Hey you out there...

Pretty self-explanatory
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A rope leash
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Location: southern misery, USA

Hey you out there...

Postby A rope leash » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:53 pm

...sorry about the separate thread. I didn't want this rambling mess to disjoint someone else's.

"Young poets imitate. Mature poets steal." - T. S. Eliot

I got the rent caught up and made the car payment. Stupid cellphones...

So we got a little food, and saved some gas money, and I said why not the haircut, and why not the Look Now?

You can only spend money when you have it.

But damn I love San Diego.

Hell in Paradise, they call it. The rich in their natural habitat, and everyone else on the treadmill.

There are a few radio stations here, but the reception is not so great sometimes because of the awesome mountains. I don't say awesome unless it really is awesome, and one might think they are not, but come on, the beach is right here, too.

Well, one station that comes in pretty good is the public radio jazz station, and it's always jamming while others advertise. I'm driving the shit out of a Nissan, and trying to stay alive, so I'm pretty much a jazz-head since I came to the beautiful world of America's Finest City.

...and I like the Jazz, although some of the younger in my clan label me OLD with it. But why wouldn't I like it? I even wish it was even jazzier and more progressive...and why not? The other frequencies contain mostly genre of the popular, no matter how new and awful, or dated and worn. Modern-pop-alternative seems rather weak lately, and the classic-rock-adult-oldies format seems happily on it's last legs. I'm listening around for the Look Now, but I don't think Elvis even wants to fit in with any of this.

I just keep it on the jazz station. It doesn't get stuck in my head so much. I'm very choosey about what I will allow to invade my mind now days. If I truly want it there, I'll pop in a CD.

Well, I just felt like crap the other day. Cathead's kids have been murder on me the past couple of years. I was the man she needed when me met, but now she needs some other guy I can't be. What a trip. Thank the lovely Earth for the blessed Sativa

Anyway I had been hearing Look Now via my smartphone-youtube-sound bar connection, noting early on that the songs were imprinting themselves upon the eager synapses of my mind rather quickly...and I must say, without my permission, either.

There's been a hole in my head waiting to be filled with this record since the moment I first heard it was being released. I came to adore Wise Up Ghost, but it was a hard turning. Rock and Roll, as I gather from what is heard on the radio, has lost its virility. I like inventive guitar work chasing evasive drums. Jack White can only spackle the hole so much.

Rock isn't dead. It's just gotten decrepit. It needs a doctor, and some medicine. Pop, hip-hop, country...
they could all use some soul. So could rock. It needs young, virile energy...perhaps the blood of a young waif, I don't know. The whole genre has lost it's bearings with bloody metal and unnatural juggalo. We're all too old for that, now, and the young? I don't think they are into it. In fact, I think it scares some of them.

It's a hard act to follow. A couple of stations here play the same old classic rock songs daily, with virtually no new material. One station here actually plays old pop...Michael Jackson and Madonna sort of stuff from the Eighties. Nothing new played there. The current hit station plays a lot of stuff, none of which sounds much like the Look Now. But the post-Rock auto-tuned world depicted there reminds me more of the malaise between Buddy Holly and the Beatles than anything else. Even Disco was better.

It's a completely false world now, with false stars and false players playing false music...because it's all about what sells, and money is false. The only treasure on Earth is property. The only property a person is born with is the self, mind and body. The artist must own it. It cannot be false.

So people ask me what kind of music I like. I tell them cool. Something cool, please...maybe something interesting to go along with it. Cool sounds, please. Rock and Roll, if you would, or how about some orchestral Jazz fusion? Anything?

I've become too old to have a right to any cool. I've soaked up all the cool I deserved back in the Nineties. We all did...but cool is very subjective. I've been fortunate to have been a fan of a famous musician who is about my age, and of whom I had become enamored with at a young age. It's been a life-long affair, and it's nearly exclusive on my side, as there are no others before Elvis Costello, not even Frank Zappa...music-wise, anyway...and how fortunate it is for me that my hero has lasted so long and produced so much beauty for this world to enjoy.

I get a little weepy about it sometimes, and I'll tell you why. I live in America, where some people just cannot love Elvis Costello. From the start, people dressed in platform shoes and poodle-dos could not get past Elvis' scrawny physique and broad glasses. They hated his voice. They said his songs were too wordy and geeky. He was no Elton John, or Bruce Springsteen, and definitely not Van Halen. They just weren't and still are not into Punk or New Wave or Alternative anything stupid like that.

Because in America, smart is stupid.

While many of those people are now dead from alcohol and cocaine abuse, Elvis and I still court each other in the commercial realm of idol/fan interaction. Like I said, I felt like crap the other day, and you can't buy something when you don't have the money, so I went into Barnes and Noble and pulled my card out for a twenty-nine dollar debit so that I could possess the Look Now.

I'll be bumming gas money before payday.

The artist declares relevance, and produces to prove it. Everyone else is a critic, but some are also peers. While I make no claim to equivalence with Elvis Costello, I do have my stack of crap to show around if anyone needs proof of my part-time endeavors in art. It's hilarious. I'm very serious about my delusion.

So, Elvis is thinking he's going to write a big-time stage show Broadway-style, and throws a bunch of songs at it with Burt Bacharach, and it doesn't go anywhere so he packs the music away in his old kit bag and sits on it for awhile until he allows himself to think he can make pop hits out of a couple of them, and he sure as Hell can, as it turns out.

But, a couple of things are askew. The first is the fact that Elvis Costello cannot have a number-one hit that everybody loves. He can have something that sounds like it, and deserves to be top of the chart, but there's always something heavy in an Elvis song, and Broadway show tunes ain't heavy, man. Pop music isn't heavy. Elvis cannot make himself dumb enough to be a pop star, or a show-tune monger.

Secondly, the kit-bag songs are making this hit record only half-great. It feels a little salvaged in places. It smells of cliche here and there...a long way down from that high horse...is what my mom used to say...you look so beautiful when you cry...are you ready? are you ready?

ba-ba-ba-bup-ba ba said the band

Cathead never did like Elvis, but I wore her down with Momofuku. She really likes the Look Now.

She has every right to do so. Cool is as cool sells.

I feel rather attacked by this record, actually. The holes in my head filled right up with it. Elvis isn't making me work at it like he did with When I Was Cruel. He's not even working that hard himself...the whole recording is an exercise in practiced ease...and if I might take a bit of amateur empathy with Elvis, art is easier when you give the people what they want. Who cares if it's trite or cheesy, or over-done? Elvis can pull that right out of his bag. But it won't go down as a major beloved hit like Goodbye Yellowbrick Road.

Because...Elvis Costello. That gap between his teeth. That voice. Those words. He wrecks the radio.

Cathead was pretty amazed when I started belting out Elvis tunes pretty good on a regular basis. She had never heard these songs. My voice isn't great, but she says I do them well...and okay, why not? They live in my head.

More than one song on this recording would have been a solid hit if this was 1975. While they still play music from 1975 all over the radio, there doesn't seem to be a format for this Look Now. He's too old for the pop station, this isn't hip-hop, or any kind of Rock classic to modern, nor is it jazz or oldies. The frequencies are too rigid in their programming to allow for any repetitive play of something that doesn't quite fit, so I doubt that Elvis will get the hook in, and that's too bad, because he deserves a number-one blockbuster to be known by.

It would also be a bit of vindication for his fans, who could say to those too-dumb-for-Elvis types, there you go, there's your Purple Rain, are you happy? Will you now admit?

Because Elvis has always been cool. These people just don't know it. Elvis is enormously successful not because of genre popularity or industry hype, but because he is genuinely talented and ingenious, as well as hard-working. Like Zappa, he's had a core base of fans that understand and admire him, and whom have put their money consistently where their fandom resides, no matter where their hero wanders. I've walked with Elvis wherever he went, and while I wasn't always certain it was going to be worth it, it has been every time.

...and of course, any initial bitching is routinely overcome by repetitive playing, whereupon people that can get it do get it. I reserved my judgment until I could hear it on a proper audio device. I popped it right in the Nissan right away in the Barnes and Nobel parking lot, and got my first solid earful on a route to Del Mar.

It's always the details. I'm looking for something cool.

The first song to find it's nest in a hole in my head was Under Lime. I can't tell if it's a ballad or an anthem, but it marches along enthusiastically looking for the perfect ending. It finds it in that- what is it? Oboe? ...in the closing seconds. Elvis is forgiven completely.

O my goodness Burnt Sugar. A number one hit if I ever heard one back in Nineteen Whenever. A great premise for a soul song, an instant hook, wonderfully embraceable backup vocals so cleanly oppositional to Elvis' roughshod manliness. Then, Pete's show for the sour horn to play off. A major hit if I ever heard one. What's wrong with you, Radio? Play it and I might buy your crap...

I'm not sure what sort of Broadway show Elvis and Burt had in mind, but it must have died from the sheer weight of it's dread. The world has become full of persons who have dragged themselves through barely stable lives and relationships, and the issues that come up between people in today's world are quite difficult to paint. The Costello/Bacharach songs here are not only perfect in their compositions, but also stark in their connotations. Sweet, and bitter...and well known by myself and others, but rarely if ever captured and articulated. I hate these songs as much as I love them, if that makes any logic, much the same as it is with Painted By Memory.

Dammit don't make me cry.

That's no one in particular he's talking about in I Let the Sun Go Down, I don't think. He's talking about his generation, and the one before it. Not caring one way or another, and selling out at every turn is no way to keep an empire. It's an awful messy business, as well, and better left to the Americans. They'll fuck it up lovely.

Little wisps of guitar and oddly appropriate use of feedback really add to my attraction to the song Dishonor the Stars. This song, live just him and the guitar, yeah.

The echoing HUSH back-up in Mr. and Mrs. Hush is another one of those perfect insertions that Elvis does so well. I am really not sure what the song is about, however, but I got a lot of miles to drive so who's in a hurry I'll hear it an enormous amount of times...and love it.

Suspect my Tears is the follow-up hit on this record, a miracle resurrection of the Wall of Sound Sixties. If this song had a very handsome and dynamic vocalist, it would win any phony idol competition the media could ever create. But, it can't be Elvis.

Then we come to my favorite piece on this recording, Why Won't Heaven Help Me? Master of the Bridge, Elvis, outdoes himself with flipping the melody and the meaning, on one side pitiful and worried, the other side uplifted somehow by the uncertainty of outcome. Elvis seems to be in his best voice ever, and he is certainly the one to ask for heaven's help, for how else could he get a number one hit that everybody loves? If he gets it, though, he knows, it might not be all that.

It's maybe a bit crazy, but it seems to me that Elvis has been writing about my life all my life. Even now, as I bat about San Diego with no real future, I see that Elvis sees me and knows what I'm going through. I wanted something recently, and probably could have had it, but it didn't work out, and who knows? I may have regretted it. It's an odd comfort, but sometimes to fend off regret you have to say you would have wrecked your girlfriend's GTO. Maybe that's why heaven didn't help. There's a lot of that in my life over the years...a lot of all this stuff on this record.

He's Given Me Things demands to be examined and mined. It's a great closing song that I find subtly irritating yet rather necessary. As I hear it, this is a song about economic disparity, something that is quite on display in my current environment, and something that is difficult to discuss, especially when it becomes personal. Cathead and I deal with some very wealthy persons from time to time, and we are sometimes assaulted by their attitudes towards us and our not-so-obvious poverty.

Frankly, I don't know how some of these folks sleep at night.

Cathead and I are always telling each other we should go out and get ourselves rich mates so we won't have to suffer...but really, we should just eat them.

But you know, if you love someone, you have to let them go. I can see Cathead in one of those McMansions down in Rancho Bernardo, telling some maid she didn't do it right, or the landscaper. I just can't see me there with her. Not so long as people go hungry. I'd rather live in a van.

With my Elvis.

Rock is Dead

Long live Rock.

Long live the King.

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Jack of All Parades
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Re: Hey you out there...

Postby Jack of All Parades » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:33 pm

"Vincit qui patitur". You have provided what may be the best assessment of this wonderful album, hands down, that I have read, to date. Bravo....... You have 'digested' this music and are consciously and consistently living with it. He should have a multitude of listeners in your mold. You do what is so difficult for many-you have absorbed the 'art' -it supports and sustains you. I suspect you find EC 'talks' to you because you share a common time span on this planet with him-you relate to the same sources of reference as you both age. It is how I feel about him, too. Thank you for sharing.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

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Re: Hey you out there...

Postby Standstobeinsulted » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:54 am

Every time I hear the opening of WWHHM I am reminded of What Have I Done to Deserve This. If so surely yet another Dusty homage on Look Now

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A rope leash
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Location: southern misery, USA

Re: Hey you out there...

Postby A rope leash » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:59 pm

Hey thanks for the positive review of my review!

This record now pretty much controls my brain. It's sinking right in and nesting comfortably.

Thank you Elvis!

Yeah, I get that Dusty Springfield feel, maybe some Dionne Warwick.

I could see Beck sampling it...

Still don't hear it on the radio, though...

I wish I could make the Wiltern show. I sounded alarms and fired off flares. I'm listening...

Why won't heaven help me?

Sound problems?!

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Jack of All Parades
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Re: Hey you out there...

Postby Jack of All Parades » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:50 pm

The record is insidious, is it not? It burrows into the recesses of one's musical portion of the brain and wiggles around. It was initially getting some regular airplay on college and independent radio stations here in the Hudson Valley of New York but I have noticed in the last few weeks a substantial falling off of airplay. Seems to be the fate of 'intelligent' well crafted records these days. My niece's band Tuba Skinny gets more airplay these days around here than EC's record.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

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A rope leash
Posts: 1833
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:47 pm
Location: southern misery, USA

Re: Hey you out there...

Postby A rope leash » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:07 pm


Perfect! I can see it used as a promotional device...

...mmmmmm! Insidious!

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