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Elvis Costello — Deep Dark Truthful Mirror
Album: Spike
Avg rating:
6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1104









Released: 1989
Length: 3:58
Plays (last 30 days): 1
One day you're going to have to face the deep dark truthful mirror
And it's going to tell you things that I still love you too much to say
The sky was just a purple bruise, the ground was iron
And you fell all around the town until you looked the same

The same eyes, the same lips
The same lie from your tongue trips
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror

Now the flagstone streets where the newspaper shouts
Ring to the boots of roustabouts
But you're never in any doubt
There's something happening somewhere

You chase down the road til your fingers bleed
On a fiberglass tumbleweed
You can blow around the town
But it all shuts down the same

The same eyes, the same lips
The same lie from your tongue trips
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror

So you bay for the boy in the tiger-skin trunks
They set him up, set him up on the stool
He falls down, he falls down like a drunk
And you drink til you drool

Well it's his story you'll flatter
You'll stretch him out like a saint
But the canvas that he splattered
Will be the picture that you never paint

Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror

A stripping puppet on a liquid stick
Gets into it pretty thick
A butterfly drinks a turtle's tears
But how do you know he really needs it?

'Cause a butterfly feeds on a dead monkey's hand
Jesus wept, he felt abandoned
You're spellbound baby, there's no doubting that
Did you ever see a stare like a Persian cat?

The same eyes, the same lips
The same lie from your tongue trips
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror
Comments (140)add comment
This is his finest song--Lord have mercy.
 amcostigan88 wrote:
Great song! Great writing! Much prefer the MTV Unplugged rendition over the original however. It just delivers more of what this song's potential holds without a quirky, marching drum beat. My two cents obviously. Long Live RP! 
 

 MattRudely wrote:

Oh dear
Oh dear oh dear
Oh dear oh dear oh dear
 

 Dfitz wrote:


Costello is a joke, a wanna-be Bob Dillon
 
Oh dear
Oh dear oh dear
Oh dear oh dear oh dear
Great to hear Mr MacManus.  I would suggest that there's not quite enough Elvis on RP. 
 amcostigan88 wrote:
Great song! Great writing! Much prefer the MTV Unplugged rendition over the original however. It just delivers more of what this song's potential holds without a quirky, marching drum beat. My two cents obviously. Long Live RP! 
 
Yes, also a good version! 

Here, he was going for that New Orleans funeral march vibe, recruiting the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Allen Toussaint on piano. For the "SPIKE" album (his first for Warner Bros.), Costello said that he had the budget of "a small independent movie" at his disposal so he pulled out the stops. He recorded in 4 different locations with all-star bands, including the likes of Paul McCartney, T-Bone Burnett, Roger McGuinn, Christy Moore, Chrissie Hynde, etc., and the resulting scattershot album worked about as often as it didn't (though I quite like this one).
 TerrorGovernor wrote:
I LOVE Spike

If you don't get Costello I don't trust you
 

Costello is a joke, a wanna-be Bob Dillon
What Elvis? Terrible!
I LOVE Spike

If you don't get Costello I don't trust you
Great song! Great writing! Much prefer the MTV Unplugged rendition over the original however. It just delivers more of what this song's potential holds without a quirky, marching drum beat. My two cents obviously. Long Live RP! 
Elvis sounding like Van the Man on this one
1989 - Nick Lowe and Elvis at the Palumbo, Duquesne Univ. in Pgh Pa.
"As a butterfly drinks from a dead monkey's hand
Jesus wept"

Take it EASY, Elvis.
Haven't heard this in years, I had bought the album when it came out.  Saw him do a outstanding performance later that year at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.
  Saw this had a 6.1 rating, prompting me to make my first comment after several years of listening to and loving RP.  This album is fantastic, and contains the single most damning artistic expression I've ever heard against a politician on "Tramp the Dirt Down"  When Margaret Thatcher died, I sat and listened to that song again for the first time in a while.  Chilling.  EC at his best, as is Deep Dark Truthful Mirror.
 Proclivities wrote:

Do you mean Jack Handey?

 

i love this so much.
 Michael_Dean wrote:
I thought he was singing, "Deep Thoughts".  Thinking of Al Franken kinda ruined the song for me.
 
I think you mean Jack Handey, not Al Franken.
I thought he was singing, "Deep Thoughts".  Thinking of Al Franken kinda ruined the song for me.

Just like the WB label destroyed REM, when Elvis changed to WB for this record, he became an echo of his former - important - self. Very little afterward was of the caliber of his earlier material, even to the point of him working with Bacharach (who freely admits he never "got" rock and roll) taking on the role of the crooner. Which he is not.
 juanos wrote:
this is soooo much like Van Morrison!!, not necessarily bad, just surprised!!!

 
No reason for surprised.  Elvis adores Van.  And they are part of that great clan of Irish or Irish ancestry singer-composers along with Lennon and McCartney. 
 lemmoth wrote:

Go listen to opera ppopp.

And never again have the visceral pleasure of listening to the song-stories of Dylan, Young, Springsteen, Waits and Costello.

Bye bye 

 
Wait,,,,, Audioslave????? Are you freaking kidding me --------- that's Chris Cornell --- he of the three octave range.....
 ppopp wrote:
It's the lousy voice stretch - Elvis Costello, Audioslave, The National, Joe Walsh.

 
Go listen to opera ppopp.

And never again have the visceral pleasure of listening to the song-stories of Dylan, Young, Springsteen, Waits and Costello.

Bye bye 
Elvis is a freaking genius.  This is a fantastic song from a wonderful album.  The man could have taken a safe singer-songwriter path after his initial success but instead has experimented in whatever genre his muse, and encyclopedic musical knowledge, leads him.

And yes, imaging a butterfly feeding on a dead monkey's hand is pretty damned wierd. 
 caregiver wrote:
Agreed!  {#Arrowd}  I love the piano in this.  It reminds me of something obscure from Van Morrison.

 
It reminds me more of Billy Joel. 

I insist I know how good music should sound!

ELVIS never did it for me - NEVER!

Poor Elvis!


It's the lousy voice stretch - Elvis Costello, Audioslave, The National, Joe Walsh.
A great song on a mostly forgettable album. 
This is one I've come to love more and more as time goes on.  That opening line about "it's gonna tell you things that I still love you too much to say" has become one of my favorite lyrics ever
You can play Costello all the time in my opinion—excellent stuff!
kaybee wrote:
I really like the discordance and the way his voice breaks on this.  I wonder what he was going through at the time.
 crazyossi wrote:

He was trying to learn singing - and he failed !!!
 
@ crazy ossi:
You mean like you were trying to learn English grammar and failed?!
Agreed!  {#Arrowd}  I love the piano in this.  It reminds me of something obscure from Van Morrison.
One of the most enegmatic and paradigm breaking poets of these days. Elvis' genius is his ability to carve his own path within the musical rhealm. And while not a die hard fan by any stretch, I know creativity when I hear it
 kaybee wrote:
I really like the discordance and the way his voice breaks on this.  I wonder what he was going through at the time.
 
He was trying to learn singing - and he failed !!!
I really like the discordance and the way his voice breaks on this.  I wonder what he was going through at the time.
 juanos wrote:
this is soooo much like Van Morrison!!, not necessarily bad, just surprised!!!
 
When Bill followed this one with Randy Newman's "Political Science", I could really hear the similarities between the two songs. Wouldn't have linked them if they hadn't been played back to back. Not my fave Elvisong, but it's OK. 
 AndyFarang wrote:
dear god, please make it stop......
 
I'm with you there. I just don't care for any of this guy's work. His voice just doesn't work for my taste.

This whole album— and its companion outtakes disc on the Rhino (?) re-release is soooooooooooo good.  If I'm not mistaken, this is his first non-Attractions album (although I could be wrong).  At any rate, he takes this opportunity to stretch his creative legs and the results are outstanding. 

He's not much for music videos obviously, but if you get the chance to see the Veronica video, check it out.  Very well done and links well with the subject matter.  

Another gem from this album was Tramp the Dirt Down.  Think he was very fond of Margaret Thatcher?  : ) 
On of the consistently best albums of the 80's. 

 lemmoth wrote:


That's because great artists don't just keep repeating a variation of their "big hits" to satisfy the broad masses who may have enjoyed said hits.

They move on.

This is a very cool album with instrumentation by the very cool Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
 
exactly right.  And on this particular song some fun piano too.

 Jelani wrote:
WHAT  did he say about that butterfly?????
 
No kidding! I had a double take on that one too! I was just glad that there weren't any clients in the office!

 michaelc wrote:
One of my least fav Elvis album, but it's still good
 
Funny, I'm very fond of this album.

One of my least fav Elvis album, but it's still good
I could do without this one.
this is soooo much like Van Morrison!!, not necessarily bad, just surprised!!!
WHAT  did he say about that butterfly?????
 Pharlap wrote:
This is sure no "Watching the Detectives"
 

That's because great artists don't just keep repeating a variation of their "big hits" to satisfy the broad masses who may have enjoyed said hits.

They move on.

This is a very cool album with instrumentation by the very cool Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Don't know why but I just love this Elvis
Never liked the whole album...always loved this song.
 Land_Shark wrote:
Better than Rap music, if you ask me. Much better.
 

Preface by saying that I love this song. Secondly, you have probably never even heard good rap before to make an opinion cause just like most music, they sure as hell don't play the good Hip-Hop on commercial radio!{#No}
Elvis C., always enjoyed his music. Might not be my fav but it's still ok.
This is sure no "Watching the Detectives"
Funny, I like Elvis ok, but love this song, I think it's great!{#Yes}
dear god, please make it stop......
No sir, I do not care for it.
I love Elvis but this isn't one of his best.
I think this may be the first time I really listened to this song and I have to say it's very good. The lyrics are especially strong. I don't particularly like this album but there are a few good tunes on it.
Is RP turning into the Elvis Costello of radio stations?  An also-ran?  I hope not.
 RabbitEars wrote:
I dig "Chewing Gum"
 
love chewing gum - dirty dozen brass band do a great job

I dig "Chewing Gum"
 ptgl3 wrote:
Not Elvis' best work—and I say that as a devotee. 
 
Aw man, i love Spike! God's Comic? Tramp the Dirt Down? Masterworks! And Veronica is a pretty damn tight pop tune.

 lingchih wrote:
I never noticed it before, but this sounds a lot like a Van Morrison tune. Must be the horns.
 

sounds EXACTLY like VM...

Not Elvis' best work—and I say that as a devotee. 

"Isn't it obvious? Lokai is white on
the right side. All his people are white
on the right side."

I love EC madly, but I think this is one of his weaker albums. Though I think this is one of the stronger songs on the album, at least lyrically.

Quite fabulous album, a bit weird sometimes... and, of course, a tremendous artist!!!


It's not my cup of tea.  If this was tea, it would be white tea, steeped for 2 seconds, weak with no color or flavor. {#No}
 sharkey wrote:

EC is way overplayed on RP. Way overrated & quite annoying.
 
It's amazing how the stuff you don't like is played too much on RP. For me, the various versions of that Leonard Cohen song Hallelulah (or whatever it's called) are played too much. But I just turn it down or do something else. Or try and find something new in the cover that's played.

'Course I'm one of those guys that only rates 5 and up. Hardly any 5's actually. 

seemed to me like it was a lot of nick drake lately. everytime i checked in. not that that's bad...
EC is way overplayed on RP. Way overrated & quite annoying.
I've had this song on my show a time or two.
lingchih wrote:
I never noticed it before, but this sounds a lot like a Van Morrison tune. Must be the horns.
Agreed. I haven't cared for anything he's done since the great King of America record. For me, he's' got two periods: everything before K of A (great) and after (blah) where he just seems to be repeating himself. This tune is good though.
fatcatjb wrote:
Mark Twain said of Wagner, that his music is probably better than it sounds...I can say the same of Elvis Costello, just can't get into his sound, though I admire him musically...oh well
Appropriate that you'd quote Twain--I've always thought that Elvis and Twain were kindred spirits.
davin wrote:
I grow tired of Elvis Costello .. heard him a bunch today. Just a bit too poppy for me I suppose.
The music compels me to listen and then, almost as quickly, irritates me. Must be my narrow range.
lingchih wrote:
I never noticed it before, but this sounds a lot like a Van Morrison tune. Must be the horns.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band is terrific throughout the album
Terrific song off an underrated album. Thanks Bill. Keep the MacManus coming.
anything elvis does is genius...he brings out the best in the original or the remake. true artist, he is. sometimes the discomfort is all about the growing. and at that he is a genius.
One of the all-time great album covers as well. DoctorHooey wrote:
I ADORE this song!! This is probably my favorite Elvis album.
Better than Rap music, if you ask me. Much better.
Worse than Rap music if you ask me
I ADORE this song!! This is probably my favorite Elvis album.
audiolizard wrote:
Sounds like the bastard son of TMBG and Springsteen. :wall:
I think I'd listen to that band. :)
I never noticed it before, but this sounds a lot like a Van Morrison tune. Must be the horns.
I love me some Elvis Costello, and this is probably my favorite of all time. Say what you want about his voice, but the lyrics are great and the arrangement is absolutely kickin'.
Seeing Mr. Costello tomorrow night!! :dancingbanana:
This man is a real Genius! :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:
I love this song! Elvis is King!
I grow tired of Elvis Costello .. heard him a bunch today. Just a bit too poppy for me I suppose.
Art_Carnage wrote:
:??: Carnivorous butterflies? What's he smokin'? :??:
And I suppose you don't get Bob Dylan either. Why don't you build a fire on main street and shoot it full of holes?
monkeywonders wrote:
this is horrible :puke:
You need to look into your deep, dark, truthful mirror.
wally42 wrote:
... If you feel the need to triple puke this tune, you should consider tuning to another station.
Usually by the time I am done wretching, Elvis is done and good music is back on the air.
denmom wrote:
I love Elvis, but this is not the Elvis I love. The only thing that raises it to "acceptable" for me (and it's just barely) is that lovely horn section.
I saw him do this live and it was chilling... Amazing talent Amazing performer. If you feel the need to triple puke this tune, you should consider tuning to another station.
I love Elvis, but this is not the Elvis I love. The only thing that raises it to "acceptable" for me (and it's just barely) is that lovely horn section.
How does he get away with not hitting his high notes?
:puke: :puke: :puke:
I love the horn arrangement by Allen Toussaint on this one.
Elvis Costello's music really grates on me. I think he's a talented musician but an awful, awful singer. This is one of his better songs, and it's still pretty bad. Sounds like the bastard son of TMBG and Springsteen. :wall:
There were some good songs on this album, but after that I just haven't paid much attention to Elvis Costello. Where did all that angst and creativity go??
Or is that Marshall Dillon? Or Marshall Crenshaw? andesitic wrote:
His voice usually irritates me a bit, but on this song it is worse than fingers on a chalkboard... Please Elvis, consider being just a songwriter and leave the singing to someone who can.... and this is coming from someone that absolultely loves Bob Dillan.
Elvis is getting twins for the holidays: Diana is as big as a house and ready to drop. Consider: God only had one son for Christmas.
when he said "same eyes," i thought for a second he said "st. ides" i guess i've just had malt liquor on my mind a lot lately.
lovely
Great to hear some of these more obscure cuts in the rotation. Thanks Bill.
Why don't he put his wife Diana Krall to sing his songs? She's way better at it.
Mark Twain said of Wagner, that his music is probably better than it sounds...I can say the same of Elvis Costello, just can't get into his sound, though I admire him musically...oh well
this is horrible :puke:
I'm a big EC fan and this song is AWFUL.
His voice usually irritates me a bit, but on this song it is worse than fingers on a chalkboard... Please Elvis, consider being just a songwriter and leave the singing to someone who can.... and this is coming from someone that absolultely loves Bob Dillan.
This is just getting on my nerves this morning. :crashcomp:
this song makes sense to me today and i kind of want to cry! :wall:
Aud wrote:
I'm hearing a weird Van Morrison
strange, as i would have said that elvis is treading dangerously close to randy newmann territory on this one...
KevDog wrote:
Because he is one of the most talented songwriters to succeed in not just one, but a myriad, of musical genres.
Well put.
Aud wrote:
I'm hearing a weird Van Morrison
Funny, that's who I hear too!
Freebish wrote:
I'm hearing The BandÂ…"Tears of Rage" ?
I'm hearing a weird Van Morrison
deanofox wrote:
I guess this is what Christmas at Elvis Costello's house sounds like? Ive never really got this guy, maybe its his voice?
It is his voice. It irritates. A bad tenor, trying to sound like a mixture of 50s New Yawk and the Midwest of America, all at once. But above all, a bad tenor. A bad tenor. A bad tenor. :meditate:
I absolutely love this song, but find that the unplugged version is -just- a notch better.
Nuance wrote:
Are you on glue?
Best comeback in ages! Costello is a genius, IMHO. A brilliant songwriter and I've seen him live about 4 times over the last 20 years. I have never been to a show that he didn't simply amaze the audience. If you have an open mind, go see him live.
love elvis but to be honset this CD seemed. a little limp, but that's just my opnion. I really like the CD with the Brodsky quartet but everyone else hated it, so go figure.
Besides the great "Pump It Up", the good "Peace Love Understanding," I can't dig his music. This doesn't mean he's not a talented musician. This is the Oasis rule from this unapologetic Oasis fan. Seeeee Yaaa!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :nyah: :nyah: :yes: :music: :sunny: Don't drink a champagne supernova! :drunk:
i'm with you. not that i need to "get" anything. but certainly something that hits the soul and this guy is like accidentally grating your knuckles on the cheese grater - parmesan cheese grate. it's awful and so is he. sorry elvis fans, just the wrong elvis for me. deanofox wrote:
I guess this is what Christmas at Elvis Costello's house sounds like? Ive never really got this guy, maybe its his voice?