Happy birthday to Elvis Costello, very probably the greatest lyricist of our times.
There are no words for my idol worship.
I am a fiercely loyal scrobbler. I joined last.fm in March of 2008 and I’ve been scrobbling everything I listen to, as much as possible, ever since. Here is my top 10, as it stands, currently.
1. The Beatles (865 plays)
2. The Rolling Stones (643 plays)
3. Elvis Costello (395 plays) + Elvis Costello & The Attractions (146 plays) = (541 plays)
4. Death Cab for Cutie (452 plays)
5. R.E.M. (436 plays)
6. The Smiths (351 plays)
7. Beach House (305 plays)
8. The Cure (303 plays)
9. The Replacements (280 plays)
10. Los Campesinos! (260 plays)
That my top 3 most played artists are from decades very much past is certainly telling about my tastes.
I wrote a book in which one short interlude extolled the virtues of the service, but since then I’ve found the way I use it has changed dramatically. I rarely use it to check up on other people — to assess their taste in music or find new things to listen to. I rarely use it for music recommendation. I now use it largely to track what I’ve listened to on Spotify. I use it to organize myself.
Even though I use several apps on Spotify to discover music, I find myself largely doing Google searches for things I should listen to and dumping them into playlist on Spotify. My next most common behavior is to find something on another website I want to listen to and mark it on Spotify by dumping it in a playlist. While their apps are helpful in finding new things, they’re not especially helpful for old things I’d be interested in. Lately I’ve searched on Google for most under appreciated jazz and best bossa nova albums.
Now I use last.fm to track what the hell I listened to and liked. If it was a random new track, found via an app or a playlist, or something old by an artist I’d not previously heard of, I can go back and find it again on last.fm. Because Spotify doesn’t offer any satisfactory way for me to do that.
Prediction: Bat For Lashes, who is presently #13 on my list, will rocket into the top 10 with the release of her new album in October.
And I have seriously got to start listening to somethings that will knock the Smiths off the list. That was largely for research for my book, I swear. I’m not that sad. Although the Cure being right up there might indicate otherwise.
Amazingly, Fiona Apple, who is in my top 5 artists of all time, doesn’t even break the top 50 in my list. I thought she would with her new album, which I love, but I find myself unable to listen to it. It’s too jarring. It puts me in a weird, dark mood. I appreciate its beauty but it’s not the kind of thing I can put on and then interact with other people after. It’s also not the kind of thing I can listen to just one bit of.
I’m in love with: Elvis Costello “I Hope You’re Happy Now”
As my Twitter (and Instagram) feed belies, I went to see him last night at the amazing Wolf Trap in…hm, I guess the city would be Fairfax, VA but for anyone who doesn’t ask questions like, “So is that inside the Beltway?” it would be DC. Due to some incredibly good karma and asking the right person the right thing, I landed an upgrade to the second row. WHERE I BELONG BECAUSE I AM A CRAZY STALKER WHO IS IN LOVE WITH ELVIS COSTELLO. Or, you know, just an enthusiastic fan. Or so I thought. There was an older gentleman sitting next to us who kept trying to creep up to the stage whenever Elvis came near-ish to get a setlist signed. I really wanted to explain to him that he’s an amateur, there was no way that was going to happen from the stage while the man had a guitar on but I digress.
Actually this entire post is a digression. I have nothing intelligent to say other than, “Isn’t Elvis Costello brilliant?” If you don’t already know that the answer is yes, get on that and I hope you’re happy now. Thank you.
Things I love: Elvis Costello “Lipstick Vogue”
Everyone has a favorite. Elvis Costello is my MOST FAVORITE EVER #1 ARTIST OF ALL TIME ZOMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE HIM. I have him on the brain because I booked my summer trip this week to go see him in June and I am painfully excited already.
Of all the Elvis Costello songs in the world, and there are so very many, this is my most favorite. This could possibly be because I am deeply bad at break ups and so is Elvis. He articulates his anger much better than I do. Can you imagine what a nightmare young Elvis Costello would have been to date? A disaster ball of bitterness and anger and I would have been so all about it. What can I say, I like ‘em difficult.
“Sometimes I think that love is just a tumor/You’ve got to cut it out.” You and me both, Elvis. Sometimes.
Elvis Costello opened for the Strokes at their MSG show? Then came up and did a song with them? Since Elvis Costello can Do.No.Wrong. then I am only left to conclude the Strokes don’t suck after all. Although I totally remember them sucking back when I saw them with the the White Stripes at Radio City Music Hall. Confusing.