Song of the Day #1,023: ‘Everyday I Write the Book’ – Ron Sexsmith & Elvis Costello

The Elvis Costello Weekends have ended, but I’m asking Mr. Costello’s help in introducing his successor. Ladies and gentlemen, the series nobody saw coming: Ron Sexsmith Weekends.

Why, you ask, on the heels of weekends dedicated to such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, The Beatles and all of Motown, would I choose to shift my focus to a little-known Canadian singer-songwriter?

For a couple of reasons.

First, he could use the attention. Sexsmith is a special talent who doesn’t get the exposure he deserves. He looks like a guy who lives in his parents’ basement browsing Lord of the Rings chat rooms — not exactly MTV material. I don’t pretend that my blog is some sort of grand stage, but I’d like to do my part to spread the word.

And second, I’ve yet to find a great way to feature his songs on the blog. Though he’s released nine studio albums, they don’t really lend themselves to the sort of theme weeks I usually do. His career hasn’t had the ebbs and flows you see with more established artists. He just quietly puts out record after record of smart, literate pop music.

So I figured the weekends would give me a nice opportunity to showcase some of those songs without the burden of coming up with interesting and informative things to say about each one.

I’m starting with a duet (keeping that theme going!) between Sexsmith and Costello, performed on Costello’s short-lived but wonderful Sundance Channel show Spectacle. Costello has been one of Sexmith’s biggest promoters, and here he credits him for breathing new life into a song Elvis had given up on. I adore this song in all of its incarnations.

Don’t tell me you don’t know what love is
When you’re old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I’m a man with a mission in two or three editions

And I’m giving you a longing look
Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

Chapter One we didn’t really get along
Chapter Two I think I fell in love with you
You said you’d stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three
But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six

The way you walk
The way you talk, and try to kiss me, and laugh
In four or five paragraphs
All your compliments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks

Don’t tell me you don’t know the difference
Between a lover and a fighter
With my pen and my electric typewriter
Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal
I’d still own the film rights and be working on the sequel

9 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,023: ‘Everyday I Write the Book’ – Ron Sexsmith & Elvis Costello

  1. Dana says:

    Okay, I think you’ve completely lost the point of theme weekends!

    Going back decades, radio program directors have programmed weekends with themes like “Beatles weekends,” because listeners, enjoying their precious time off and spending time at the beach or wherever, would presumably like to bathe in nostalgia and the fun of reliving the classic music that defined their past.

    And so, when you started the weekend themes with the Beatles, that was, of course, appropriate and your loyal listeners/readers/commenters enjoyed basking in the greatness and nostalgia of the Beatles, with the bonus of learning insightful things through your comments or, on occasion, through the posting of some more obscure tracks. Then you moved on to Dylan–not quite as fun as the Beatles, but still within the ballpark of the weekend concept–classic, legend, nostalgia (at least for some of us). Then you moved to Motown (or was that before Dylan?)–still classic, feel good nostalgia music.

    Now, Costello was beginning to stretch the weekend concept–and you sent some of your loyalists off the rails a bit with that pick. Still, at least for me, Costello worked for the weekends because he too is a hall of fame legend with a long distinguished career and, for those like me who have been following Elvis for at least 20 years, the weekend theme still represented nostalgia and was something to which I looked forward.

    But Ron Sexsmith? Really? Ron Sexsmith? For at least 9 weekends? Oh, good lord!

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, I actually like Sexsmith and I appreciate that you have turned me on to him through the inherited IPod collection, CDs and I believe at least a few posts on this blog (?). But a weekend theme for Sexsmith? You really couldn’t just do random features of him on the occasional SOTD or even feature him for a week, highlighting his best five songs? (And even that week would probably be more than most of your followers could handle)

    Perhaps you may want to poll your followers as to what they might want for their theme weekends. I bet Glee weekends would be popular:) Or how about classic 80’s since we have all confessed to loving that of late?

    Anyway, I think I’ve raved enough….As for today’s song, I, of course, love it. I find this to be amongst Elvis’ best songs in terms of the marriage of a great melody line with pithy, fun, smart lyrics. And, like you, I enjoy this song in any incarnation, including this lovely stripped down acoustic version.

    I suspect that today’s song will probably be the highlight of a very long 9 weeks (and heaven help you if you stretch this one out with bonus tracks, bootlegs or live performances!)::)

  2. Clay says:

    For me, the point of theme weekends is being able to plan at least 2/7ths of each week well in advance to cut down on the work involved in scheduling and writing a Song of the Day post every day.

    Motown, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello all had a wealth of material to choose from, making them perfect candidates to fill out the blog for nearly two years.

    My next course of action is to feature prolific artists who I haven’t given their due course on the blog yet. Sexsmith buys me nine weeks, and I love him for that. Never mind that he’s more talented than 95% of the artists in my CD collection… 2+ months of worry-free weekends is gold.

    If my followers have strong feelings about what they’d like to hear on the weekends, I’ll be happy to introduce “Reader Weekends” and let them post their own damn songs!

  3. Dana says:

    Ha-you would think for all the money you are being paid to do this blog, and reciprocally, all the money we are paying to partake in the blog, that you would be a bit more willing to satisfy your fans:)

  4. Amy says:

    Reader Weekends? Sign me up.

    Today’s SOTD is “Lost” By Annie Lennox. It was featured during the credits of the quite somber, very powerful In the Valley of Elah. I will be featuring songs featured in films during my next several reader weekends.

    According to Paul Haggis, “It was the last thing I did was put that song in. I put it in the last day of the mix. I heard it two days before. I called up her management in England and said, “Listen, I can’t negotiate because I have no money. Would you please let me use this song?” And they said, “Sure. Annie would love to have that.” So she let me do that. I haven’t met her yet but I look forward to it. She’s a great artist, isn’t she?”

    Whatever you might think of Paul Haggis as a director, I think he made a great call in closing the film with this song.

    I hope you look forward to seeing what songs I pick over the next nine weeks – feel free to send me your suggestions 😉

  5. Amy says:

    I should mention that I, too, love this song. It is one of those songs that makes just perfect use of its extended metaphor. Hey… that would be a great theme for weekends 🙂 This is a lovely version, but I prefer Costello’s jauntier recording.

  6. Amy says:

    Some other possibilities for my reader weekends:

    – Songs by the mentors on The Voice
    – Songs that have been used to sell things 🙂
    – Duet weekends (why limit them to a week?!)

    I figure these will keep me coasting through the summer….

  7. Clay says:

    Hey, don’t waste your Annie Lennox song in a comment! That could be a proper SOTD.

  8. Amy says:

    Just give up the Sexsmith weekends, and I’ll get right on it 🙂

  9. Clay says:

    Sorry, civil disobedience will not work.

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