Continuing the week of full ICA postings from the vaults, as offered up by various guests. This was ICA 136 on 7 September 2017.

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 anaemic 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.


JC adds…….

I had planned an entire week’s worth of full ICAs, from Monday To Friday, but having just received a very welcome guest posting, I’m bringing that in tomorrow with all the other posts shifting back a day.  I’ve also something else in hand for later in the month which means two of the proposed September postings will be held over till sometime next month.

Bear with me….it’ll all make sense!!!

3 thoughts on “NOSTALGIA IN SEPTEMBER (11)

  1. Hope I was kind first time around because I do love every one of these songs dearly. In fact, four of these might very well be in my ten on this day. 5ive Gears in Reverse… a particularly inspired choice!

  2. I gave up on Costello after Mighty Like a Rose when it all seemed to be getting too dense and forced or something. But then a few years ago I had the (admittedly mixed) pleasure of catching up on all the later stuff, which of course contains many very good songs, such as American Gangster Time and Bullets for the Newborn King to name but two. They are, however, scattered amongst a lot of songs that I could happily live without. Amongst the plethora of influences you can trace in Costello’s work I find the artist most frequently called to mind is Randy Newman, and I don’t really like Randy Newman much, which possibly accounts for my indifference to a lot of Costello’s later work in particular.

  3. I would applaud each of the ICAs that you mentioned. EC ICA every day for a month of sundays!!

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