Song of the Day #3,314: ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ – Michael Jackson vs. Elvis Costello

Kicking off the final week of Round Threee of Montauk Madness is a showdown between two very different musical legends, Michael Jackson and Elvis Costello.

Jackson made his way here by defeating Belle & Sebastian with 86% of the vote and then easily winning the Motown Showdown with Stevie Wonder, 77-23. Costello bested Carly Rae Jepsen with 67% in Round One and John Mayer with 83% in Round Two. This will be his toughest competition yet. Continue reading


Song of the Day #3,279: ‘Moving On and Getting Over’ – John Mayer vs. Elvis Costello

The next Montauk Madness Round Two battle is a bit of a laugher, particularly for readers of this blog. I’ll be surprised if John Mayer manages more than a single vote (my wife’s) against Elvis Costello.

Costello got here by taking out Carly Rae Jepsen, who did manage to pick up 33% of the vote. Mayer narrowly defeated Beck, 55% to 45%. Had Beck triumphed, the Beck/Costello matchup would have been interesting. Both have proved adept in multiple genres and are masters of the unexpected. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,256: ‘Black Sails in the Sunset’ – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello in his prime was as prolific and consistently excellent as anybody to ever step in front of a microphone.

Today’s Random SOTD, ‘Black Sails in the Sunset,’ was left on the cutting room floor during the recording of 1981’s Trust. It’s certainly worthy of inclusion on that album or any other, and yet it’s far from the best outtake Costello has released. His rejects are better than most people’s official catalogs.

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Song of the Day #3,244: ‘Warm Blood’ – Carly Rae Jepsen vs. Elvis Costello

The latest Montauk Madness Round One matchup features a prime contender for the whole title (Elvis Costello) vs. a newcomer with only a couple of albums under her belt (Carly Rae Jepsen). Not exactly a fair fight.

But Jepsen is a talent, no question. She might not be Rocky Balboa taking Apollo Creed to 15 rounds and losing by judge’s decision, but Costello is definitely in the other corner having taken a solid shot to the eye, nodding her way and saying “You have great things ahead of you, kid.”

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Song of the Day #3,229: ‘The Beat’ – Elvis Costello

Here’s a nifty little New Wave cut from Elvis Costello’s second album, 1978’s This Year’s Model.

Costello has spent the last two decades or so in elder statesman mode, releasing chamber orchestra and country folk albums, so it’s easy to forget what a scrappy, literate punk rocker he was back in the day.

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Song of the Day #3,187: ‘Clean Money’ – Elvis Costello

‘Clean Money’ is an outtake from Elvis Costello’s album Armed Forces. It was later reworked with portions of its lyrics ending up in the song ‘Love For Tender,’ the lead-off track of his next album, Get Happy!!.

In this form, the song was at one point the opening track of Armed Forces, as Costello explains in the voluminous liner notes of the deluxe edition.

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Song of the Day #3,110: ‘Senior Service’ – Elvis Costello

armedforcesThis song, from Elvis Costello’s third album, 1979’s Armed Forces, is further proof that you need to be British to really get his lyrics.

For example, “Senior Service” is both a reference to the United Kingdom’s Navy (the highest ranked of their armed forces) and a brand of cigarettes. Both of those meanings are toyed with in this song, along with probably a dozen other things I’m too stupid and/or American to catch.

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