Blog Archives

Complicated Shadows

It took me a long time to finish reading this book, because I kept putting it down in disgust. I am not a huge fan of Elvis Costello, though we do have the one Hits set here and I like some of the songs well enough. The disgust comes from what an insufferable prick the guy seems to be. How badly he treated others around him, and how he behaved in general, and yet people (for the most part) just let him do it because he’s (purportedly) some sort of genius. That may well be, but for someone in the public eye, he sure sounds like he was (and could still be, for all we know) a jerk.

A jerk to his first wife and his son. A jerk to his bandmates, the media, his label(s) and even his fans. He reads like an impetuous child, storming off-stage and ending shows early, refusing to play the hits, making records that he thinks are challenging but only serve to alienate people and then when they fail to sell well, it’s all the label’s fault for not promoting it enough. Um… what? Never mind what he said to Stephen Stills about Ray Charles and James Brown (for which he never really did apologize), that was probably just the child being drunk and worse than normal. Yeesh. It was all very tiresome.

Tiresome, particularly, given how hard the author, Thomson, worked to make him sound less like a jerk, here. Honestly, the guy has written his ass off for this book, apologizing politely for all sorts of miscreant behaviour. All towards softening the blow, smoothing out the obvious rough points (and there were many) while inflating the Genius status as often as possible. The book’s a total blow job, in other words. 

I’m not really sure how Costello got away with it. He’s like the drunk, crazy uncle who behaves atrociously but gets away with it because people just expect it from him. Some even enable him. It’s just sad. He’d have been better to remain Declan MacManus. As soon as he put on those glasses and that hat and became Elvis Costello, the persona took over and he lost control of it. I’m no psychologist, but it’s how it seems to me, from this text.

Anyway, we go through all the phases of his career, with the Attractions, producing the Pogues (and ‘marrying’ their bass player, Cait O’Riordan, with whom he had a long relationship). Of course before that was Bebe Buell, Liv Tyler’s mom. And now there’s his current marriage to Diana Krall, of course. And we go through all the musical and stylistic changes too, the ups and downs and oddities. Fans will care. 

All that said, he did write many great songs. He did fearlessly try new things, even classical and jazz music, at the risk of alienating all of his fans (not like he cared, from the sounds of it). And it may be true that truly great art only comes from single-mindedly pursuing your goal, whatever it may be, even at the expense of everything around you. The artist suffering for their art, blah blah blah… But you don’t have to be a jerk about it.

After finishing this, I might still try out a record or two, just to see what all the fuss was about with the music, but I don’t need to know anything else about the man himself thank you very much.

Advertisements
rhymeallnight.com/

1 Shot Spitune

Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Steve For The Deaf

Certain Songs Get Scratched Right In

BuriedOnMars

The World Revolves Around Mars

Aphoristic Album Reviews

Personal Album Review Website

My (life in) music lists

These are the songs that have and will continue to soundtrack my life.

timeweleftthisworldtoday

This world's so mixed up everywhere you go

Little Bits of Gaming & Movies

REMEMBERING THE GAMES & MOVIES I GREW UP WITH AND MUCH MORE

Blog All Night

Rhyme All Night

Stuff and That.

We do reviews, ya dig?

stoneygate

relaxing music

Every number one

Journey through all the songs that topped the charts

Resurrection Songs

one man vs. his record collection

The Audible Stew

Salt to Taste

KingcrimsonBlog - The official Blog of Kingcrimsonprog

A Metal Nerd's Blog... Well, What did you expect, porn?

1537

You May Want To Stand Back A Bit ...

Crash And Ride Music

The latest album reviews, concert reviews, and interviews of progressive and alternative rock and metal.

HEAVY METAL OVERLOAD

... and classic rock too!

Metal Odyssey > Heavy Metal Music Blog

Welcome to Metal Odyssey, it will be quite the Metal trip!

This is the story of the overly ambitious eagle...

...who evidently found a deer head in the landfill.

The Ü

On film, fiction, odds and ends.

Songs on a Theme

pop, jazz, & other by subject

Living a Beautiful Life

~ Short Stories, Flights of Fancy and Everyday Anecdotes ~

Complex Distractions

conversations about music, life, and the alien overlords

vinnieh

Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

mixolydianblog

music is life, music is breath, music is us

A (Mostly) Music Blog

Some other stuff too, but mostly music.

Boppin's Blog

Albums, concerts, reviews, audio gear, how to's

Tangled Up In Music

Music Reviews (and other things)

Mike Slayen ~ Guitarist

Guitarist For Your Weddings, Private/Corporate Events & More

LP on 45

Celebrating how rock music sends us, saves us, and shows us our true selves—one single at a time

Free City Sounds

Album Reviews by Marshall Gu

80smetalman's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

mikeladano.com

LeBrain's Record Store Tales & Reviews

Every record tells a story

A Blog About Music, Vinyl, More Music and (Sometimes) Music...

KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

CD & Festival reviews

by Jon Wilmenius

the EARL of SWIRL

"to be average scares the hell out of me"

1001albumsin10years

Just another WordPress.com site

Thunder Bay Arena Rock

Hard Rock Album and Concert Reviews! (Odd Book Review as well!)

Caught Me Gaming

Confessions of a Casual Core Gamer

%d bloggers like this: