Song of the Day #864: ‘From a Whisper to a Scream’ – Elvis Costello

It’s tough deciding which Trust track to highlight next. They’re all so good, and good in such different ways.

Do I go for the soulful ‘Watch Your Step,’ which feels like the older brother of Get Happy!!‘s ‘Secondary Modern’? The frantic drum and piano jam ‘Lovers Walk’? Closing track ‘Big Sister’s Clothes,’ which sounds to me like a perfect pop song being transmitted through outer space?

I could go with any of those, and a few others besides.

I’ve chosen to highlight the rocker ‘From a Whisper to a Scream’ so that I can throw in a plug for Squeeze, whose Glenn Tilbrook joins Costello on lead vocals.

Costello produced the wonderful Squeeze album East Side Story, which came out just a few months after Trust and he can be heard singing a couple of lines in that album’s classic ‘Tempted.’

Tilbrook splits time with Elvis on this track and reminds us that he’s one of the finest pop singers in the business. I probably should have included him in my countdown, now that I think about it.

This is one of the easiest Trust songs to figure out lyrically. In a nutshell, it’s about drinking and screwing around. As for the last line (which Ned referenced a couple of weeks back), “one over the eight” is apparently a reference to a pint — as in a pint of beer.

Oh it’s not easy to resist temptation
Walking around looking like a figment of somebody else’s imagination
Taking every word she says just like an open invitation
But the power of persuasion is no match for anticipation

Like a finger running down a seam
From a whisper to a scream

So I whisper and I scream
But don’t get me wrong
Please don’t leave me waitin’ too long
Waitin’ too long
Waitin’ too long
Waitin’ too long
Hey
Oh oh oh oh oh

Oh if the customers like it then they’ll keep on paying
If they keep on drinking then they’ll end up staying
I heard someone say where have we met before
But the one over the eight seem less like one or more like four

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #864: ‘From a Whisper to a Scream’ – Elvis Costello

  1. Ned says:

    Great song — Glenn Tilbrook is fantastic here too. Squeeze’s East Side Story is kickass, and Elvis returns the favor nicely on ‘Tempted’.

    Random fact about Trust — another favorite song of this crowd, the brilliant New Lace Sleeves, was written by Elvis when he was 19. 19! What were you doing at 19?

    Anyway, another great choice, Clay.

  2. Amy says:

    What am I missing? Where is the song?

  3. Clay says:

    Oh, just a minor oversight. 🙂 It’s there now.

  4. Dana says:

    Wow, he wrote “New Lace Sleeves” at 19? Good lord! I give up, I give up!

    Anyway, this SOTD is a great one to feature from Trust, and, yes, Tilbrook, deserves consideration as one of the finest, distinct voices in rock.

    I suppose if one were to criticize something about many of EC’s songs, it might be that they lack a fun party spirit. Now, since I could care less about parties or party music, this is actually more a compliment than a criticism to me. However, today’s SOTD might stand out as one of a handful of songs that just seemed unabashedly fun to write, and record. And if this is the kind of music playing at a party, then I’ll be more than happy to attend. Hell, I might even dance!

  5. Amy says:

    I’ll go to that party 🙂

    As for the fact that Costello wrote such a great song at 19… I’m honestly not all that surprised. I find it far more fascinating when a genius doesn’t produce his great work (book, song, painting) until later in his life, as it seems far more common for such genius to show itself early.

  6. pegclifton says:

    I believe Mozart was 5 when he composed his first piece.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.