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The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 7-16-21 – 7-22-21, Elvis Costello And The Attractions and Juanes “Pump It Up” Reviewed


Ever since Olivia Rodrigo pilfered the lick for “Brutal,” “Pump It Up” has been on all our minds in 2021, but if Olivia was gonna steal a lick for a rock song, she couldn’t have chosen much better than this one. If you you didn’t grow up with Elvis Costello, the chances are this is one of two Costello songs you know, the other (funnily enough) is a cover of Nick Lowe’s “What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding”. You know that song because its secular hymn quality has made it an anthem. “Pump It Up” you know because that thundering Pete Thomas drum roll is imbedded into our minds from trips to professional sports arenas.

So for Elvis to return to the scene of the crime is a pretty great idea, and to release the entire album where we got it from again as Spanish Model, with the old backing tapes and Latin American popstars where El’s vocals once were, is very, very clever and confusingly redundant. As anybody who took French Lit can attest, translating poetry (and lyric, anything that rhymes) from one language to another is a total pain, not only will it destroy the meter, it will also destroy the rhyme. On a barrelling revisionism, Juanes, who just dropped an English “Enter Sandman,” the Colombian singer who broke through in the first years of this new century, manages to sing through the rhymes and still have all of EC’s anger though not enough of his angst. Still, it is great vocal, and an extra 15 seconds of Costello and Mick Jones’ guitar at the end is icing on the cake

Grade: A-

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