Song of the Day #4,089: ‘Walking On Thin Ice’ – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello and the Attractions recorded this cover of Yoko Ono’s ‘Walking On Thin Ice’ for a 1984 Yoko tribute album titled Every Man Has a Woman.

It was later released on Costello’s compilation Out of Our Idiot and finally on the reissue of Punch the Clock, where I first heard it. It’s pretty great.

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Song of the Day #4,006: ‘The Big Light’ – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello’s 1986 album King of America blended Country and Americana flavors with his brand of brainy singer-songwriter rock, resulting in one of his greatest achievements.

Among confessional ballads and geo-political explorations, Costello dropped in a few fun rave-ups, including today’s SOTD, ‘The Big Light.’

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Song of the Day #3,903: ‘Harpies Bizarre’ – Elvis Costello

My #4 album of 1991 is the mostly mediocre Elvis Costello release, Mighty Like a Rose.

Ranking this one was tough. I had to balance the warm bath of nostalgia with the sobering effects of time, then sprinkle in a dash of ‘one amazing song lifting up a whole album.’ Given all that, fourth place feels about right.

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Song of the Day #3,810: ‘Nothing Clings Like Ivy’ – Elvis Costello

Here’s a lovely track from Elvis Costello’s 2004 album The Delivery Man, which started as a concept album about a quartet of characters in the deep south but ended up as a collection of loosely connected rock songs and ballads.

Ivy was presumably one of the characters in that original narrative, and her presence is felt in the backing vocals of the wonderful Emmylou Harris, who shows up on a couple of tracks. Lucinda Williams sits in on the raucous ‘There’s a Story in Your Voice,’ delivering a wild and passionate performance.

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Song of the Day #3,794: ‘Watch Your Step’ – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello produced my second-favorite album of 1981, and just a few months earlier, he released my favorite.

Costello’s fifth album, Trust, is similar to Squeeze’s East Side Story in that it’s a New Wave record dabbling in a host of other genres. Squeeze lead singer Glenn Tilbrook even duets with Costello on the fun track ‘From a Whisper to a Scream.’

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Song of the Day #3,773: ‘He’s Given Me Things’ – Elvis Costello

Closing out Elvis Costello’s Look Now is the third collaboration with Burt Bacharach, ‘He’s Given Me Things.’

Backed by the Imposters and a nine-member string section, Costello once again sings from the perspective of a woman, this time the mistress of a wealthy man giving the kiss-off to her former lover.

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Song of the Day #3,772: ‘Why Won’t Heaven Help Me?’ – Elvis Costello

Look Now feels a bit like a Greatest Hits collection of the many styles Elvis Costello has explored over the decades.

Track 11, ‘Why Won’t Heaven Help Me?,’ could have fit right in on 1993’s pop album Punch the Clock, especially during its delightful chorus. But that delicious ear candy is blended with the stately classicism of Costello’s more recent work.

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