Sunday, June 3, 2012

Song #209 of 9999 - Everyday I Write the Book by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Song #209 of 9999 
Title: Everyday I Write the Book
Artist: Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Year: 1983 
Album: Punch the Clock

It's funny to read about how much Elvis Costello doesn't like this recording and how he didn't really have an investment in this song he wrote in ten minutes, but "Everyday I Write the Book" seems to connect with people nonetheless. It was the first Top 40 hit in the US for the songwriter and yet he seems to hold such disdain for the recording, admitting that he likes to sing the song now (in an adapted arrangement) but doesn't care for the recording.

I'm not sure what's not to like. The song percolates with pop goodness. There's a really nice groove established from the outset and the plucky keyboard is a hook all by itself. The lyrics are quite clever, even if (probably because) they were written as an exercise. Costello is also starting to explore the soulful side of his voice that would pretty much take the place of his post-punk self. The backing vox offer a rich counterpoint to the melange of instruments perfectly blended into this very busy arrangement.

If you'd like to hear an arrangement that is more to Costello's liking, check out this beautiful acoustic version by Ron Sexsmith (and Elvis and others) which begins with Costello explaining pretty much everything I told you in the first paragraph.

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