Look Now: new album announced!

Pretty self-explanatory
jardine
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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby jardine » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:58 am

Under Lime. I’m fascinated…yet another song about the underbelly of show-biz, failed/tragic careers, the back-room theatre hallway seamy-ness, and a figure, here, that seems still almost hopeful. This atmosphere is certainly found in “Jimmie standing. . .” and, sort of, even in “Watching the Detectives.” “Ghost Train” too? I expect that there are lots more to add to this list. Suggestions? It really has been a long-standing way for E.C. to almost keep at bay the temptation to fall for the glitter and to poke holes in the false front of fame (his own included). Even the cover of the upcoming album involves the overly made up, false face. Spike cover, too.

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby sweetest punch » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:32 am

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby emotional_fascism076 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:28 am

I'm really loving what I hear from this album so far. Sounds like the Attractions of the 80s.

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby sweetest punch » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:47 am

https://www.billboard.com/articles/colu ... yric-video

Elvis Costello is gearing up for the release of his forthcoming album, Look Now, and on Wednesday (Aug. 22) delivered a colorful new lyric video for his recent single, "Under Lime."

The clip is a photomontage of paintings and homages to his Imposters: keyboardist Steve Nieve, bassist Davey Faragher and drummer Pete Thomas. The accompanying tune is a follow up on the continuing tale of Jimmie, off Costello's 2010 hit "Jimmie Standing In the Rain." In "Under Lime," Jimmie is faced with upcoming humiliation as he prepared to be a mystery guest on a 1950s game show.

"This seedy and desperate vaudevillian is thrown into the company of a young woman with a clipboard, a production assistant, charged with keeping him off the sauce, while staying out of his clutches. It’s a tale as old as time and as new as yesterday’s papers," Costello said in a statement.
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby verbal gymnastics » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:02 am

sweetest punch wrote:https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/8471799/elvis-costello-under-lime-lyric-video

...is a follow up on the continuing tale of Jimmie, off Costello's 2010 hit "Jimmie Standing In the Rain."...


I must have missed that!
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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby sulky lad » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:30 am

Am I the only one to be singularly underwhelmed by Under Lime ? A meandering wandering non- tune with lyrics trying too hard to tie in with the breath taking song that is Jimmie . Furthermore, I find the solo versions of Under Lime easier on the ear than the Imposters take on it - bah humbug, I’m working Christmas Eve too so just call me a miserable git and have done with it ! :(

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Top balcony » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:55 pm

Sulky you obviously missed my contribution to the 'quiet piano' thread :

EC performed this @ Bridgewater Hall, Manchester last year. My memory ( which admittedly plays tricks on me ) is of a very simple arrangement, one man and his guitar, pretty sure he introduced it as what happened next to Jimmy.

Fast forward 12 months and I'm not yet in love with the new vocal styling a la
Painted From Memory. Chuffed that he's given a nod to The Moptops tho ( When
the band starts to play....... ). Imagine that this will be great in concert with the band and backing vocalists in full flow.

Fab to have a new album, can't wait to buy it."



Colin Top Balcony

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby sulky lad » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:34 pm

Top Balcony wrote
Sulky you obviously missed my contribution to the 'quiet piano' thread :

Thanks CTB, I couldn't remember the exact location where this version seemed so much more appropriate as a follow-on song - will check the recording again to see if my opinion is unaltered !

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Neil. » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:42 am

Sulky, I thought it was a shambles on first listen, but it's definitely a grower!

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby jardine » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:11 am

Agreed, Neil. At first, it seemed as if the melody would never repeat. Took a while to coalesce. Wondering, is there some reason to put out a couple of songs this long a time before the release of the CD? Seems long enough to create buzz and have that buzz cool off completely by the time of the release.

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Miclewis » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:29 am

It must be a music business tread now. Paul McCartney did the exact same thing with his new LP; two songs released really early, then one more released a few weeks early (Elvis is releasing Suspect My Tears on Sept 7th).

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Hawksmoor » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:01 am

sulky lad wrote:Am I the only one to be singularly underwhelmed by Under Lime ? A meandering wandering non- tune with lyrics trying too hard to tie in with the breath taking song that is Jimmie.

Neil. wrote:Sulky, I thought it was a shambles on first listen, but it's definitely a grower!

It took me a while, if honest. I excitedly grabbed it along with 'Unwanted Number' and played them to Mrs H, who said 'well, I like 'Unwanted Number', but the other one - bit too wordy and not much of a tune'. And after she'd left the study I played it back and thought 'she might be right there - it is a bit underwhelming actually. Have forty years of adoration turned me into an uncritical fan who blindly accepts the emperor's new clothes?'

Then I started listening to it. I mean, really listening to it, on a loop/repeat on the way to work every morning. And it is the very definition of a grower. It's not the emperor's new clothes, it's the emperor's newest stroke of genius. Every listen reveals new nuances, new twists and turns. Consider the structure.

We begin with what you could call the A-tune ('it's a long way down' to 'trying to make a comeback'), which is then immediately repeated, for the only time in the song ('we know that he's desperate' to 'don't let him drink'), and then capped by what you could call the refrain/title-phrase ('under lime, under lime, under lime').

We then go to the B-tune ('he whistles out of tune' to 'we're almost out of time') and the C-tune ('down a long corridor' to 'and the band starts to play') - the C-tune always follows the B-tune, and is accompanied by Pete Thomas' wonderful marching-band drum pattern, which is perfectly appropriate as it always leads into 'and the band starts to play', and then the instrumental bridge. The instrumental bridge is entirely instrumental this first time, though.

Now we go back to one cycle of the A-tune ('in the violent (or maybe 'violet') strip of an undressing room' to 'I think you will find') which is immediately followed by the refrain, but this time, instead of a repeated 'under lime', we get 'oh you know, I wouldn't mind' to the same tune. Then the B-tune ('he asked her boyfriend's name'), the C-tune ('and upset, said hey pet') - and again the thumping drums take us into the 'band starts to play' instrumental bridge, except that this time it's voice-led ('baa-baa, bad-ap-ba-ba-baa').

Then back to the A-tune ('Jimmie was dreaming'), but this time the refrain 'originally 'under lime, under lime, under lime') changes to 'she's completely unaware'. Then the B-tune ('she forced a laugh or a sigh'). Pause to consider the casual brilliance of the rhyming here. Every previous time we've heard the B-tune, the rhyming has been ABCB ('tune, rhyme, back, time' and 'name, tree, believe, me'). This time it changes to AABB ('sigh, alibi' and 'confessed, vest'). Following the original rhyming pattern, the logical line would have been 'he buttoned up his fly'. So perhaps Elvis decides to allow Jimmie a tiny shred of dignity at this point, or perhaps he is underlining the fact that Jimmie is of the generation who would actually wear a buttoned-up vest under his shirt.

Then it's the C-tune again ('said hey gal, you're a pal' to 'if you don't get caught'). How brilliantly 'Elvis Costello' is that? Jimmie is presumably trying to 'get a record' (land a new recording contract) but that doubles up as an accusation of criminality (getting a criminal record). Add to that the next layer, whereby you wouldn't, in the 1960s, have got a criminal record (or got 'caught') for having a casual encounter with a backing-singer - but now you might. So the song is already hopping between the 1930s, the 1950s/1960s, and present-day sensibilities.

Then we're back to the vocal/instrumental bridge, this time a mix (the horns/brass upfront, the vocals just about discernable in the backing). And finally there's an extended coda, consisting of the tune of the opening line ('it's a long way down') repeated with the same tune but different lyrics ('it's a long way back') and - for the first time since the introduction - the actual refrain ('under lime, under lime, under lime').

Now consider the lyrics. Elvis has said, more than once, that the motivation for a new LP was along the lines of 'what would an Elvis Costello and the Imposters LP sound like in 2018?' So he kicks off with a rumination on 'what would Jimmie's comeback look like in the 1950s?' Given that National Ransom to Look Now is (arguably) the longest that Elvis has stepped away from regularly releasing LPs, you can't tell me that 'now he's back in showbiz, trying to make a comeback' isn't a cheeky nod to his own career.

Jimmie in the 1930s, Jimmie in the 1950s, Elvis in the 1980s, Elvis right now - all are thrown into the mix, along with all the tangents about artistic endeavour versus tawdry showbiz opportunities ('just get me on the show, I'll be humiliated, I'll do anything'), how sex and relationships fit into that ('she woke up and called him Charlie by mistake' is surely echoed in 'he asked her boyfriend's name').

'She thought, I can't believe it's happening to me' could mean that she's thrilled and excited by the idea of a relationship with a big star, or it could mean that she never thought abusive exploitation would happen to her. Does Elvis sing 'in the violet strip' or 'in the violent strip'? Those cheap fluorescent strip-lights you would put in dressing rooms could light up as violet. Equally, the encounter between Jimmie and the girl with the clipboard could be described as 'violent' in its (consensual or non-consensual) haste.

That's before we even get started on the 'under lime' thing ('under lime' meaning under quicklime/dead but also the Lime Grove significance flagged up by the tweeted illustrations, because that's where Jimmie would have done his TV special). And the Elvis puns roll on, as they always have - 'he thought of his drummer and considered a snare' is up there with 'you lack lust, you're so lacklustre'.

At the end of his 2000 book on Dylan, Song and Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan, Michael Gray wrote 'my fervent hope is that, as he moves into the future, he refuses to settle for this comfortable descent into being a performer of less and less artistic power. I look forward to his moving forwards in old age, as so many great artists have done [here he mentions Beethoven, Monet and Skip James] into a long period in which he gives out fully and is inspiredly alert...I hope that this is his destiny: that having given so wholeheartedly in his youth he will not duck from , but rise to, doing so again....And that we shall gain, in the wintertime of Bob Dylan's work, extraordinary new songs that really speak to any audience, performed with grace and wit and ardour'.

Whether that has proved to be true for Bob, in Michael Gray's eyes and ears, I could not presume to say. But I truly believe it is true for Elvis. We have backed the right horse, in as far as he is clearly the pre-eminent singer/songwriter of the late 20th/early 21st century. His passion for, and interest in, his own music and his own song-writing, even into his 60s, is, in my view, unparalleled. 'Under Lime' is a towering achievement, and my enthusiasm and optimism for Look Now are as high as they were for Trust. We live in happy times.

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby verbal gymnastics » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:50 am

That’s a fantastic analysis hawksmoor but is it enough to convince your wife? :lol: The casual listener will listen to it once and then decide if they like it or not unfortunately.

Once the album is out I’ll play it repeatedly and certain songs will stick in my head and then certain ones I might end up skipping.
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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Hawksmoor » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:26 am

verbal gymnastics wrote:That’s a fantastic analysis Hawksmoor but is it enough to convince your wife? :lol: The casual listener will listen to it once and then decide if they like it or not unfortunately.

Once the album is out I’ll play it repeatedly and certain songs will stick in my head and then certain ones I might end up skipping.

Well, there is all that going on, of course. Although I wonder, really, how important that side of it is for Elvis these days. Y'know, cutting to the chase, he's forty years into an incredibly successful career, about to release what must be (including live sets and compilations) his fiftieth or sixtieth LP. He is (I assume) a multi-millionaire with no material need to work any more if he doesn't feel like it. At 64, I assume he's asking his core audience 'will you still need me?' rather than trying to hook new casual listeners.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm sure he (and everyone else involved) will still want the record to be bought by as many people as possible, and if they can hook a few new listeners alongside the faithful fan-base, I'm sure they'd be happy to. But the marketing campaign so far (and it is a pretty enthusiastic marketing campaign) is definitely geared along the lines of 'if you remember Imperial Bedroom, your luck's in, because Elvis just made an LP that'll remind you of that'.

Sure, it's still a good idea to tease the LP by trickle-releasing two or three tracks in the preceding weeks on t'internet, as I assume that, for artists like Elvis, that is the 2018 equivalent of releasing a couple of singles ahead of the LP. McCartney and Weller are doing exactly the same thing ahead of their September LPs.

You're right that there may be some logic in saying 'if you're trying to give potential buyers a taster for the LP, give them an immediate ear-worm rather than a 'grower' which needs a few listenings to take root'. But to be fair, 'Unwanted Number' probably ticks that box, so there you go. 'Under Lime' probably doesn't immediately lodge as a catchy tune if you hear it on the radio on the way to work. On the other hand, the overall sound and feel would, I guess, be enough to convince you that 'yeah, go on then, I suppose this LP could be a bit like Imperial Bedroom, and I loved that'. So: job done in terms of the kind of buyers you are trying to attract.

I persist in my belief that it's a grower, a remarkable piece of work, and true classic of Elvis' mature/late period. Because, if we're honest, we do now have to start talking in those terms, I think. Being brutally frank, it's unlikely that Elvis will continue recording and performing much past his mid-80s, although I would like to hope he has twenty years or more left in him. So let's crudely carve up his recording career into 'early' (1977 to somewhere between For the Stars and When I Was Cruel); 'mid' (WIWC to Wise Up Ghost); and 'late' (whatever we've got left - hopefully twenty years and a dozen or so LPs).

If 'Under Lime' does represent Elvis setting out his stall for the last third of his career, I honestly couldn't wish for better. It's tuneful (OK, you need half-a-dozen listens to 'get' the tune, but we've covered all that above), it's lyrically brilliant, and, as others have noted, it picks up that underlying thread of the highs and lows of a career in popular entertainment which has proved so fruitful for Elvis in the past. It feels me with confidence and happiness for the LP. Obviously, as well as 'Under Lime' and 'Unwanted Number', those of us who follow his career already have a good sense of the melodies and lyrics for 'Stripping Paper', 'He's Given Me Things', 'Burnt Sugar' and 'Suspect My Tears', and they are all lyrically and melodically strong.

So I remain convinced that we stand on the brink of the last third of Elvis' recording career, and that it will hold as much delight and wonder as the first two-thirds have. And for me, 'Under Lime' is as perfect a calling-card for that as 'Less Than Zero' and 'Tear Off Your Own Head' were in their way.

More succinctly, and in answer to your original question, no, Mrs H still isn't mad keen. But then, she likes Maroon Five, so you might not want to put all your eggs in the basket of her opinion either. :o

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby rightbrain » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:32 am

Wonderful analysis!

As for Violet/Violent, on the "Lyric Video" that EC created (as "Eamon Singer," of course!), at the 1:54 mark, the word "VIOLENT" appears on screen, so the mystery is solved!

Gotta love the word-play on that line as well "In the violent strip of an undressing room . . ." STRIP/UNDRESSING. And referring to a DRESSING Room as an "UN-dressing Room" (quite the opposite, eh?)

EC at the top of his powers . . . can't wait for the other 14 songs!

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Neil. » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:15 am

Thanks for the juicy opinion piece, Hawksmoor - great stuff. Also, re the lyrical depth, I couldn't help thinking about 'Newcastle Under Lyme' - but obvs that's spelt differently.

And I agree, it's really difficult not to think of Elvis himself in the opening lines - all that stuff 'tryna make a comeback'.

Because it sounds so chaotic on first listen - i.e. it's a grower - I don't know if it's a wise bulletin to signal the approach of the album, but Unwanted Number fills that slot.

Very excited for the album now!

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby jardine » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:21 am

theatre limelights, and, of course being in the limelight, centre of attention, etc. isn't there also a phrase like being caught in the limelight? being found out or revealed? also, "a little limelight robbery" from ghost train

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Hawksmoor » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:31 pm

rightbrain wrote:As for Violet/Violent, on the "Lyric Video" that EC created (as "Eamon Singer," of course!), at the 1:54 mark, the word "VIOLENT" appears on screen, so the mystery is solved!

Good spot.
rightbrain wrote:Gotta love the word-play on that line as well "In the violent strip of an undressing room . . ." STRIP/UNDRESSING. And referring to a DRESSING Room as an "UN-dressing Room" (quite the opposite, eh?)

This too, it's a neat line. A 'violent strip' captures perfectly the frantic nature of the encounter, while simultaneously hinting that it's kind-of a power thing but also kind-of consensual. That's also there in the beautifully poignant line 'she thought 'oh you know, I wouldn't mind'. An act of sexual union lacking any real passion from either side: he's 'trying to impress' by trying it on with any showgirl who doesn't literally push him away; she's initially resistant to the idea but then thinks 'oh, go on then - I suppose it won't be too bad'. It reduces the elements of a physical relationship to their smallest, meanest terms, but at the same time is quite sad and sympathetic to where each of these people is at. Obviously, framing that kind of sad-but-hey-it-could-be-worse relationship in a couple of lines is something EC has been effortlessly doing since 1977, but it's nice to see that he's still so expert at it.
Neil. wrote:I couldn't help thinking about 'Newcastle Under Lyme' - but obvs that's spelt differently.

Doesn't mean to say it's not there if you want it to be. Jimmie is Lancashire-based in the original song, but it's not hard to imagine him trying his luck in Staffordshire before getting the magic phone-call to do a show at Lime Grove. That's London, of course, and was the studio for things like Doctor Who and Top of the Pops back in the day.
jardine wrote:theatre limelights, and, of course being in the limelight, centre of attention, etc. isn't there also a phrase like being caught in the limelight? being found out or revealed? also, "a little limelight robbery" from ghost train

Sure, that too. I would think that limelight is definitely a reference-point. Limelight actually declined in use from the late nineteenth century, but is still very redolent of the vaudeville/music hall theatres that Jimmie would have been playing in the 20s and 30s. Also, of course, Lime Grove, and the idea of being 'under quicklime' - so, dead, but possibly awaiting a resurrection for some desperately sad game-show thing where everybody is laughing at you, not with you.

So we're left with Jimmie as essentially some kind of animated corpse, a relic of a long-gone era of entertainment, frantically shagging a chorus-line girl (who's putting up with it rather than actually enjoying it) in a dingy dressing-room in an effort to 'impress', while in reality everybody around is covering their eyes and thinking 'oh my God'. Definite shades of 'Suit of Lights', I think. As others have noted, this line of songs probably starts with the desperate protagonists of 'Ghost Train'. 'Glitter Gulch' might even fit in here. And what's really amazing is that despite all of the above, Elvis still manages, in a little under five minutes, to engage our sympathy for Jimmie. :)
Last edited by Hawksmoor on Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby FrankieJ » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:32 pm

As well as Jardine's interpretations of the Under Lime title, I also thought of it as drinking under lime as in drinking as far down as the bottom of the glass where the drink-soaked and heavy lime slice ends up sinking to. Is Jimmie a drinker? If he's a flawed man created by EC then I reckon he probably is.

To echo other reactions to the song, I too think it sounds like a song that has been around for a long time. I can't wait to hear it live. :D

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby jardine » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:13 pm

"whatever you do, don't let him drink"

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby verbal gymnastics » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:47 pm

jardine wrote:"whatever you do, don't let him drink"


That’s something I say to my fellow board members at the meet ups when Neil. arrives... :lol:
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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby jardine » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:04 pm

oh no, Jimmie and Neil!

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Neil. » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:36 pm

verbal gymnastics wrote:
jardine wrote:"whatever you do, don't let him drink"


That’s something I say to my fellow board members at the meet ups when Neil. arrives... :lol:


Groan. :roll:

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby sulky lad » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:23 am

You forgot the other bit " and don't let him sing !" :shock:

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Re: Look Now: new album announced!

Postby Neil. » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:40 pm

sulky lad wrote:You forgot the other bit " and don't let him sing !" :shock:


Double groan. :roll: :roll:


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