As I like to do when I highlight a particular artist, I end this week with a live set of said artist. This week, it has been Elvis Costello. And do I have a wonderful one: Elvis Costello at Woodstock 99. It will make up for my slighting the early albums at the same time that it is too early for him to perform stuff that I’m not intimately familiar with.
The second song is one that I had thought about using this week, “Mystery Dance.” When I first heard that song, I was still in my teens and I knew exactly what he was talking about. Sex really is an art, and it should not be attempted by two novices. So at the time, it made me feel normal. As an old man, it’s just hilarious, but in the kindest way.
There are lots of things to love about Elvis Costello. He’s got a great voice — capable of conveying any emotion (something I find distinctly lacking in the huge pop stars). Musically, he’s always interesting — never boring, but never too difficult (even on The Juliet Letters). But mostly, he’s just really smart. It’s nice to know what he has to say. I feel like I grew up with him. When he was angry, I was angry; when he started figuring out life, I started figuring out life. I really ought to get some of his newest albums to see if we are still growing together — or more likely, not growing together.