366 Songs 171: I Want To Vanish

Again, a curiously busy day has left me tired, and without the words that I want to write here (Really, just without the time to write those words; the spirit is willing, the flesh would like to not be in front of the computer for a little while today, sadly). No wonder this song comes to mind, especially given the last Elvis Costello song. I found this on a Best Of that I’d received one Christmas, and amidst the usual colors and melancholy of that period, this song stood out in particular, with the lovely strings backing Costello trying his best to make his voice soar. Listening to it again, more than a decade later and almost that long since I’d last thought of it if I were honest, it’s just as resonant, if for entirely different reasons. After all, on a day when your brain is filled with the emptiness that comes from writing stuff for an ever-demanding, never-thankful internet, few things sum up a mindset better than “I’ve given you the awful truth/Now give me my rest.”

366 Songs 170: The Other Side Of Summer

There’s a running joke here in Portland that the good weather only really gets started after Independence Day. Judging by today’s glorious weather – there’s not a cloud in the sky – I’m tempted to believe them, and so this song has been in my head all day; I may be misremembering, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the first Elvis Costello song that I really knew, as opposed to just hearing and not paying attention to, and it led me to my first Elvis Costello purchase. Looking back, that feels like I was suckered in by some ill-tempered gateway drug, the faux-Beach Boys stylings covering up a happily grumpy song about the downside of showbiz glamor. I still love the bitterness of lines like “Was it a millionaire who said ‘Imagine no possessions’?/A poor little schoolboy who said ‘We don’t need no lessons’?” heading after some traditional sacred cows.

Goodnight, God bless and kiss goodbye to the Earth, indeed.