It's been cold and wet outside. We've all been sick. Football is over. Baseball's far away. And it seems like the only new tunes in the record shops are from Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.
But have no fear, friends, Elvis has saved the day.
Elvis Costello, that is. You know, "Alison," "Radio, Radio," "Everyday I Write The Book." You know, that geeky-looking skinny guy in the Buddy Holly glasses.
His new album Spike is hard not to rave about, so I'll do my best to control myself.
This is what music sounds like. This is how songs should be written. This is how you sing. This is how you play. This is how you produce creative records.
There is a reason Paul McCartney wanted to write songs with this man. There is a reason Chrissie Hynde wanted to sing with this man. There is a reason The Dirty Dozen Brass Band wanted to jam with this man. It wasn't his name, I'll tell you that. It's because Elvis Costello knows how honest, creative, sensitive music should be played.
Needless to say, all the above musicians sparkle on this 15-song gem.
Elements of jazz, pop, Sgt. Pepper's, and bagpipes from Hell twist and squeal through this record like musical snakes loose in a William Faulkner novel: complex, tangled and brilliant.
"Chewing Gum" sounds like a collection of drunken chimpanzees banging on pots and pans as Funkadelic strums some groovin' '70s soul guitar while some hippo plays tuba. Meanwhile, our hero is singing about the horrors of Asian mail-order brides in a song that will have you tapping your feet and feeling sorry at the same time.
"Satellite" is about an innocent young dancer. "She looks like an illustration of a cocktail party," Elvis croons. It's gentle and sensitive and tragic; but mostly beautiful. Chrissie Hynde is barely noticeable, but she's as perfect as that pinch of seasoning your grandma puts in her special spaghetti sauce.
Even the cover is cool.