Elvis Costello: Newspaper Pane
Ace wordsmithery and an evocative soundscape mesh to fine effect.
By Kerry Doole
Elvis Costello - Newspaper Pane (Concord/UMC): We're not sure if the music of the English bard now qualifies as Canadian content, but we can certainly now stake claim to at least partial ownership of the prolific and acclaimed artist. After all, he's married to Canadian pop/jazz queen Diana Krall and has a residence in BC, as well as being managed by Canadian industry veterans, Steve Macklam and Sam Feldman.
On Friday, Costello released debuted Newspaper Pane, the fifth advance track from his forthcoming album, Hey Clockface, out on Oct. 30. The music for the song was written and produced in New York by composer/arranger, Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, Rufus Wainwright), in collaboration with guitarist Bill Frisell, and completed by lyrical verses Costello added from his westward locale.
Trumpeter Leonhart then punctuated Costello’s vocal with a horn arrangement, interweaving with Frisell's guitar and the playing of a New York rhythm section.
As press notes explain, "the text for Newspaper Pane opens with a description of a woman staring at promises of an unattainable life, printed on a sheet of newspaper that she has taped to a broken window pane against the elements."
This is Elvis at his wordiest finest. Sample lyrics: "Pictures of bright futures somehow ignored, That offered her finery she could never afford, Tempting out savings that she didn’t have or could never risk, Not a fashionable kindness, it was grotesque."
He delivers the lyrics over an intriguing musical soundscape constructed by some of the best in the biz, and the result is as energizing as Bob Dylan's recent superb work.
The song was mixed at Bigtop Studio, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles by Sebastian Krys, Costello’s co-producer for both Hey Clockface and the preceding, Grammy-winning, Look Now album with The Imposters. The accompanying video is a collaboration between Eamon Singer and Arlo McFurlow.
We look forward to the full album with real eagerness.
Publicity: Amanda McCauley, Indoor Recess
Management: Steve Macklam / Sam Feldman, Macklam Feldman Management
Agent: Marsha Vlasic, Artist Group International