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2009-06-03 - 9:52 a.m.

The release of his new album has inspired me to revisit Elvis this week.

(Note: the Elvis Costello Wiki is an astoundingly organized feat of human geekiness. I laud its creators!)

The new album (it's streaming at his site) was recorded in one 3-day session with T-Bone B., a live-in-studio set of Americana-flavored ballads-n-blues. Some of the songs were written for a Danish "chamber opera" about Hans Christian Andersen and Jenny Lind--oh, Elvis!

While I'm not drawn in a big way to roots music, I am moved and impressed that, 75 years after the release of his first album, EC is still writing great lyrics, still respectfully experimenting with styles and ideas, keepin' it real in da songwriting hood, and arguably, not just coasting.

Like a venerated family member that you take for granted, I forget sometimes how important Elvis was to me when I was young and impressionable, and how, between him and Randy Newman, I absorbed the idea that intelligent, artful, funny lyrics and catchy melodies are meant to be together--and nothing less will truly satisfy.

At this point, can we agree that he has had a longer period of uninterrupted artistic achievement than any of the classic-rock greats? I'm not saying everything he's done has been great, mind you, just that he hits more than misses, and hasn't released anything truly wretched.

thoughts? (7 comments so far)

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