"This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal Youth

Pretty self-explanatory
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Jack of All Parades
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"This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal Youth

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:57 am

Seventeen years in I still listen to this album with considerable pleasure. Not nostalgic[oh my god! he got the Attractions back together] but because for the most part it holds up after repeated listens as a 'solid' piece of pop craftsmanship.

As a record it manages to weld together the stronger components of the classic early records[muscular playing, biting lyrics, barbed observations] with the inspired usage of production and musical experimentation that stood out in albums like IB and PTC. It does not hurt, too, that he had recently learned how to read and annotate music. It shows on this record. Perhaps most importantly it is the album where I learned to not take each song and try to frame it within EC's life. I take seriously his admonition:

"So don't try to touch my heart
It's darker than you think
And don't try to read my mind
Because it's full of disappearing ink."

Now there are outright failures on this record. "Still Too Soon To Know" is painfully corny and chock full of lyrical cliches and it suffers from an exceedingly weak lyric. "My Science Fiction Twin" has always been nothing but gibberish and noise to my ears. "20% Amnesia" is yet another political rant that comes off poorly. It is a pattern I discern when EC injects politics into his music. The stronger the passion the weaker the song. I have often thought he would be better served writing an impassioned op-ed piece than a song that results from his indignation.

Take those three out and you have an eminently listenable and entertaining album. It may very well have one of the best opening sequences of songs since GH, IB and PTC, as the delicate opening chords of "Pony St" draw the listener in. Those first six songs are most satisfying. The lyrics are biting, fueled with strong images and lines, and the music is an invigorating arrangement of sounds for guitar, drum and keyboard. I really like the ballads with EC's emphasis on melody and sparser instrumentation. Yet again, on recent listens, I am reminded of the discernible contributions Bruce Thomas's bass playing brings to individual songs. In this case notably in "This is Hell", "13 Steps Lead Down" and "London's Brilliant Parade".

Re-listens have also reminded me how telling a social critic EC is. These songs are populated with the usual cast of characters: the liars, criminals, questionable women and their equally noxious admirers, philanderers and cheaters and just plain fools who have consistently populated his songs over the years. In hindsight, they seem a musical equivalent of a Hogarth print.

Many images stand out for me: the 'Das Kapital' reading daughter dealing with a cross dressing father and a mother who is acting bizarrely in "Pony St", the disturbing domestic drama of "You Tripped at Every Step", the dead end future portrayed in "Rocking Horse Road" as the antagonist is trapped in a mangled relationship, the dissection of temptation[in this case alcohol and sex] in '13 Steps Lead Down". The anger and taunts in "Just About Glad" is palpable-'Is that a tear in your eye?'. Women are consistently derided in these songs. "Sulky Girl" is a litany of insults and jeers.

A personal favorite is "This is Hell", yet another vivid imaginary depiction of the afterlife[funny how there is never a purgatory or heaven]. Who cannot love a world that is depicted as a place where "My Favorite Things" is playing on a continuous tape loop but is sung by Julie Andrews and not played by John Coltrane? I love the thought that there is a new ring in Hell and it comprises the punishment of exposure to constant commercial banality.

I would have substituted "Life Shrinks" for the earlier three non-performing songs that fail to connect with me. This album may as well contain another contender for Alexv's strong ender list-"Favorite Hour" and its 'terrible anticipation of a dreaded event', though if I were editing it I would cut the final verse. It adds nothing to the this frighteningly beautiful song.

I love how EC looks back in this album, rediscovering the joys of being in a band and then moves on in his successive work. This album has always had a feeling of a coda for me, a definite finality; a feeling that as an artist he had turned a corner, perhaps coming to peace with his former self and leaving himself ready to move on in his life and his music. Subsequent albums and songs have always seemed the work of a professional musician and writer; this one was the last one I thought contained the essence of an impassioned and inspired young artist. It has had a 'special' place because of that in my listening memory.

PS- the inner case sleeve of the Rhino re release contains a photo that I treasure. A sleeping, contemplative EC head resting on his guitar. An iconic image for me.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby the_platypus » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:02 pm

One of my all-time favorite EC records. I listen to it all the time.

I'm pretty fond of "Still Too Soon To Know". I have no problems with the lyrics. I agree it's a little cliché but it rings pretty true with people who've been through a certain... trauma, if you wanna call it that. Well, I can only speak for myself. I like the sound of the track a lot too: the sparse arrangement, the echo on EC's voice. It's a short little blurb of heartbreak.

"My Science Fiction Twin" is a song I just recently started appreciating for the wacky, off-kilter feel of it. Not a favorite.

I'm blown away by "London's Brilliant Parade" and "You Tripped at Every Step". Absolutely beautiful melodies. "Favorite Hour" is another gorgeous tune, though listening to the alternate version makes me wish they had gone with a full-band arrangement.

Just an all-around awesome album. 9/10.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby Top balcony » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:31 pm

the_platypus wrote:Just an all-around awesome album.


Completely agree

and twice the album that Momofuku is (despite the love fest taking place in a nearby thread)

Colin Top Balcony

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby sulky lad » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:48 pm

Top Balcony says
and twice the album that Momofuku is (despite the love fest taking place in a nearby thread)
. Spot on, TB, though not to deride Momo but BY was, as Christopher so eloquently states, a really important demarcation point in Elvis' musical career. His summation of the change to a professional musician is a perfect description as to how I feel Elvis changed from that point in his career. Of course, I would always advocate Bruce's playing as being a huge enhancement on any of Elvis' songs but the delicacy and care put into Sulky Girl, This Is Hell and You Tripped, in particular show a respect and a desire to play exactly the right notes and phrases to enhance these songs, and if, the rumour is true that 13 Steps was completed in one take , then what a amazing testament to four players performing at the peak of their respective powers. I was delighted to have the chance to see many Attractions performances at this time and was always awed by the strength of all the new material, even Science Fiction Twin rocked (much as I felt Sour Milk Cow Blues did in 1984.)
Still eminently listenable and a great motorway album, preferably driving alone and singing along with not a care in the world !

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby bronxapostle » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:53 pm

yes sulky...love BOTH beginning to end. BY showed that after not doing so for quite awhile, he could make a ROCK album ANY OLD TIME! same thing MOMO demonstrated so well fourteen years later! and the one time i caught a SCIFITWIN live it was AWESOME (jones beach!)

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby pophead2k » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:01 pm

Definitely a top shelf EC album for me, and, as I've noted here before, 'You Tripped at Every Step' is my all-time favorite EC song. I like everything on this album. 'Rocking Horse Road' is probably my least favorite song, but not a bad song. I understand Christopher's criticisms of 'Still Too Soon to Know', but I feel like EC was trying to write this year's torch song and that the lyric is meant to be simplistic. I enjoyed his live version with symphony from a few years ago. I love 'My Science Fiction Twin' because of the lyric. This was when Elvis was a wild Renaissance man: learning to drive for the first time, write music, speak Italian, appreciate art, etc. I feel it is a wry commentary on this feverish self-improvement program he had embarked on. Just a great album through and through.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby bronxapostle » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:11 pm

don't forget ALL THE RAGE! my favorite from the lp after seeing it LIVE for the first time in 42 degree weather Cleveland June 2, 1994, E sang the SHIZZ out of it. my recording is stellar if this one does NOT circulate!

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby History Repeats » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:44 pm

Great album---the point about its importance at the time, particularly after Juliet Letters, MLAR, Spike...previous confederates, etc is really important. It was a true Rock album and was brutal (pardon the bad pun) in coming straight out and hitting hard. I know for me the level of excitement that he was back to this type of playing was thrilling...I was drawn into Elvis on TYM, so a return form along that mode was good news indeed...

There was also an excellent "Musician" magazine artcle at the time about the band getting back together---i will try to dig it out and post here for everyone

Excellent album, excellent tour---I'm sure those of you who caught it would agree.

In hindsight, the point made here about demarkation is excellent one to where BY stands relative to what preceeded it and followed it.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby History History » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:03 pm

A top notch album from Elvis. There is one song that is definately autobiographical : London's Brilliant Parade where EC grudgingly admits to happiness:

'Just look at me I'm having the time of my life or something quite like it'There's also a mention of the Diorama where he met Cait O'Riordan.

Does anyone have a copy of the Time Out article they could post where Elvis went on a tour of the places mentioned in the song?

The cover is shown here (9th Nov 1994):
http://www.timeout.com/london/covers-archive/year/1994

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby sulky lad » Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:22 pm

History History mentions Musician magazine which has the greatest photo of post reunion Attractions ever with Elvis cradling a fat pooch and all the Attractions obviously laughing at some in-joke - the most relaxed and at ease shot of them ever !
BA I've got Saratoga Springs from 2 June 1994 but it's incomplete - please tell me you've got the whole show !! :P

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby bronxapostle » Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:39 pm

no, June 2nd is BLOSSOM Cuyahoga, ohio

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby A rope leash » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:40 pm

It was during that short time I lived in Omaha. I drove every inch of that state and most of Iowa.

I tuned to a local college station out of Lincoln...they were having some sort of excitment about Brutal Youth, and selling Elvis as some sort of alternative Bob Dylan. I'm afraid that when they played Thirteen Steps Lead Down over the airwaves, a lot of young Nebraskans said WTF, and this was way before text abbreviation.

I ran out and bought the Cd, just because I was so damn proud to be one of the few Elvis Costello fans to be found in the Great Plains region. Brutal Youth was played loudly and repeatedly in my under-done basement apartment, on a cheap "boom-box". Yeah, we used to have boom-boxes.

I can't believe how long ago that was. I was into a new thing called "ice beer", and having some remarkably wicked dreams. I bought a Graham Parker collection during that same time...Passion is No Ordinary Word. I wore that one out, too.

I flew a gal out from Los Angeles. She smoked like a stack. I cannot recall the name. She didn't care for Omaha. Her brother raced motorcycles professsionally.

Brutal Youth is a recording that was very important for Elvis. It cleaned him up and set him at the fore once more. It is the recording where he proves that he is The Bee Gees and The Beatles...BB King and The Rolling Stones, Steppenwolf, Pearl Jam, Burt Bacharach and Mozart. What kind of a song do you want? Elvis has it right here...

I enjoyed this recording while driving a rather strange utility vehicle hundreds of miles a day way out there where even the grass wonders why. The bass and the "Attraction's Snar" pretty much destroyed my equipment. I eventually became very close to the music...as always Elvis is a torturous lesson, never failing to get his act across, yet always satisfying the urge. It bogs a bit in the middle, but This is Hell catches on after five-thousand listenings. There are several gems here, the jazzy Clown Strike, the melancholy Rockinghorse Road...but I think the ulitmate satisfiers here are Kinder Murder, 13 Steps Lead Down, and All the Rage.

I did a tribute to Just About Glad right here on Tin Pan Alley. I wonder if that's still around. I used to be insane.

The corporation shut down and gave me six months severance. Those were the days. I went to Missouri and worked for the cable company a while. Then I went back to California, and got into commercial satellite. I remember playing the CD during a rollout...while my partner suffered the long miles. All he said after listening to it was "I need a drink..."

There should be a good video of Elvis performing songs from this release on the Letterman show. As I recall, he plays a nasty guitar on Kinder Murder

I can't say my life has been uninteresting.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby A rope leash » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:44 pm

Is it "better" than Momofuku?

Momofuku is my current love.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:46 am

Does anyone have a copy of the Time Out article they could post where Elvis went on a tour of the places mentioned in the song?


It's here -

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2223&hilit=Elgar

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby the_platypus » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:40 am

Now that I think of it, "Still Too Soon to Know" sounds like it could be a demo for a Painted From Memory track.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby alexv » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:01 pm

I really like BY. Loved the return to that combo sound from the early records, coming as it did after Spike and MLAR. Lovely melodies. Many of the songs are nostalgic, if not downright playful. London’s Brilliant, Science Fiction, Clown Strike, 13 steps, Rocking Horse and Glad are my particular favorites.

I agree with you Christopher, on Still Too Soon, pretty much for the same reasons. I find it dull, and the lyric almost too direct and spare (and whiny?) for our Boy.

But I love Science Fiction Twin. That is one of those EC songs where the lines just seem to inject themselves right into my brain, to create sing-along Elvis.

There’s a lot of EC in this song: the part about filling up his purse dictating verse I think is a direct reference to his having gone to Italy to spend some time painting (or just looking at art), bringing his nieces along, and then in his spare time composing those songs for Wendy James. The part about the once-infamous flame and the tattered pictures of her daughter brings Bebe and the Tyler girl to mind. And I love this line: “his almost universal excellence is starting to disturb me/they asked how in the world he does all these things and he answered “superbly”. That’s EC on EC. It’s a great song, and it feels as if EC is having himself a blast, poking fun at himself.

London’s Brilliant Parade is another favorite. It’s one of his great lyrics, of any era. There is a dreamy element to it. Just before dream arrives he takes in the scene as the boys are swept away by the police, draining the joy from their lives. I love how the line evokes someone looking from a hotel window in the early dawn as the street sweepers come by sweeping the streets, except it’s humans that are discarded. And then he follows it up with a walk through a changed City, memorable for its loving detail. A great song. Rocking Horse Road is another song where he takes us for a dreamy walk with a beautiful melody and some great descriptive lines, from the other side of the world.

I love the swing of Clown Strike. It’s right out of Get Happy. The opening stanza is memorable, as is the song as a whole. Love the Culture Club quote. This I think is a true “love song”, EC style. Just About Glad is the opposite: the classic EC song where he revels in having “not” gotten involved; not having done that thing. A love song and an anti-love song.

Not a big fan of Pony Street. The lyric in that song has always bothered me a bit. This was the time when EC was going on about how the new generation was “faking taking the drugs that their parents took”. He sounded a little too much like an old fogey. And this song is all about that. It’s a nasty little attack on a generation he viewed as somehow phony in a perverse way. The kids are more conservative than the parents. The little martinet “needs instruction in mindless destruction”; she’s from a “generation that confesses before it transgresses”; and she thinks mother is “mortifying from the hole in her leopard skin tights”. But mommy has the last laugh: “you and your cartoon threat do no good to resist me/for I am the genuine thing but for you it’s just history”. I think he was making way too much out of something that deserved a lot less attention.

Thirteen Steps, a song I like a lot, also has a little of that EC hobby-horse stuff, but the sheer power in the song and the melody take over. During this period he was also going on about the kids and their obsession with druggy mood music. A little of that creeps in here, but the song works anyway.

Kinder Murder (a little too sordid for my taste) and Amnesia (screaming Elvis) are the only other skippables here, along with Soon. Everything else works.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby taramasalata » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:25 pm

But I love Science Fiction Twin. That is one of those EC songs where the lines just seem to inject themselves right into my brain, to create sing-along Elvis.
There’s a lot of EC in this song: the part about filling up his purse dictating verse I think is a direct reference to his having gone to Italy to spend some time painting (or just looking at art), bringing his nieces along, and then in his spare time composing those songs for Wendy James. The part about the once-infamous flame and the tattered pictures of her daughter brings Bebe and the Tyler girl to mind. And I love this line: “his almost universal excellence is starting to disturb me/they asked how in the world he does all these things and he answered “superbly”. That’s EC on EC. It’s a great song, and it feels as if EC is having himself a blast, poking fun at himself.


Very well said alexv and besides that, I love the sound of that song, the pumping bass&drum line intro, the way the guitar kicks in giving the listener a shriek, EC's voice with controlled anger, SN's hammond whimpering in the back, it all the serves the hilarious lyrics perfectly, amazing!
Talking of the sound: I hold BY to be one of or maybe the best-sounding album of all of his works. For once Mitchell Froom didn't exaggerate his beatlesque mellowness, which makes some of his production work a bit tame IMO. BY has a very direct, slighty harsh, very powerful and carnal sound and EC did hardly ever sing better, very soulful, very confident in his abilities with a wonderful timing (just listen to the way he sings the line „like so many famous pop songs do“ in one of his most beautiful ballads ever, You tripped at every step, I'm with you pophead2k!)
Really a glorious near farewell, ATUB much more seems like an epilogue, a bit like Let it be after Abbey Road, some great songs in a somehow a bit undecided production, with much less of that breathtaking combination of tight solidity and vibration the Attractions demonstrated for the last time on BY.
One last comment on the, also IMO two weakest songs on BY, Still too soon to know and 20% Amnesia: While BY has never been released on vinyl, as far a I know, I think Still would have fitted very well as the final song on Side A, while Amnesia would have worked very well as the opener on the B side, glued together as known on the CD version eventually makes them appear weaker then they are.
Overall a great discussion on this thread about my second favourite EC record, from Christopher’s „turning point“ to A Rope Leash'a always captivating personal stories.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby Poor Deportee » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:59 am

I've waited for a while to post in this thread, because my experience with this album is problematic. I fear that in this specific instance I was young and callow enough to be a victim of the very thing EC has railed against: simplistic media narratives that wrongly condition expectations.

This was widely billed as a 'return to EC's punk roots,' an 'Attractions reunion,' and, because it came out in the heat of the Nirvana-driven grunge craze, it even got framed along the lines of the 'old master showing the upstarts how it's done.' (The title didn't help in this respect, since it lent itself to precisely this reading, just as 'National Ransom' implies a sustained assault on financial exploitation when the real record is something much more complex). In that frame of mind, when I got the record and found it comparatively lacking in ferocity, and only incompletely involving the vaunted Attractions, my response was mixed and somewhat disappointed. That the nature of the sound led to me having a lot of trouble making a number of the lyrics, and there was no lyric sheet, further frustrated me. So I ended up 'sort of' liking it but never really getting into it.

Revisiting the album years later, I found it to be much closer to what Christopher so deftly suggests. My own spin would be to say: this is what mature rock and roll sounds like. When a 40 year old does it honestly, you get something different from (say) TYM - less hysterical, deeper, thoughtful, more controlled and not necessarily monolithically angry or desperate. It's grown up music, for grown ups, within that idiom.

All that being said, I still don't love the record. First - and unlike NR, which has a few - there aren't any songs that I would rank as among his very best work on it. In this sense the Momofuku comparison is apt (although I personally prefer the *sound* of the latter record). Second, there are weaker moments on here that signal that absence of really blazing inspiration that would kick in with ATUB and beyond. 'This is Hell' is a great idea but the first two verses are uninspired and the whole one-dimensional affair palls with repeated listenings. '13 Steps' is exciting, with terrific guitars, but it's all in service of a lyric that fails to accomplish much in the end (I know he tried to explain it in interviews, but that's special pleading). This vagueness and ultimate lack of emotional punch foreshadows a lot of the writing on WIWC. 'Too Soon,' well, 'nuff said, except to add that it's another signpost, this time to the strained oversinging that would mark so much of the '90s. I rather enjoy the rant and ham-fisted sound of 'Amnesia,' but 'SF Twin' (like 'Invasion Hit Parade' before it) reveals another later-career EC weakness: a good lyric in search of a melody. After the tight verses that composition is a melodic mess. And I know I speak treason here, but even 'London' - while lovely and heartfelt - tiptoes toward self-indulgence, inasmuch as the real resonance demands some emotional investment in the city of London that not all of us possess. (By contrast, The Pogues's devastating 'London You're a Lady' shows how this sort of song can be pulled off to truly universal effect).

On the other hand, the album's not exactly a dog either. Material such as 'All the Rage,' 'Favourite Hour,' 'Tripped,' the delightful throwaway 'Just About Glad,' 'Kinder Murder,' and especially 'Rocking Horse Road' is all great. 'Clown Strike' is a particularly interesting case. In many ways a terrific song, it's let down by one thing: the title phrase itself. Another moment where he needed a melodic idea. As I recall he really solved it in the tour, where the phrase became musically explosive.

Alexv, I think you misinterpret the spirit of 'Pony Street.' To me that song reads more like an indictment of the insufferable self-superiority of the archetypical baby boomer - the mother who refuses to allow the daughter to live her life on her own terms. Fitting that she gets the last suffocating word. That the daughter doesn't come off too well is just par for the Costello course; the point is that the mother figure is at least as pathetic and grotesque as her child. (Plus that line about 'reading Das Kapital/watching Home Shopping Club' is one for the ages! :D ).
Last edited by Poor Deportee on Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby alexv » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:58 pm

PD, like you, I don’t “love” this record. I like it a lot though, and in the post-KOA period I like it more than any other EC record except PFM and NR. Right up there with Momo, too.

The weaker moments that you spotlight don’t really kick in with me as they do with you. I’m going to channel your earlier arguments about the limits of subjectivity when it comes to judging art, by saying that with the exception of a couple of songs, even the weaker songs on the records have a lot going in their favour. So, it does become a matter of taste, how much does this fit into what we like EC for.

There are some songs I have strong feelings for and against, though. I dislike Too Soon and 20%, and Kinder Murder is a skippable. But the rest I like, and some of the stuff I think is great.

I love London, Clown and Rocking Horse. I don’t see the self-indulgence in London, and I don’t think real resonance demands emotional investment in the City. Well, maybe it does, but I think the song is great even without the special resonance. I think it’s a beautifully written dreamy chronicle of the City as seen through EC’s eyes (or whatever eyes he had in mind when he wrote it).

I love Clown. To me it’s GH-worthy and that is high praise indeed. It may have limitations, but in Alexv land they melt away to the bouncy beat. I particularly love the opening stanza:

She'll fix you with an iron cross
And cover you up with petals
And hang you up with some amber beads
And four or five precious metals
And in that black flamingo chair
You'll sit among her trophies
And pray to be abandoned
Till you don't know what hope is

To Do list: get an iron cross, petals, amber beads, a flamingo chair and my tennis trophies. Call wife....

I'm back, and refreshed. What was I going on about? Oh yes....

On Pony Street, EC summarized the song by saying it was a rock and roll song where the daughter is the parent to the mother. You can definitely read both sides into it: the insufferable baby boomer vs. the pop tart. It’s EC, so you are not going to get just one group being attacked. Everybody is razed.

What I am saying, and it’s only because I have a vague recollection of EC going on about this, is that the lyric was a product of what I at the time thought was one of EC’s new favourite hobby horses: in this case, attacking the conservatism of the young. Conveniently enough, they were not buying his records.

He may have been taking on both sides, but what bothers me is that his comments at the time, and the lyric, focus more on what was lacking among the young, when compared to their 60s-youth elders. I don’t see any evidence in the lyric of the daughter being dominated by the mother, by the way. In short, I thought he was spending way too much time getting on the kids for not being hip enough, and when the song addressed the same themes I recoiled, perhaps overreacting.

On the title, I love the fact that it wasn’t even his idea. A friend suggested it, taking it from a line in “Favorite Hour”. Then he puts himself on the cover as a kid playing cowboys and Indians. Sheer comedy, well at least as much as you are going to get from EC. We learned about this much later. When I got the record and saw the pictures I, simplistically, thought that he was playfully echoing the “brutal youth” part by showing us that, for him, the brutality was all playacting.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby Jack of All Parades » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:17 pm

Alexv- my late brother would surely have provided me with the names of several establishments down in the Village that you could have visited on your way home in order to procure your needed paraphernalia for your extra curricular activity and I am certain there must be several ladies in Manhattan who could fit you into their 'black books' [ala Marv Albert]. Do strongly suggest given your advancing years that you have yourself checked out before engaging in such strenuous activities with your spouse. :D
PD- I think I catch your point on self relevance with LBP. It has always struck me as odd that the song is not populated with more characters other than the boys who are swept away at the beginning and the girl in the sports car. Have always thought the absence of human characters took away from the song-robbing it of the self relevance you mention. The song resonates for me as I have always thought London my favorite city in the world but can see where if you were not invested with such a feeling the song could come off as just a fancy travelogue reverie. That human connection is what gives a song like "Waterloo Sunset" or "Penny Lane" such a strong and visceral feeling for me. I think you are right in noting its absence in LBP. You are definitely right that it is a totemic album pointing to some of the characteristics that would plague later albums.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby alexv » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:14 pm

Thanks for the advice, Christopher. I passed out for a while, and apparently fell off the flamingo chair. We have our paraphernelia (as EC would say) here in Weston. Remember, Keif is a neighbor.

Back to BY, what the heck do you mean by ending your post with the totemic album reference? Emblematic of the weaker efforts to come? You are joking, right? Hey, that's three questions in a row, but I'm baffled. I do not, emphatically, see any of the weaknesses of WIWC, or TDM or Sulphur or Reverse. BY is IB compared to those records, or GH, or...well you get my drift. This album is full of hooks, melodies, and wit, is not marred by any kind of "concept" idea and doesn't have a hint of pretension. And, most importantly, it's the kind of music he's best suited for: beat music, beatles style. It's the 90s equivalent of his late 70s-early 80s work. Not the same kind of quality, but it's as close as he can come some 25 years and a lot of water under the bridge later. As PD says, this is what mature rock and roll sounds like.

And please don't compare LBP to Waterloo sunset or Penny Lane. Those are totemic songs and of course EC's songs suffers in comparison. He ain't Ray Davies or McCartney (although I irrationally prefer him to both guys, so there). By the way, I don't see how the absence of characters detracts from the effect of the song. The song works, for me, precisely because of the dreamy travelogue aspect of it. He's intentionally taking you through the neighborhoods. This isn't a song about London characters: it's a song about how one person who grew up in London at a very different time now sees those same streets.

I dread your response. By the time you are done BY will be in MLAR land in the CS household. Out with the trash!!

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:45 am

Alex- you may have the wrong Stone for those stores. Somehow do not think your part of CT has them and after all remember Keith is a 'cuddler' once you read his book. I am sure you checked out the Real Estate section piece from this past Sunday's Times about lovely Weston.

No chance that BY goes in the trash in my household. I firmly stand by my opening comments on the thread. I like this album. Always have. But I think PD makes a few valid points in his post re:elements in some of the songs pointing towards bad trends in subsequent albums, hence the 'totemic'. BY is a most enjoyable record..

The absence of characters in LBP has always puzzled me. I have just felt it would be a more powerful song had it been populated. It is strangely void of the human element which makes the other songs mentioned all the more powerful.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby docinwestchester » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:52 pm

What's the story behind the album cover photo? Is that lil' Elvis?

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby johnfoyle » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:13 pm

From Elvis' journal for the '02 tour -

viewtopic.php?t=2591&highlight=jools+holland

Sydney is also the home of my oldest friend, Joel – we can be seen sunbathing as lads in the pages of the “Brutal Youth” booklet.

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Re: "This isn't confession. This is pop music" re:Brutal You

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:45 pm

Always liked the photos shared on the sleeve and inside the booklet. Comparable in age, I have old photos in a family album of me in a cowboy outfit, six guns blazing from about the same time period. Height of cowboy mania as I imagine every 4 to 6 year old male in those days wanted to be a cowboy what with the plethora of Westerns on the television at that time. Last time I ever held a gun, as well.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'


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