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Elvis Costello — New Amsterdam
Album: Get Happy
Avg rating:
6.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 346









Released: 1980
Length: 2:09
Plays (last 30 days): 0
You're sending me tulips mistaken for lilies
You give me your lip after punching me silly
You turn my head till it rolled down the brain-drain
If I had any sense now I wouldn't want it back again

New Amsterdam it's become much too much
'Til I have the possession of everything she touches
'Til I step on the brake to get out of her clutches
'Til I speak double dutch to a real double duchess

Down on the main spring listen to the tick-tock
Collect all the faces that move in your lot
Twice-shy and dog-tied because you've been bitten
Everything you say now sounds like it was ghost-written

New Amsterdam it's become much too much
'Til I have the possession of everything she touches
'Til I step on the brake to get out of her clutches
'Til I speak double dutch to a real double duchess

Back in London they'll take you to heart after a little while
Though I look right at home I still feel like an exile

Somehow I found myself down at the dockside
Thinking about the old days of Liverpool and Rotherhithe
Transparent people who live on the other side
Living a life that is almost like suicide

New Amsterdam it's become much too much
'Til I have the possession of everything she touches
'Til I step on the brake to get out of her clutches
'Til I speak double dutch to a real double duchess
Comments (54)add comment
 Carl wrote:

I'll see that 4 and double it: 8!
 
I'll split the difference 2 <mute>
There are some very talented songwriters who should probably let others sing their songs...
I don't think you shall sing with your nose blocked by a cold, worse than double Dutch

  MiracleDrug wrote:
pretty close to my favorite Elvis tune...
 


pretty close to my favorite Elvis tune...
Perhaps it works as poetry better than it strikes me as music. Never really enjoyed this Elvis
 sirdroseph wrote:
Love this one!
 


Yeah, this song is cool... don't know why I haven't rated this classic before...
 
Love this one!
As someone said downthread:

"Kind of surprised this song was on this album. I would have pegged it for Imperial Bedroom."

I was about to go to my playlist to see if it was from Imperial Bedroom myself because it sounded like it should be.  I'm glad I have Get Happy as well as Imperial Bedroom in my collection. 
I love Elvis'  "verbal gymnastics"!!! Listening to a whole album EC can be a bit overload though!  His voice is strangely soothing to me.  
 fredriley wrote:
I didn't understand this when it came out, and I still don't. I can understand each individual word, occasionally larger phrases, but the whole literally makes no sense to me. Our Declan is often more elliptical than Kepler...
 

by elliptical i guess you mean deliberately obscure.  thats his (their) genius.    (still, celestial physics gives me a bit of a headache)


First three chorus's (chori?) are great examples of ECs cool but tricky to comprehend wordplay.

Always loved "Till I step on the brakes to get out of her clutches"

Last part is about Elvis still feeling an exile in London - he was born there but basically grew up in Liverpool.
I didn't understand this when it came out, and I still don't. I can understand each individual word, occasionally larger phrases, but the whole literally makes no sense to me. Our Declan is often more elliptical than Kepler...
 spigolli wrote:
This is one of his best.  4
 
I'll see that 4 and double it: 8!


 iscoot4peace wrote:
I liked this album when it came out...and have grown to love it as one of two all time favorite EC records...the other being Imperial Bedroom.

So nice to hear it on RP...it's kind of a neglected gem.
 
Indeed! I've long been a fan of those two albums, thought they were the peak of his creativity.

I liked this album when it came out...and have grown to love it as one of two all time favorite EC records...the other being Imperial Bedroom.

So nice to hear it on RP...it's kind of a neglected gem.
This is one of his best.  4
 suddenchad wrote:
Sigh. There always, always, ALWAYS have to be people coming on to trash talk about Elvis, everytime he gets played here. And those of you who like this album and then accuse him of being "pretentious" later? It's called maturing, folks. As an artist, he's entitled to experiment, grow, etc. and I've enjoyed it every step of the way. In fact, as much as "Get Happy" was my favorite for years, there is a lot of stuff he did in the 80s and 90s that I listen to now even more. And do I have to list the entire body of fellow, respected musicians who have worked with him? Do you think all of these people have no taste too? And the people who say he can't sing? You just need to turn off RP and go watch American Idol or listen to your Celine Dion CDs.
 
{#Yes} {#Clap}
 ThePoose wrote:
The way I rate musicians is whether my life would be less rich without them. My life would be less rich without EC.
 
Absolutely.  Well said.
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1.....well, you get the idea.
Nope. 
WTMECORP

 Stingray wrote:
I have to very strange relationship with his music! Love, even adore, 2 songs out of 10.
Hate the other 8! Stingray!
 
Absolutely the way I feel about EC's work.  He has always produced too much product with very little attention paid to turning out his best work on any given collection.  I have many, if not most, of his releases from the 70s, 80s, & 90s.  However, I really only find myself listening to his greatest hits collections.  I'm a big fan of his early work with The Attractions...one of the best rhythm sections from that era.

jmk999 wrote:
That is to say: unless you have an observation that'll help the rest of us enjoy the experience a little more, please keep it to yourself. Better yet, save your energy to send a note when you hear something you like.
Hmmm. Obviously RP is not the Eurovision Song Contest; we can rate what we don't like with 'nul points' but it will still feature on rotation if His Billness likes it. So RP has more in common with a totalitarian state than a democracy. However, I disagree completely that only positive comments should be posted. Firstly, there would be no point reading the comments if they were all saccharine sweet reviews. Secondly, this sort of censorship is the thin end of the wedge to a monocultural society where the 'thought police' ensure we all think alike. If I wanted to live in a fascist state I would move to ...no, I will self censor that one....
suddenchad wrote:
And those of you who like this album and then accuse him of being "pretentious" later? It's called maturing, folks.
That statement is, of course, a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact.
As an artist, he's entitled to experiment, grow, etc. and I've enjoyed it every step of the way.
I agree that he's entitled to do whatever he wants. But I haven't enjoyed it. I wanted to, but I didn't.
And do I have to list the entire body of fellow, respected musicians who have worked with him? Do you think all of these people have no taste too?
I really don't know what bearing any of that is supposed to have on whether I like what he's doing or not. I don't decide whether or not I like something based on who the musicians are, "respected" or not. I haven't enjoyed an Elvis Costello LP/CD since Imperial Bedroom, and even that was pushing it. For me, the moment passed. For you, it continues. So it goes.
most excellent song IMO good album. "50 hits"
jmk999 wrote:
I'm guessing negative comments aren't taken into consideration by the RP crew when deciding what to play. That is to say: unless you have an observation that'll help the rest of us enjoy the experience a little more, please keep it to yourself.
Hippy
I'm guessing negative comments aren't taken into consideration by the RP crew when deciding what to play. That is to say: unless you have an observation that'll help the rest of us enjoy the experience a little more, please keep it to yourself. Better yet, save your energy to send a note when you hear something you like. Finally, an observation: it seems the more commercial success an artist has acheived the greater the chorus of dissenters.
suddenchad wrote:
Sigh. There always, always, ALWAYS have to be people coming on to trash talk about Elvis, everytime he gets played here. And those of you who like this album and then accuse him of being "pretentious" later? It's called maturing, folks. As an artist, he's entitled to experiment, grow, etc. and I've enjoyed it every step of the way. In fact, as much as "Get Happy" was my favorite for years, there is a lot of stuff he did in the 80s and 90s that I listen to now even more. And do I have to list the entire body of fellow, respected musicians who have worked with him? Do you think all of these people have no taste too? And the people who say he can't sing? You just need to turn off RP and go watch American Idol or listen to your Celine Dion CDs.
Mmm. Shipbuilding.
Kind of surprised this song was on this album. I would have pegged it for Imperial Bedroom. I bought this album when it was first released. It was a rarity at the time because there was so much music on it. Almost an hour's worth as I recall. They actually used more of the vinyl than they normally did to fit it all in. There was some scuttlebuttt that it wouldn't sound as good or the record would skip because of it. I never noticed any real difference. It wasn't high on my playlist at the time simply because there were a lot of short, mediocre tunes on it. Coming on the heels of three really strong LP's, it seemed like he would have been better off releasing a shorter album. This song s a keeper though.
I have to very strange relationship with his music! Love, even adore, 2 songs out of 10. Hate the other 8! Stingray!
joelsephus wrote:
Too much Elvis Costello is one of RP's few weaknesses IMO.
The way I rate musicians is whether my life would be less rich without them. My life would be less rich without EC.
Sigh. There always, always, ALWAYS have to be people coming on to trash talk about Elvis, everytime he gets played here. And those of you who like this album and then accuse him of being "pretentious" later? It's called maturing, folks. As an artist, he's entitled to experiment, grow, etc. and I've enjoyed it every step of the way. In fact, as much as "Get Happy" was my favorite for years, there is a lot of stuff he did in the 80s and 90s that I listen to now even more. And do I have to list the entire body of fellow, respected musicians who have worked with him? Do you think all of these people have no taste too? And the people who say he can't sing? You just need to turn off RP and go watch American Idol or listen to your Celine Dion CDs.
dmax wrote:
Do I step on the brakes to get out of her clutches? Brilliant.
Word.
Shimmer wrote:
This has always been one my EC favorites too. He produces alot of crap, but his good ones are keepers.
I 2nd :yes:
Thanks Bill! :cool:
This has always been one my EC favorites too. He produces alot of crap, but his good ones are keepers.
catbirdman wrote:
Elvis was King with Get Happy :crown: So many great, punchy, little masterpieces.
Zactly! Before pretension got the best of him. A great showcase for the snappy, always right-on-the-money backing of the Attractions, too.
joelsephus wrote:
Too much Elvis Costello is one of RP's few weaknesses IMO.
Exactly!
honeygirl wrote:
What's not to love about Elvis C.??
Well I hate to be picky - but he can't sing for starters!
What's not to love about Elvis C.??
Elvis was King with Get Happy :crown: So many great, punchy, little masterpieces.
Yay! One of the best songs on Get Happy. For the longest time I didn't like EC, but, boy, was I wrong!
joelsephus wrote:
Too much Elvis Costello is one of RP's few weaknesses IMO.
I'm not a particular fan of his, but he sure can write great lyrics. And, unlike Dylan, others just cannot come up with a better copy! So, like it or lump it. Costello stays on RP. :clap: :clap: :clap:
Too much Elvis Costello is one of RP's few weaknesses IMO.
Happy song...love the double duchess part! Alliteration makes me smile! Love ya, Elvis! New Amsterdam is this New York?
jahiel wrote:
I just don't like this singer. Never have...
Im sorry to have lowered the rating but this song really stinks!
I just don't like this singer. Never have...
Great song! And Tasmin Archer's version is equally as good....
One of the first EC songs I really liked. I always wondered why this one wasn't more popular.
wow - i haven't heard this song in so long i forgot all about it! great to hear it again after all these years!
Sobient wrote:
this is a "sucko barfo" song. Rate 1
Why? Does it suck or do you have something meaningful.
:bounce:
this is a "sucko barfo" song. Rate 1
Do I step on the brakes to get out of her clutches? Brilliant.
This ranks high among the catalogue of songs that rank EC as a "genius." Awesome, Elvis. Thanks, Bill.
Great song!