You know the trouble with this world? Not enough "Peace, Love and Understanding" and too damn many rock stars!
Well, Elvis Costello might have inherited Buddy Holly's glasses and Elvis Presley's name, but he sure doesn't want to be a rock star: "I'm in a foxhole I'm down in a trench. I'd be a hero, but I can't stand the stench." And that goes for all those socialite heroes that populate uptown on Thursday nights. He catches your eye, he looks good in the dark, but "He's not the man you think he can be."
No, what this world needs is love, love. But you gotta be careful, you gotta know the difference between real love and the kind you get in "B Movies": "Everybody's on the make, It's not your heart I want to break." It comes down to realizing that we're all human, and we all "need, need, need the Human Touch."
And even that's not enough for us at this point in history, hell, this is the 21st century soon, it's almost like a "New Amsterdam, it's become much too much. Till I have the possession of everything she touches, (Till I put on the brakes to get out of her clutches), Till I speak double-dutch to a real double-dutchess... Though I look right at home, I still feel like an exile."
And the ethereal acoustic strumming makes you realize the fine line between love and possession, possession/freedom, love/hate, guilt/innocence, there are so many contradictions in this world, "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down,"
I can't even tell side one from side two, the record label and the record cover say two different things, is this side one or two, but I guess it doesn't matter, the whole thing's a circle, just like these songs, it never resolves itself, just comes back to the same themes, the same questions. "5ive Gears In Reverse, You think I don't know what I'm doing, Somebody send out for the night nurse," and quick, too, cause we're sinking fast, grabbing all the metaphors that make sense, and a lot of them do make sense, "Love For Tender" says love equals money: "You're so in love and so sincere, just like a well-known financier... You can put your money where your mouth is."
And "High Fidelity" means love, not what you hear on your stereo, but it makes for a hell of a comparison: "Even though you're nowhere near me, and I know you're kissing so sincerely. I suppose you'll never know about High Fidelity. Can you hear me, can you hear me?"
Too much bull in this world, word plays, double entendres, hidden meanings. "You lack lust, you're so lackluster. Is that all the strength you can muster?" "This is my conviction. that I am an innocent man." "I stand accused (of loving you) and I'm guilty." "I'm so affected in the face of your affection." "My case is closed, my case is packed."
Well, there's a tot of fast ideas, but after a while they start to stick, all the contradictions, and you start to wonder why the band is called The Attractions and not The Rejections, the way they tease and taunt the singer, following him at that blinding speed, this guy really does write songs faster than most people can listen, but the band is right there, even pushing Elvis faster, faster.
The organ is the real stand-out, like a happy, happy carnival, making you cock your head and ask: "What is that noise and why?" All the music today is too bass-heavy, anyways, give them a little high energy, high frequency keyboard to pierce those thick ears, most of you probably won't even hear it, it's too obnoxious, you just tune it out.
And don't look to the drum beat to keep you dancing, if you're wearing your new wave shoes, you might as well pull up a chair and stand on it, there's a lot to see over, the beats are too spunky, sometimes one-dimensional, but never mechanical or predictable, reality was never like that, and those of you who love the rock and roll guitar will feel lobotomized or at least lost, the guitarist took the month off, Elvis is out front all the way, the vocals are what count, they carry not only the melody, but the message, and there's plenty of melody in these songs, isn't there, Linda?
It's a good thing the Beatles make it ok to write your own rules, this type of stuff confuses enough people as it is. That everyman voice of pain, frustration, domination and cowardice, so bitter, impatient, angry, just like the lyrics, the only way to stay sane is to Get Happy!!