This Year's Model

“Yes he was alright, the song went on forever.” — Z. Stardust

So it’s been awhile.  Four months actually.  New job.  Grad school.  Life.  It all adds up.  But my new year’s resolution is to get back to posting.  So here we go again.  Still a little sad over the passing of the Man Who Fell To Earth a couple days ago.  But the show goes on and here we are with a British rocker who I’m sure was influenced by Bowie, Elvis Costello.  Well, some Bowie, and a lot of Buddy Holly’s personal style, and of course Elvis Presley’s first name (I suppose if my birth name was Declan Patrick MacManus, I would think about changing it too).  So the leader of the new wave is a combination of several different influences.  My first Elvis Costello album was actually given to me by ma soeur about 20 years ago…it was a CD copy of “My Aim Is True”.  I listened to it a few times, but it really wasn’t my thing at the time.  Then, when I was teaching middle school, I remember doing a unit on Costelllo in general music when he was elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.  The kids hated it.  But I picked up a greatest hits album at Used Kids so I could play “Radio, Radio” in class.  And about that time it started to notice how much airplay he got, and still gets, on the local independent alternative radio station here in the Bus, CD101@102.5.

As such, I guess I would consider Costello to be one of the fathers of alternative rock.  And for that reason I dig his place in music history.  However, this album, which I picked up for $6.99 at the Half Price Books on Lane Avenue, is a little too new wave for my taste.  It’s the over use of synthesizers that bugs me most, which I suppose is hypocritical of me since “Radio, Radio” and its big synthesizer hook is my favorite song on the album.  And “Pump It Up” also works with the synthesizer over a very strong “My Sharonaesque” beat (actually, I think “Pump It Up” came first, so maybe “My Sharona” is “Pump It Upesque”…and what about that Escape Club song from the late 80s “Wild, Wild West”, which pretty much rips off “Pump It Up”).  Anyhow, I wish this album were a bit punkier and more guitar driven.  But I suppose if the new wave had never happened in the 80s, alternative rock would never have happened in the 90s, and then we’d all be a bunch of angry metal heads waiting for the next Disturbed album to come out, and who really wants to be that person?

Other Lists: Elvis Costello is #80 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists.

My favourite track: “Radio, Radio” (I am still going to count it even though it was only on the American release of the album)

Honourable mention: “Pump It Up”

Quote: “I wanna bit the hand that feeds me.  I wanna bite that hand so badly.”