56. Elvis Costello and the Attractions – (I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea (1978)

There’s going to come a point, I’m sure, at which all of my hyperbolic gushing about the awesomeness of bands is going to start to sound like just so much meaningless noise about a bunch of ugly old dudes. But I hope we haven’t hit that point yet, and that you can still take me somewhat seriously instead of rolling your eyes and muttering, “Here he goes again…”

That said, let me say that Elvis Costello has one of rock music’s all-time greatest voices — gravelly and tremulous at the same time, which is quite a feat — and he’s one of my very favorite songwriters too. Plus he’s been making consistently great music for thirty-five years now, which isn’t something you could say about many of the old geezers out there. And when he’s backed by the Attractions — arguably the tightest live band in history — the combination is unstoppable. Check out the performance below and tell me I’m wrong.

(This, however, is easily the sweatiestI have ever seen him. Who the hell was controlling the thermostat?)

What does Elvis Costello have against Chelsea? Why does he so badly not want to go there? Good question; I’ve never seen a satisfactory answer to this. And so when you guys move to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in a few short weeks, you’ll just have to sort it out for yourselves. And then let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be listening to this on repeat.

Elvis Costello


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