Sunday, August 21, 2022

Elvis Costello and the Attractions: Man Out of Time

There's a smell of decay about the Conservative Party and, far from refreshing things, its leadership contest is making that smell worse.

Which naturally leads to me to a song about political scandal and self-disgust.

Elvis explains:

A lot of songs are about the sort of disgust with your own self. There were a lot of things that I wasn’t very happy with during that time. I wanted songs to blow up the world. I had mad ambitions. Not mad as in "ambition to be famous". I never wanted that. That just came as an accident of it all. 
But somehow you look at yourself and you're not happy with what you see. I didn't want to write a self-regarding song, so I cast it in the clothes of political intrigue and what was going on in the world at that time. 
There was a famous political scandal in England going on then. It all sort of got wrapped up in the song. Sometimes a song will have a personal meaning and a public meaning. "Man Out of Time" is one of those.

There are many who name this as his best song. And Wikipedia says

The bulk of the song came from a one take performance that Costello later described as "among the best that the Attractions and I ever caught in a single take".

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