Song of the Day #3,766: ‘Unwanted Number’ – Elvis Costello

In track five of Elvis Costello’s Look Now, he continues some of the themes already explored on the record.

‘Unwanted Number’ is the fourth straight song sung from a woman’s perspective and the second that was written more than 20 years ago. Costello first penned this track for the 1996 film Grace of My Heart, a movie about a talented songwriter who is encouraged to record her own songs. The film was based on the early career of Carole King, who co-wrote an earlier song on this album.

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Song of the Day #3,765: ‘Stripping Paper’ – Elvis Costello

‘Stripping Paper,’ track four of Elvis Costello’s Look Now, is my favorite on the album so far. It is top notch both musically and lyrically.

Costello’s songs are often hard to analyze, between the British aphorisms (mostly lost on a Yank like me) and his flights of linguistic fancy. ‘Stripping Paper’ is a refreshing exception, easy to decipher and emotionally resonant.

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Song of the Day #3,764: ‘Burnt Sugar is So Bitter’ – Elvis Costello

Track three of Elvis Costello’s Look Now is another song told from a woman’s perspective. More notable is that it was co-written by one of the great songwriters, man or woman — Carole King.

Costello and King wrote this track 20 years ago and he has played it live over the years, but this is the first time the cut made its way onto an album.

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Song of the Day #3,763: ‘Don’t Look Now’ – Elvis Costello

Continuing my track-by-track appreciation of Elvis Costello’s Look Now

Track two, ‘Don’t Look Now,’ is the first of three songs co-written by Burt Bacharach. This song slams on the brakes after the wild ‘Under Lime’ and takes us back to Painted From Memory territory. That Bacharach collaboration is not among my favorite Costello albums but it does have its charms, and this song does as well.

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Song of the Day #3,762: ‘Under Lime’ – Elvis Costello

Wonder of wonders, the musical gods have graced us with a new Elvis Costello album, his first proper release since 2010’s National Ransom. He did drop 2013’s Wise Up Ghost alongside The Roots, but that collection of reworked tracks hardly counts as new material.

But this album, Look Now, is a dive back into the deep, lovely waters of classic Costello. It contains shades of his masterpiece Imperial Bedroom as well as underrated 90s gems Mighty Like a Rose and Brutal Youth. It also owes more than a little to Painted From Memory, his 1998 collaboration with Burt Bacharach, and indeed Bacharach co-wrote three of its songs.

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