Song of the Day #5,006: ‘Tears Before Bedtime’ – Elvis Costello

The Random iTunes Fairy serves up a lot of interesting songs. But I didn’t realize until today’s selection popped up just how rarely she delivers something I really love.

Usually, my reaction to the first notes of the random song is something akin to “huh.” As in, there’s an artist I haven’t thought about much lately. Or, I wonder how this album wound up in my iTunes library?

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Song of the Day #4,202: ‘Pidgin English’ – Elvis Costello

‘Pidgin English’ is the 13th track on Elvis Costello’s briliant 1982 album Imperial Bedroom. This is an album on which Costello was working at the very peak of his powers, channeling his mad musical visions into addicting cerebral ear candy.

As YouTube commenter Vincent Straziuso writes about this track, “How do you imagine this song pull it out of the ether and write this???”

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Song of the Day #3,323: ‘…And in Every Home’ – Elvis Costello vs. Taylor Swift

Our third Round Four matchup pits Elvis Costello against Taylor Swift. Swift has been a giant slayer in the contest thus far, propelled by some major fans and a whole lot of debate. She took out David Byrne in Round One, Tom Petty in Round Two and Simon & Garfunkel in Round Three (72/28).

Costello topped Carly Rae Jepsen, then John Mayer and finally Michael Jackson (with a commanding 90% of the vote).

Swift’s path has been a generational war, Millennials vs. Boomers, and that won’t change in this round. Can she continue to topple the oldsters on her way to the Final Four? Or will Costello prove too tough a foe?

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Song of the Day #2,570: ‘Almost Blue’ – Elvis Costello

imperialbedroomAnd the best album of 1982 is… Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom.

Over the next two weeks I’ll feature albums unfamiliar to me that topped critics lists in 1982. When searching for those titles, I often came across Costello’s baroque pop masterpiece, knowing full well that it would top my own list. The album topped the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll that year. It’s the record that really cemented Costello as a critical favorite.

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Song of the Day #2,122: ‘Beyond Belief’ – Elvis Costello

costello_uselessMy first real exposure to Elvis Costello was through two albums I still consider his best — King of America and Imperial Bedroom.

Those two albums contain a wealth of styles and moods, from the laid back country crooning and rockabilly of the former to the Beatles-esque menagerie of the latter. They both serve as perfect vehicles for Costello’s brilliant lyrical word salad and as entry points go, I couldn’t have been blessed with better ones.

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