Song of the Day #5,133: ‘(She Might Be A) Grenade’ – Elvis Costello and The Roots

Elvis Costello loves to keep his fans guessing. This is the man who released an album of country music covers in between two of his poppiest efforts in the 80s. And an album recorded with a string quartet a decade later.

He has released collaborative albums with vocalist Anne Sofie von Otter, New Orleans R&B legend Allen Toussaint, Netherlands ensemble the Metropole Orkest, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, symphonic composer Richard Harvey, and esteemed songwriter Burt Bacharach. None of those albums sound alike, nor do they sound like any of the “regular” albums Costello dropped in between them.

Wise Up Ghost is a 2013 collaboration with soul/hip-hop band The Roots that makes as much sense as any of those other collaborations.

In this case, Costello and The Roots sliced and diced his back catalog to come up with new songs rich with the DNA of previous work. Today’s SOTD, for example, is built around the bones of a song called ‘She’s Pulling Out the Pin,’ a bonus track on Costello’s 2004 album The Delivery Man.

I haven’t spent a ton of time with Wise Up Ghost since my initial purchase, but I’m always intrigued by what I hear when it pops up.

She’s pulling out the pin
That lets her hair fall down
She’s pulling out the pin
She shakes her head
And it goes tumbling

Her smile was out of place
So she swept it off her face

Let me find the words and say them
Like some softly whispered “Amen”

But she starts to pull away
And the lights begin to dim
Is she thinking of me?
Or is she thinking of him?
She’s pulling out the pin…

She’s slipping off the hook
Unbuttoning her dress
She’s slipping off the hook
There’s just enough to make some man a mess
She tears away the veil
With her fingernails

She came out high and kicking
While the band played “Hey, Good Looking”
Do you hear something ticking?

Did somebody tell her she could really be redeemed?
And could she actually be as desperate as she seems?
She’s tearing at the seams
She’s going to extremes
Nobody told her it was a sin
So she’s pulling out the pin

She’s taping up her hands just like a boxer will
And they started laughing
But if looks could kill
She’d take them down right now
She’s covering her mouth
With some unholy vow
There’s nothing more to say
This is her wedding day

Full of shattered glass and mayhem
Not some softly whispered “Amen”

While the shock announcement dawns
And the smoke begins to thin
Where the world without ends
And the next one begins
She’s pulling out the pin

She’s pulling out the pin
She’s pulling out the pin
She’s pulling out the pin

One thought on “Song of the Day #5,133: ‘(She Might Be A) Grenade’ – Elvis Costello and The Roots

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    The man is nothing if not diverse and eclectic, not to mention incredibly talented.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.