Song of the Day #4,370: ‘You Bowed Down (Live)’ – Elvis Costello

The streaming revolution has no doubt changed music listening for the better.

For a small monthly price, I now have practically every song or album I’ll ever want to hear at my fingertips. I can listen to new releases by artists I might have otherwise never heard, and I can dive deep into the catalogs of great artists, unburdened by the costs that used to come with being a completist.

However, I do see one downside to my new way of listening to music. Some albums and songs — not many, but enough — simply aren’t available on streaming services.

To pick just one, the Miranda Lambert song ‘Hurts to Think,’ released as a bonus track on 2011’s Four the Record album, is still available only if you buy the album. I did buy the album, and I own the song, but it isn’t readily available alongside my streaming music, so I never hear it.

Today’s random iTunes selection is another great example. In 1996, Elvis Costello released a limited edition set of five EPs titled Costello & Nieve. The discs capture performances by Costello and pianist Steve Nieve of an intimate acoustic show in five different cities.

This set is a true rarity. Not only can’t you access it on streaming services, it’s no longer officially available for purchase at all, digitally or as physical CDs. You can still find a new copy through resellers for around $200, and used copies are floating around for much less than that.

I’m lucky enough to own the thing, but I’ll be damned if I ever hear a second of it. To do so, I’d have to either dust off the CDs or play it on my computer via iTunes. Not so hard, I realize, but not something I ever think to do, either. I’d love to be able to throw one of these tracks onto a playlist for car rides or exercise, but that’s not an option.

A first world problem, no doubt, but it’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw this song pop up on this Random Weekend. Nice to get a chance to listen to it again.

I expect you’re entitled to know why I’m making contact
With acquaintances scattered all over the land
I’d promise you now and again that I’d honour the contract
If it hadn’t crumbled away in my hand
So we broke that vow independently now
But I don’t know why you absolutely deny
You bowed down
You bowed down

When you first looked away I might say it was really a kindness
It must have hurt you to see how dreams sour
Now they say that justice and love are the next things to blindness
Well you’re getting plenty of both of them now

And so you parade where appointments are made
And never meant to be kept
Unless you accept
You bowed down
You bowed down

You value the burnt amber of falling leaves
And you long to delay
As you feel their breath as they whisper
It won’t hurt you now to betray
If you just bow down

And now every time that we meet on the edge of hysteria
You’re helping them sell off some new party line
I remember a time when you would have seemed so superior
Now you say Will you please meet this good friend of mine?

So you’re in demand as long as you kiss their hand
But all the applause is for their name not yours
You bowed down
You bowed down

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,370: ‘You Bowed Down (Live)’ – Elvis Costello

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    One solution to your problem is an Apple Music subscription. We have it as a family plan, which syncs our entire library, including every song we have ever downloaded, bought and transferred from a CD (even my songs recorded decades ago and Daniel’s unpublished demos), available to all of us on phones and iPads.

    However, apparently, Amazon, which I know you subscribe to, allows the syncing of your personal iTunes library collection as well.

    So….problem solved! That’s my Father’s Day present to you.😜

    • Clay says:

      Ooh, I’ll have to check that out. Thanks! I use Amazon over Apple because it syncs with my Alexa devices.

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