Song of the Day #2,677: ‘Little Savage (Alternate Version)’ – Elvis Costello

imperialbedroomElvis Costello’s many reissues of his back catalog have unearthed a lot of excellent tracks. Today’s Random iTunes selection is not among them.

This alternate take of Imperial Bedroom‘s ‘Little Savage’ is nearly incoherent, especially vocally, a fact that Costello himself acknowledges in the disc’s liner notes:

After the band sessions were concluded, I worked alone for several weeks, experimenting with odd overdubs and vocal approaches. It is possible that I lost as much as I gained. The raw and borrowed style of the “Tears Before Bedtime” take on CD 2 might well be a little closer to the truth.

The most disguised of these songs is “Little Savage”; one of several cuts rehearsed and even recorded in different tempo and time signatures. The slower pace of the album demanded the up-tempo arrangement to be included, but the meaning of the song would have been better served by the approach of the unfinished version found on CD 2, even though the vocalist seems to be trying to escape the confines of the harmony.

I would have waited all my life
Just to make love out of something other than spite
But the beauty is the beast you’re baiting
Should really be worth the waiting

You do something very special to Mr. Average
Now the lamb lies with the lion
He’s just a little savage

And so you turn your back on me
And all the hot air that only echoes stale tobacco


Actions speak louder now than words
By just a fraction
What’s the use of saying I love you when I’m drinking to distraction
We save our sanity
By saying such and such
After it’s all been discussed
You say you must be touched


2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,677: ‘Little Savage (Alternate Version)’ – Elvis Costello

  1. Dana says:

    Interesting, but not good. Kinda butchered one of my faves from the album. For those not familiar with the smooth and wonderful original, here it is:

  2. Austin says:

    Honesly, I like that unused take better. The album track is too poppy and safe sounding.

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