This is HellLemme get a couple orders of business out of the way before we get to the music.
First, I’m already – already – seeing hits here for Christmas music. If you’re one of those people, you know now those links are dead. They have been for almost a year and I have no plans on resuscitating them. I probably will post Christmas music at some point, but I promise you it will not be before Thanksgiving.
Next are these annual end-of-year best of / worst-of / who-gives-a-shit-about-it lists. I plan to continue my tradition of non-participation in this list making. If you’re into that sort of thing, the LargeHearted Boy blog has already began aggregating lists.
I thought I had one other item on my curmudgeonly agenda, but it slips my mind at the moment so we’ll move on to the real reason we’re all here.
Apropos of nothing, I’ve got some Elvis Costello tonight, from his 1994 album Brutal Youth. Or, more accurately, from the 2002 Brutal Youth reissue bonus disk.
I originally bought Brutal Youth excited that Elvis was reuniting with the Attractions. Fifteen years later, the album has become one of my favorites. While it doesn’t have the angry energy of the first three albums, it shows a more mature Elvis who wields his words like scalpel instead of a blunt edged instrument
One of my favorite tracks on the album is “This is Hell.” I’ve always liked the wordplay in the song and the way it seems to describe one of my worst nightmares: douchey nightlife (“The bruiser spun a hula hoop while all the barmen preen and pout ... This is hell, this is hell ... It never gets better or worse”).
The version here was recorded in December 1992 at Church Studios in London. It might almost be considered a demo take; the final version wouldn’t be done until early the following year. While Elvis plays bass on this version, Bruce Thomas returned to the band to play on the final album version.
The second song, “A Drunken Man’s Praise of Sobriety,” is a Yeats poem that Elvis set to music.
This is Hell (Church Studios version).mp3
A Drunken Man’s Praise of Sobriety.mp3