Friday, September 14, 2007

My Aim is True

The album was released 30 years ago this year. Sgt. Pepper is 40. If Nirvana is our Elvis and Radiohead is our Beatles, who's our Elvis Costello? Beirut's too happy. Kanye West is too wealthy. Can you write great music without the requisite fear and loathing? A Day in the Life had it. Beethoven had it. Even Stevie Wonder had it.

Along the lines of, if you don't set out to be better than the Beatles why try, if you don't have a problem with life why write about it? But who has ever reached the lofty heights implied by my rambles? Zinedine Zidane.

Have a good weekend folks.

Listen to this interview with Elvis Costello back before he realized that everything post-Imperial Bedroom was crap and decided to refocus his efforts on penning brilliant short autobiographical pieces for his album reissues.


Schrödinger's Penguin said...

I think it's ridiculous to automatically cut Kanye out of the running because he's 'too wealthy'. In his own sense, Beethoven was wealthy too. Although Mr. West may be a bit deluded at times (even insane), his music has a quality to it that is all but refreshing in this time of droll and horrendous music (see: 50 Cent's Curtis). His lyrics are an inspiration to many, as he rails about middle-class society.

Little Earl said...

I can just hear Lester Bangs howling with pained glee at Greil Marcus's description of Elvis Costello:

"He combined the brains of Randy Newman with the implausibility of Bob Dylan, the everyman pathos of Buddy Holly with the uniqueness of John Lennon."

Keep on trying, Greil, keep on trying. On a different note, I've always found it interesting how Elvis Costello's speaking voice sounds almost nothing like his singing voice. When you hear him speak, you'd think his singing voice would sound more like Paul McCartney or Elton John, not some five-time Tetris champion with a bronchial infection. By contrast, listen to Tom Waits speak, and then listen to Tom Waits sing. No surprises there.

yoggoth said...

You're right! The same thing crossed my mind when I was listening to that interview in my car. I've often wondered how various people figure out how they are going to sing. Almost everyone has at least 2 'voices' they could use, one breathy and one direct. Did they just sing to themselves until they found one that worked?

That's one great thing about Tom Waits. You hear him sing and you think, hey, he's putting me on. But then you hear him talk and he actually does sound like that.

yoggoth said...

Oh, and to Mr. Penguin, I just listened to Stronger by Kanye and correct me if I'm wrong but isn't it just about scoring with a girl that he strongly desires? While I understand that that is a life-affirming process, is it admirable content for a singer who uses higher education metaphors and purports to see through the system?

The Akira video with Daft Punk is okay, but I was sorely disappointed that it ended without a pulsing, oozing Kanye biomass. In other words, Kanye referenced something cool but did nothing cool with it. Par for the course.