The whole business is beginning to make me feel faintly sick. I mean, how Elvis Costello can just sit around making an apparently endless supply of records that are plainly and simply better than everybody else's except The Ramones and Muddy Waters is just beyond me. This single's so good that the very act of releasing it amounts to bragging on a colossal scale.
Cases: a dark, chunky rhythm track, Steve Naive's by-now-patented Garth Hudson lifts (check out Dylan's live version of "All Along The Watchtower" from the Flood double), spiky, angry guitar interpolations from The Man Costello, a mordant insinuating vocal and the Nick Lowe production to end all Nick Lowe productions (fat chance).
The song is a veritable blinder: a nightmare vision of the Swinging London of the mid-'60s — and, by extension, now — with imagery drawn from Blow Up and Smashing Time. The line "Call her Natasha but she looks like Elsie" is a direct reference to that latter movie, a hideous exploitation flick starring Lynn Redgrave, Rita Tushingham and Michael York.
Put it this way: Nick Kent bet anyone in the office a fiver that "Chelsea" would make top five and no-one would take him up on it. If Radar can maintain the standards set by their releases thus far, they should reign as unchallenged in their field as Costello does in his.