THIS BREAK UP MUST HAVE BEEN A KILLER…

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Early summer of 1986.  There was a very unusual opening to an edition of Whistle Test.  No presenter telling us what was coming up on the show.  Just a quick blast of the theme tune and straight into what turned out to be a stunning performance by Elvis Costello & The Attractions of a song which contains what must be one of the most vicious and vindictive lyrics ever penned:-

He’s a fine figure of a man and handsome too
With his eyes upon the secret places he’d like to undo
Still he knows who knows who and where and how
And I hope you’re happy now

He’s got all the things you need and some that you will never
But you make him sound like frozen food, his love will last forever
Still he knows what you want and what you don’t allow
And I hope you’re happy now

I hope that you’re happy now like you’re supposed to be
And I know that this will hurt you more than it hurts me

He’s acting innocent and proud still you know what he’s after
Like a matador with his pork sword, while we all die of laughter
In his turquoise pajamas and motorcycle hat
I hope you’re happy now because you’ll soon put pay to that
I knew then what I know now I never loved you anyhow
And I hope you’re happy now

It’s really only when you see them written down on the page that you get the full extent of the bitterness contained in the lyric.  All spat out over an incredibly catchy, infectious and jolly tune:-

mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions – I Hope You’re Happy Now

One of my favourite tracks from Blood & Chocolate which is is my favourite EC album.  At the time with nine years of extensive chart hits behind him, it felt as if he’d been going forever and a day.  27 years on and he shows little sign of slowing down

There’s also a great solo, maybe even demo version of the song:-

mp3 : Elvis Costello – I Hope You’re Happy Now (acoustic)

This version was originally  made available on the b-side of the 12″ of I Want You which is another song with an uncompromising and uncomfortable lyric but it has the tune to match:-

mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions – I Want You

Enjoy? It doesn’t seem the appropriate word somehow….

10 thoughts on “THIS BREAK UP MUST HAVE BEEN A KILLER…

  1. Blood & Chocolate renewed my love of Costello. He lost me a bit at the time with Almost Blue and Imperial Bedroom and Punch The Clock seemed sort of uninspired. With hindsight and decades to reassess, I now love the moodier, almost C&W Costello and Punch The Clock’s poppier leanings are pleasing. But Blood & Chocolate is one of his strongest records. The opening three track are just brilliant!

  2. My favourite too. Amazing that this and king of America came out in the same year

  3. The last, great Elvis Costello album. The last contiguous one in the Record Cell. Following this one, the collection flits here and there at best. Echorich – He lost me with “Goodbye Cruel World!” Surely his nadir? EC thinks so, anyway. But “Blood & Chocolate” won me back, then I went back and bought “Almost Blue” and “Imperial Bedroom.” Don’t sell “Imperial Bedroom” short. It’s a stunning work, and my favorite of the post “Get Happy” albums.

  4. Ah excellent, I much prefer the acoustic version, both this and the A side were the soundtrack to a messy breakup a long while ago and I know I was wallowing but I’m happy now.

  5. Remind me to email you Scarfo’s version of I Want You. I think its better than the Elvis Costello Version.

  6. Well Monk, I pulled Imperial Bedroom out today and gave it a good listen. I forgot how much I love You Little Fool and Human Hands. Reassessment in progress! It does have a slickness thanks to Geoff Emerick – but too much Beatles will do that to a producer. Now to tackle Almost Blue…

  7. For THE most ‘vicious and vindictive lyrics ever’ see Shellac’s Prayer To God… (great blog – thanks for The Smiths live show you posted a while ago)

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