Tokyo Storm Warning

“Is a travelogue; it’s about claustrophobia.”Elvis Costello (535)
“Well, I think it’s very easy to understand… it’s just a series of snapshots. A football hooligan’s view of the world. Songs like that, people look at them and they expect them to make sense. The point of them is they do not make sense. The world doesn’t make sense.”Elvis Costello (982)

Kid About It

“About the day John Lennon got shot. I didn’t want to believe the news. But I didn’t want to write some John-is-gone song. It had to be more subtle to have any meaning.”Elvis Costello (535)

This Town

“I think people put too much store in that one song [Radio Radio – Ed]. I could write another song that would be more precise about radio, now. Actually, I have, and it’s called “This Town”. That song’s about that same awful tendency to want to control everything.”Elvis Costello (537)

15 Petals

“Is a song about the way love picks you up and hurls you around the room. That’s a great feeling – a great thing to have happen to you.”Elvis Costello (538)

My Little Blue Window

“Is a note of thanks for someone who comes and redirects your gaze away from the melancholy view. I definitely need that. I’m naturally inclined to the melancholy side of things.”Elvis Costello (538)

New Lace Sleeves

“I wrote the first lines in about 1974. I was writing a big, grand song about postwar life; it was called “From Kansas to Berlin.” But the carnal comedy in there, all the embarrassment of the morning after — I didn’t know that stuff so well then. I knew it pretty well by the time of this song. It also was about class and control. People used to say Margaret Thatcher held her Cabinet with some sort of sexual magnetism. Power is seductive. The fact that the music was slinky suited the words.”Elvis Costello (580)

Beyond Belief

“We were also moving into the period of big open-spaced music — U2, Echo and the Bunnymen — and suddenly our tight little songs were out of step. This is a ranting kind of song. I was consciously writing words that didn’t make sense — to make a blurred picture, because I was living a blurred life.”Elvis Costello (580)

London’s Brilliant Parade

“It’s also the only thing I have ever tried to write about celebrating a place — and pointing out things that are not so beautiful about it.”Elvis Costello (580)
“It’s a funny song, that one. I didn’t want it to be a pious “Oh, the poor people on the street” song. Because, heaven knows, there are so many more talented commentators when it comes to that subject, like Phil Collins, doing it for me. And voting Tory at the same time, which is pretty ironic. I think anyone with any intelligence knows about homelessness. Me saying it doesn’t change the fact.”Elvis Costello (983)

When I Was Cruel No. 2

“The song is about accepting that there is a perception of you, and the music is backward-leaning and forward-leaning at the same time. I started out with all of these furious ideas, and people somehow feel it’s a betrayal if you don’t represent that all the time. But life is more complicated than that. There are sitting targets in the song, and the narrator is like, “I could have assassinated these people, but it’s not worth it anymore”. It’s not worth what it takes out of your soul to go back down that road.”Elvis Costello (580)

The Puppet Has Cut His Strings

“It’s an account of my father’s last days and hours. I wrote the lyrics in one draft and sang it in one take, into my computer on the kitchen counter. It’s described in a way as clear as I can — the way music was my father’s companion to his last breath. It’s a somber conclusion. But why be afraid of it?”Elvis Costello (580)