Song of the Day #5,031: ‘Sulky Girl’ – Elvis Costello

Continuing my look at 1994, first by counting down my own top ten albums of that year.

#8 – Brutal Youth – Elvis Costello

A long time ago on this blog, I referred to Brutal Youth as “one of the highlights of the back half of Costello‚Äôs career.” I guess that was true when I wrote it, more than a decade ago.

This album was Costello’s 16th of 33 (and counting), putting it just before the midpoint in terms of recorded output. And it was released in the 27th year of his 55-year (and counting) career, again putting it just before the midpoint. So now, rather than representing the “back half” of his career, I guess Brutal Youth falls at almost the exact center.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #1,911: ‘Pony St.’ – Elvis Costello

brutalyouthLast week I featured Elvis Costello’s ‘20% Amnesia‘ during a theme on bad songs by great songwriters.

Frequent commenter Dana correctly pointed out that it was a weak song on an otherwise excellent album. So I figured I’d give that album, Brutal Youth, a shout-out today.

Brutal Youth is one of the highlights of the back half of Costello’s career. He released it in 1994, 17 years after his debut, and it’s insane to think that it’s been almost 20 years since it came out.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #933: ‘All the Rage’ – Elvis Costello

During the course of these Costello Weekends, I’ve made a lot of references to the inscrutability of Elvis Costello’s lyrics. Often I’ll love a song of his despite having no idea what it means.

I do consider Costello a master lyricist despite that difficulty, usually because of a masterpiece of a line that he’ll drop into a song here or there, some play on words that works on three different levels. He might be a bit too cerebral for his own good sometimes, but you can’t deny that the man has tamed his mother tongue.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #932: ‘Clown Strike’ – Elvis Costello

In 1994, a year after The Juliet Letters, Elvis Costello released his most rocking album since 1986’s Blood & Chocolate. Not coincidentally, it was also his first album since Blood & Chocolate recorded with The Attractions.

That album, Brutal Youth, is the best thing Costello recorded in the 90s, a decade that saw him jumping all over the map artistically. I rank Brutal Youth in the second tier of great Costello albums, below my holy trinity but in the mix with great records such as Trust and This Year’s Model.

Continue reading