Song of the Day #5,280: ‘Hidden Shame (Demo)’ – Elvis Costello

‘Hidden Shame,’ heard here in demo form as included on Elvis Costello’s reissue of the 1996 album All This Useless Beauty, was originally written by Costello for Johnny Cash. Costello wrote a few songs for Cash, including ‘Complicated Shadows,’ one of Beauty‘s main tracks.

Cash never recorded ‘Complicated Shadows’ but he did record this one, on a 1990 album titled Boom Chicka Boom. That album — his 76th! — also included a cover of Harry Chapin’s ‘Cat’s in the Cradle.’

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Song of the Day #5,125: ‘The Bridge I Burned’ – Elvis Costello

‘The Bridge I Burned’ is a cut from one of the extended editions Elvis Costello released in the early 2000s, in this case the 2001 reissue of 1995’s All This Useless Beauty.

At least that’s where my copy of this song lives. It was originally released as part of a 1997 greatest hits collection, a contractual obligation that allowed Costello to finish off his time at Warner Bros.

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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.

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Song of the Day #2,960: ‘Why Can’t a Man Stand Alone?’ – Elvis Costello

uselessAh, my favorite kind of Random Weekend — one that falls on the birthday of a loved one. This allows me to dedicate the song to the person — in this case my sister — sight unseen and then see what fate serves up.

So here we go… Happy Birthday, Amy! This mystery song is for you!

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Song of the Day #1,744: ‘The Other End (of the Telescope)’ – Elvis Costello

uselessIt’s funny how some songs drift in and out of our good graces.

When Elvis Costello released 1996’s All This Useless Beauty, I loved every minute of it, including (perhaps especially) its opening track, ‘The Other End (of the Telescope).’

Years later the song started to get on my nerves, particularly due to one lyric toward the end in which Costello sings of putting “a bamboo needle on a shellac of Chopin,” as pretentious a phrase as he’s ever uttered.

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