Song of the Day #3,683: ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ – Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet

‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ is a track from Elvis Costello’s 1993 album The Juliet Letters, a song cycle for voice and strings recorded with The Brodsky Quartet.

I try to imagine crowds watching Costello in his young punk days belting out ‘Pump It Up’ and then immediately fast-forwarding to this, or his classic country album, or his collaboration with Burt Bacharach. The man has certainly carved out a unique career path.

It has been five years since Costello’s last album, Wise Up Ghost, which was a collaboration with The Roots that reimagined his earlier songs. It’s been eight years since his last album of new material. He recently suffered a cancer scare but promises a new album is around the corner.

Here’s wishing him a quick recovery and more musical surprises for years to come.

Note: A few days after I wrote this post, Costello announced that his next album, Look Now, will be released on Oct. 12. It will include two tracks he co-wrote with Burt Bacharach and one he co-wrote with Carole King.

[Verse 1]
The hunted look, the haunted grace
The empty laugh that you cultivate
You fall into that false embrace
And kiss the air about her face
Who do you think you are?

[Verse 2]
The tres bon mots you almost quote
From your quiver of literary darts
A thousand or so tuneless violins
Thrilling your cheap little heart
Who do you think you are?

My cigarette burns right down to the ash
My coffee cup is unstained
The waiter hovers close at hand
His courtesy strained

[Verse 3]
Who do you think you are?
I close with my regards
Well I’m the red-face gentleman
Caught in this picture postcard
Who do you think you are?

Trying my best to make the best of your absence
Though the joke gets tired and sordid
Sea-shell hearts get trampled under foot
Punchlines unrewarded

[Verse 4]
But even at this distance it’s not easy to accept
The vision that I chase returns when I least expect it
I’ve fallen from your tired embrace
I kiss the air around the place that should be your face

One thought on “Song of the Day #3,683: ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ – Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I’ve never given this album a proper listen, but after hearing today’s offering, I feel I should remedy that.

    And I’m so relieved that EC is going to be okay and excited to hear the new album.

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