A GUEST POSTING by JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER
They Said It Couldn’t Be Done…And It Can’t!
A few weeks ago JC posted Charged Particles #12, featuring a pair of songs by Graham Parker. In the comments folks got into a discussion about how the ‘angry young men’ of the era–Parker, Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson–had fared since their original heyday. I observed that, while I wasn’t that fond of Costello’s genre exercises and anemic later-career albums, I rated his early LPs so highly that “I don’t think I could narrow down a 10 song ICA from just his recordings with the Attractions.” It was Brian who responded: “Nobody has had the guts to do that so far.”
Of course Brian’s right. I once made a playlist for my daughter of ‘essential’ EC songs and there were almost 100 on it. And how can you pick less than 6 or 7 from Get Happy!! alone? In the past I tried to come up with several possible Elvis ICA’s — Best guests (Green, David Hidalgo, Mick Jones, Emmylou), Best collaborations (Coward Bros., Jimmy Cliff, Bill Frisell, Allen Toussaint), Best ‘color’ songs (Red Shoes, Green Shirt, Blue Chair etc.). I even have a list of songs with my favorite Bruce Thomas bass parts (B-Movie, Pump It Up, I Stand Accused, and so on.) But they were all cowardly. No, there’s absolutely no way to have a 10-song Elvis Costello ICA.
But then I thought there’s so much crappy news these days and the world is so fraught with stress, why not pitch something distracting into the mix that people actually care about? Why deny ourselves the pleasure of a good-natured pub argument, even if we’re thousands of miles apart? In fact, as I’m writing this I’m smirking a little, picturing you lot glaring angrily at your laptops, spluttering, “How could that bastard have left out X or Y or Z! It’s an outrage!”
So, what the hell — with no discussion of the songs at all here’s an ICA of the TEN BEST songs by Elvis Costello and the Attractions:
1. Accidents Will Happen
2. Beyond Belief
3. Clean Money
4. High Fidelity
5. Man Out Of Time
6. Oliver’s Army
7. Pump It Up
8. Radio, Radio
9. Strict Time
10. 5ive Gears In Reverse
BRING IT ON, homies.