Song of the Day #3,432: ‘Complicated Shadows’ – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello’s 1996 album All This Useless Beauty featured mostly songs he had initially written for other artists. ‘The Other End of the Telescope,’ for example, was written with Aimee Mann and first appeared on ‘Til Tuesday’s fine album Everything’s Different Now.

Today’s track, ‘Complicated Shadows,’ was written for Johnny Cash, though the Man in Black opted not to record it. He did, however, record two other Costello tunes, ‘The Big Light’ and ‘Hidden Shame,’ during his career.

‘Complicated Shadows’ is also notable for its ties to The Sopranos. The song played over the end credits of the show’s third episode, but was initially considered for the show’s opening theme.

Well you know your time has come and you’re sorry for what you’ve done
You should’ve never have been playing with a gun
In those Complicated Shadows
Well there’s a line that you must toe
And it’ll soon be time to go
But it’s darker than you know in those Complicated Shadows

All you gangsters and rude clowns
Who were shooting up the town
When you should have found someone to put the blame on
Though the fury’s hot and hard
I still see that cold graveyard
There’s a solitary stone that’s got your name on

You don’t have to take it from me
But I know what I spake
You think you’re like iron and steel
But iron and steel will bend and break
In those Complicated Shadows
Go!

Sometimes justice you will find
Is just dumb not colour-blind
And your poor shattered mind can’t take it all in
All those phantoms and those shades
Should Jump up on Judgement Day
And say to the Almighty “I’m still stinking of sin”

But the jury was dismissed
Took his neck and they give it a twist
So you see you won’t be missed in those Complicated Shadows
You can say just what you like in a voice like a John Ford film
Take the law into your hands
You will soon get tired of killing
In those Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows
Go!

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One thought on “Song of the Day #3,432: ‘Complicated Shadows’ – Elvis Costello

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    That’s some interesting info about this song I did not know. MMIM at its best.

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