I have never loved a rocker more or been more consistently tired of a rocker than Elvis Costello. The first time I saw him on stage was the day “Red Shoes” was released, two weeks before My Aim Is True saw the light of day, and the next time I see him live is two weeks from now at Carnegie Hall, in between I have followed him with an obsessive bewilderment. My Aim Is True was simply the most important album in my entire life.
But then what? The Roots album? National Ransom? Cruel Smile? One terrible terrible album after another. I think I took it personally, I really do. It felt like his dilettante genre jumping was rampant egotism cutting off his gifts at the legs, if not a little higher.
Thursday night, Costello was a last minute substitute for Lana Del Rey on Letterman and pulled out a song he wrote Wednesday night, also the name of the solo show I will be catching at Carnegie Hall, “The Last Year Of My Youth”; a Dylan-y story song with just electric guitar and a gorgeous melody to keep it going and you can hear it here on CBS.com.
For the first time in decades, Costello caught my mood, the sense of time passing by and of ends arriving and yes he over sings it and over writes the lyrics but I don’t care: it reminds me of a pop version of Kings Of America. In its own way it is a straight up masterpiece. An astounding piece of work, man, here and now he did it again! PS I couldn’t get the youtube so go to CBS by all means but here is an acoustic medley by one James Paul McCartney just for the shits and giggles.
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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – January 1983 (Volume 14, Number 8)
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