Song of the Day #1,930: ‘Tripwire’ – Elvis Costello and The Roots

wise_up_ghost_costello_rootsIf Elvis Costello didn’t have such a wide-ranging, eclectic career, his teaming up with The Roots might come as a left-field surprise.

While I can’t say that I would have predicted this match-up, it certainly doesn’t fall outside the range of things Costello might do. If his next release includes a duet with Alison Gold of ‘Chinese Food’ fame, I’ll nod and think “yeah, that makes some sense.”

I haven’t heard Wise Up Ghost enough yet to fully articulate my reaction to it. I already know that it sounds great, and that ?uestlove and the rest of The Roots have provided the funkiest backing music of Costello’s 36-year recording career.

Many of these songs are reworked versions of previous Costello tracks, with the twisting of ‘Pills and Soap’ into ‘Stick Out Your Tongue’ the most noteworthy example. Mighty Like a Rose track ‘Invasion Hit Parade’ is improved here as the jazz-crunk ‘Refuse to Be Saved.’

Other lyrical and musical samples from Costello’s discography abound, including a sample of Spike‘s ‘Satellite’ on today’s SOTD, ‘Tripwire,’ the album’s silkiest tune.

Just because you don’t speak the language
Doesn’t mean that you can’t understand
Just because you don’t speak the language
Doesn’t mean that you can’t understand
The twist in the script of the insult
Scrawled on the back of your hand

Torn from the pages of scripture
Sprayed on the wall in the frays of a flag
Kisses forbidden on lips
And all of your fine clothes worn into rags

Tripwire, tripwire, tripwire, tripwire
There’s a tripwire
Tripwire, tripwire, tripwire

Don’t open the door ‘cos they’re coming
Don’t open the door ‘cos they’re here
Above there’s an ominous humming
Below there’s a murmur of prayer

Torn from the pages of scandal
Sprayed on a wall in the frays of the flag
Kisses forbidden on lips
and all of your fine clothes blown into rags

Tripwire, tripwire, tripwire, tripwire
There’s a tripwire
Tripwire, tripwire, tripwire

There’s a cross in the line there’s a circus
There’s a voice that you might overhear
There’s a lens making the picture perfect
They say you have nothing to fear

Torn from the pages of pamphlets
Thrown in the air like confetti in church
Far, far away there’s a target
and the sound of an army just starting to march

Tripwire, tripwire, tripwire, tripwire
There’s a tripwire
Tripwire, tripwire, tripwire

Just because I don’t read the language
Doesn’t mean that I’m blind to the threat
Though I thought there was more to forgiveness
Than all we conveniently forget

Torn from the pages of history
Repeated again and again and again
You’re either for or against us
and that is how the hatred begins

Tripwire, tripwire, tripwire, tripwire
There’s a tripwire
Tripwire, tripwire, tripwire


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One thought on “Song of the Day #1,930: ‘Tripwire’ – Elvis Costello and The Roots

  1. Dana says:

    I didn’t realize this album had been released. I must download ASAP!

    I am intrigued by the matchup with the Roots and am further intrigued by the sampling of his previous songs.

    Meanwhile, what exactly is he singing about in this song? Terrorism? Prejudice against Muslims?

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