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May 31, 2006

Angry Eyeglass Frames

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Here are some YouTubes for all you fans of classic angry geekrock: Elvis Costello, still young and hungry, doing "Oliver's Army," "Pump it Up," and "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding." Here's an odd one: "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down," complete with subtitles. I had no idea those were the song's lyrics ...

Dweeby, surly, obnoxious, and kickass -- a combo that sometimes still suits me just fine. I love the low-fi/ Super-8 quality of the filmmaking too. Hey, here's Elvis in what's apparently his first TV appearance, doing a very confident "Alison."



posted by Michael at May 31, 2006


WSFAPLAU is a great song, with that great Nick Lowe power pop production. I was never deeply in love with Elvis C. But the first three albums were his golden age.

Funny how young he looks. Or how old I am now. Same thing, really.

Posted by: Lexington Green on May 31, 2006 8:18 PM

It's funny how settled and fat-cattish he's become too, isn't it? He ain't hungry any more! Elvis C. was the last popster I followed. Loved those early albums, and I held on until the mid'80s or so before letting go. There's some great stuff on "King of America." (T-Bone Burnett's production on that album helped a lot.) But pop music is all a big wash to me now. I hear it incidentally (at the gym, from passing cars, in the background at restaurants, etc), and that's about it. I have a theory that pop music is so limited in its resources that it's hard for artists to develop and grow -- there's simply no place to go, except outside pop music. Even traditional popular music offers a lot more in the way of complexity to explore than pop music does. I wonder if there's anything to this theory ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 1, 2006 10:59 AM

That's interesting, because he lost me around "King of America", too. But those early albums are something to behold, and always will be.

I remember a late-70s TV special called, I think, "Rock From the Beginning", full of interesting old footage from the 1950s and 60s. It ranged up into the 70s, and at the very end, played some of that "Pump it Up" video as an example of the latest, most outrageous music available.

What I'd like to see is a clip of his "SNL" appearance from 1977, starting off "Less Than Zero" and suddenly waving off the band to play "Radio, Radio" instead. I remember watching that as a fifteen-year-old, thinking "What the. . .", which (as it turned out) was exactly what Lorne Michaels and the folks in the booth were thinking, too. . .

Posted by: Derek Lowe on June 2, 2006 9:22 PM

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