminds me of so many of the clowns I see before me on the Republican debate stage tonight.  I can't hear the lines "He's got a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge/ He stands to be insulted and he pays for the privilege" anymore without thinking of Donald Trump.  I could apply that to a lot of the other fools sharing the stage with him.  The song is about the disgust one feels in encountering a person with a lot of wealth and prestige who is a complete piece of shit. Bourbon and this song are two of the few things capable of getting me through this debate, where multiple of these specimens are on display.

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