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Elvis Costello — The Beat
Album: This Year's Model
Avg rating:
6.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1761









Released: 1978
Length: 3:45
Plays (last 30 days): 3
We're all going on a summer holiday
Vigilante's coming out to follow me.
Heard somebody say they're out to collar me.
Anybody wanna swallow me?

It takes two to tumble. It takes two to tango.
Speak up; don't mumble if you're in the combo.

On the beat, on the beat.
Till a man comes along and he says,
'Have you been a good boy, never played with your toy?
Though you never enjoy, such pleasure to employ.'

See your friends in the state their in.
See your friends getting under their skin.
See your friends getting taken in.

Well, if you only knew the things you do to me.
I'd do anything to confuse the enemy.
There's only one thing wrong with you befriending me.
Take it easy. I think you're bending me.

I've been a bad boy with the standard leader.
My neighbor's revving up his Vauxhall Viva.

On the beat, on the upbeat.
Till a man comes along and he says,
'Have you been a good boy, never played with your toy?
Though you never enjoy, such pleasure to employ.'

See your friends walking down the street.
See your friends never quite complete.
See your friends getting under their feet.

Oh, I don't want to disease you,
but I'm no good with machinery.
Oh, I don't wanna freeze you.
Stop looking at the scen'ry.
I keep thinking about your mother.
Oh, I don't wanna lick them.
I don't wanna be a lover.
I just wanna be your victim.
I don't go out much at night.
I don't go out much at all.
Did you think you were the only one
who was waiting for a call

On the beat, on the upbeat.
Till a man comes along and he says,
'Have you been a good boy, never played with your toy?
Though you never enjoy, such pleasure to employ.'

See your friends treat me like a stranger.
See your friends despite all the arrangements.
See your friends Nothing here has changed.
Just the beat.
Comments (138)add comment
Elvis Costello is the best example that I can think of, of a musician who is literate, widely admired by critics, prolific, and, to me, almost annoying in nearly everything of his that I have heard. I have no explanation for this abject failure to appreciate his music, but it persists.
Somebody said the radio was full of REO Speedwagon, Styx, Journey, etc. and this was way better. Not really. I love those bands. They all wrote some of the greatest songs in rock history. This Costello song is utterly forgettable to me. I gave it a 4.
great album, we grew up together but he had better lyrics...
We had two cool commercial stations in Philly by 1974 that played what the DJs wanted and the college stations played great stuff that was more jazz of classical,  The exception was Drexel which went off the air daily at 2:15pm for another station in Delaware. 

The two commercial stations  went AOR top 40 with lame playlists.  By 1978 they sucked.  New Wave was coming in and the new kid in town was playing it for the next four years. A glorious time. Then they went country, then talk radio. 

All this was before Clear Channel screwed up everything but it was already well on its way. 
 Steely_D wrote:

Exactly. It's easy to forget, but those of us who were listening to the radio back then were drowning in crap. Then came those artists that were "New Wave" and couldn't get played on top 40 radio!

Those damned troublemakers were folks like Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Tom Petty, Devo, B-52s...

They were so far afield of where commercial radio was going that they were only played on college, non-commercial stations. So you listen to them now and think "how mainstream" - but that's a testament to how they changed everything.
 
Check out the documentary, "New Wave:  Dare to Be Different"
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5...


 Steely_D wrote:

Exactly. It's easy to forget, but those of us who were listening to the radio back then were drowning in crap. Then came those artists that were "New Wave" and couldn't get played on top 40 radio!

Those damned troublemakers were folks like Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Tom Petty, Devo, B-52s...

They were so far afield of where commercial radio was going that they were only played on college, non-commercial stations. So you listen to them now and think "how mainstream" - but that's a testament to how they changed everything.
 

Except in the UK they were played on Radio 1 and appeared on Top of the Pops, even got into the top Ten!
That will be a terrible day. elvis has a great voice. to each his/her own!


Posted 4 weeks ago by njswede: One
day, medical science will find a way to extract the object that's stuck
in his throat making his voice sounds so awful. What a happy day that
will be!
One day, medical science will find a way to extract the object that's stuck in his throat making his voice sounds so awful. What a happy day that will be!
 aspicer wrote:
I'm pretty clear this is truly his best album, as hard as it is to determine it.....IMHO.  Other's thoughts on this topic?!
 

I usually say Get Happy for the perfect slices of pop heaven he created, but I've since learned that Imperial Bedroom saw him unleashed to use all the instruments and effects he wanted to.
 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:

yep, I don't get it either. And I especially don't get all the lacktards who complain about his voice. Fuggit, if I could sing even half as good as he I'd die happy.  

 

 
+ 1  lacktard. 
I'm sure he's innovative but i seriously can't stand his voice.



First hear it in Sam's on Yonge Street the day it was released!
Op de FIETS!
PSD quick!
 coloradojohn wrote:
FLASHBACK BEAT sends me back to the time we all got turned on to such great music by EC, The Cars, Talking Heads, Tom Petty...

 
Exactly. It's easy to forget, but those of us who were listening to the radio back then were drowning in crap. Then came those artists that were "New Wave" and couldn't get played on top 40 radio!

Those damned troublemakers were folks like Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Tom Petty, Devo, B-52s...

They were so far afield of where commercial radio was going that they were only played on college, non-commercial stations. So you listen to them now and think "how mainstream" - but that's a testament to how they changed everything.
I don't wanna be your lover.
I just wanna be your victim.

Man, do I miss this guy. He wore his heart on his sleeve and all his remarks were off the cuff.
 kevrey wrote:
Talent yes, but cloths pin squeezing his nose big time!
 
I guess someone should have told him that forty years ago when he recorded this.
Talent yes, but cloths pin squeezing his nose big time!
FLASHBACK BEAT sends me back to the time we all got turned on to such great music by EC, The Cars, Talking Heads, Tom Petty...
Great tune I've never heard before.... 
Long life in RP to the other King Elvis!
 Stefan_Lutz wrote:
Please make it stop! 

 
Completely agree!
 Carlo9151 wrote:

Totally agree. Who is the bass guitar player ?

 
Bruce Thomas

https://www.brucethomas.co.uk/

Writes books too.
 tee_dee wrote:
The Attraction were such a great band behind Elvis.
 

 
Totally agree. Who is the bass guitar player ?
 SweTex wrote:

I read the book and was surprised, expecting it to be nastier. There are a few references to "the singer" but nothing I'd call really nasty. I guess Declan is a little sensitive. The book is more of a story about the endless touring and trying to stay sane doing it. Book is called "The big wheel", btw.  

 
I'm reading Elvis' memoir now, and so far he hasn't named Bruce but he's talked a lot about the band and how well they worked together. He's mentioned Steve a few times here and there, so maybe not mentioning Bruce is his way of staying above the fray there. He hasn't pulled any punches anywhere else (was totally rude to Wreckless Eric), so maybe there's something he's saving up. 
I once (!) got quite drunk with friends and went to a Karoake bar where I performed this very track.
Apparently, I nailed it. I am not a good singer. 
Please make it stop! 
The Attraction were such a great band behind Elvis.
 
 Will62 wrote:
What?!! Average of 6.7?!!  Just what is going on in RP world?  Clearly one of the most inventive, risk-taking musicians of the last 40 years. Can I score the man a 400 simply to lift his rating?

 
yep, I don't get it either. And I especially don't get all the lacktards who complain about his voice. Fuggit, if I could sing even half as good as he I'd die happy.  

 
yes Outstanding (yoinks '78!)
What?!! Average of 6.7?!!  Just what is going on in RP world?  Clearly one of the most inventive, risk-taking musicians of the last 40 years. Can I score the man a 400 simply to lift his rating?
Saw him live back in 78 at Hollywood High. I'll never forget. Passed out in her own vomit on the steps leading to the auditorium door was a girl in a skin tight leopard-skin suit. Great show.
 aspicer wrote:
I'm pretty clear this is truly his best album, as hard as it is to determine it.....IMHO.  Other's thoughts on this topic?!

 

I hear you. It's certainly one of his best. At least, one of the two or three I find myself playing most often. I also like a lot of the cuts on the Rhino double disc reissue. 
 aspicer wrote:
I'm pretty clear this is truly his best album, as hard as it is to determine it.....IMHO.  Other's thoughts on this topic?!

 
I'll go along with that.  This Year's Model gets a slight edge over his 1st and 3rd for me.
 hencini wrote:
Wow, haven't heard this in a while.  I love Early Elvis.  

 
Brings me back to those good old days when I was a student. Girls, pot and beer. Those were the days.
 BrightonGuy wrote:
 catnip wrote:
It has taken me ages to come around, but the guy's a genius.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNiAuRgmApE
 

 yeah, about 35 years, but better late than never....!
 
Does Elvis still have pull in England, or is he just a nostalgia act? 

There was a string of albums in the Eighties that definitely earned him "genius" label, but then he branched out into Burt Bacharach-type stuff and lost his edgy appeal. That was his choice and he had the right to make it, but a lot of people like me got turned off. "Spike" was a return to the poppier Elvis, but I think most listeners had pigeonholed him as someone from the past at that point.

But yes, this album was and is brilliant.  
I'm pretty clear this is truly his best album, as hard as it is to determine it.....IMHO.  Other's thoughts on this topic?!
 catnip wrote:
It has taken me ages to come around, but the guy's a genius.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNiAuRgmApE
 

 yeah, about 35 years, but better late than never....!
It has taken me ages to come around, but the guy's a genius.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNiAuRgmApE
 
Vampire Weekend's inspiration ?
 lemmoth wrote:

Bruce Thomas is a fantastic bass player, check the middle section of Goon Squad from Armed Forces. 

Then he wrote a nasty book about EC and was excommunicated.  But he did get inducted into the R&R HOF.

 
I read the book and was surprised, expecting it to be nastier. There are a few references to "the singer" but nothing I'd call really nasty. I guess Declan is a little sensitive. The book is more of a story about the endless touring and trying to stay sane doing it. Book is called "The big wheel", btw.  
 MiracleDrug wrote:
what a GREAT album...
 
One of the best, for sure.
Wow, haven't heard this in a while.  I love Early Elvis.  
Only a 6.7? Who be crazy here?! Happy 2012 to all! And a glorious year ahead mehopes.
Okay, for THIS song, I will take back all of my Elvis Costello criticisms. I stand (somewhat) corrected.
GREAT GREAT!!!!
what a GREAT album...
 bbryan wrote:

You could plug Joe Jackson into this tune and it would be just as in character for the artist. Very similar sounds...


 
true !  even in the lyrics ..

 damienmc wrote:

Am I the only one who hears "Driver's Seat" by Sniff'n The Tears?

 
There are some similarities in the minor chords in the chorus but this song has quite a few more chords.
Classic, less-played Elvis.  Bravo
 dmax wrote:

Exactly. It's easy to forget, but those of us who were listening to the radio back then were drowning in crap. Then came those artists that were "New Wave" and couldn't get played on top 40 radio!

Those damned troublemakers were folks like
  • Elvis Costello
  • The Pretenders
  • Tom Petty
  • Devo
  • B-52s
they were so far afield of where commercial radio was going that they were only played on college, non-commercial stations. So you listen to them now and think "how mainstream" - but that's a testament to how they changed everything.
 
Great post - right on

My first (of dozens subsequently) favorite Elvis song. 

Remember hearing Alison and Watching the Detectives on the Max's Kansas City juke box.  But didn't have the album.

Bought This Year's Model and was blown away by this and the rest of the songs - leading to a lifelong fandom - dozens of shows, bought all the albums of varied musical explorations - even this morning on IPod heard Elvis & Deborah Harry (two original "punks") singing a duet with the jazz passengers.


F-ing GOOD!
EVERY cool musician should have a hasselblad on the cover.


elvis!!!

You could plug Joe Jackson into this tune and it would be just as in character for the artist. Very similar sounds...


Every time I hear this voice I think of that movie, Falling Down.

Please, please, please, keep all your baseball bats away from me!

I used to have this on 8 track!

Thank you KROQ-FM for playing this way back in the day!

 damienmc wrote:

Am I the only one who hears "Driver's Seat" by Sniff'n The Tears?


 
I hear "Chesapeake, Chesapeake" {#Mrgreen}
 johnjconn wrote:
When this album came out, the radio was filled with Journey, Styx, REO and other horrible 70's bands.
Thank god for Elvis! This album and artist saved the decade.
 
Exactly. It's easy to forget, but those of us who were listening to the radio back then were drowning in crap. Then came those artists that were "New Wave" and couldn't get played on top 40 radio!

Those damned troublemakers were folks like
  • Elvis Costello
  • The Pretenders
  • Tom Petty
  • Devo
  • B-52s
they were so far afield of where commercial radio was going that they were only played on college, non-commercial stations. So you listen to them now and think "how mainstream" - but that's a testament to how they changed everything.

Am I the only one who hears "Driver's Seat" by Sniff'n The Tears?


DIY!
 Deadwing wrote:


Such a great album And the bass on this song is wonderfully wicked
 
Bruce Thomas is a fantastic bass player, check the middle section of Goon Squad from Armed Forces. 

Then he wrote a nasty book about EC and was excommunicated.  But he did get inducted into the R&R HOF.

 mwsteele79 wrote:

Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't make it Marilyn Monroe.

 

You're right...it makes it Marilyn Manson.
 holborne wrote:


Congratulations! You have managed to make a comment that has nothing to do with what anyone here said, and makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER! Please let us know where we can sent your Rice-a-Roni consolations prize, and again, thanks for playing!

 
Being unable to understand a comment doesn' t mean it has no meaning...

 SweTex wrote:
One of the best albums ever made. Period.{#War}....Can I give it an 11, just once?
 

Very true, very true.
One of the best albums ever made. Period.{#War}....Can I give it an 11, just once?
LOVE this. fantastic. great to hear it on RP.
Great Album..his best
I think I just bopped my head to the side without even thinking about it.... {#Bananajam}



Dig that Farfisa beat. . .


This is a GREAT exercise song!
{#Sunny}great album
I am pretty big fan of Elvis, and I had completely forgotten about this song. It is better than average.  
 mwsteele79 wrote:

Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't make it Marilyn Monroe.

 

Congratulations! You have managed to make a comment that has nothing to do with what anyone here said, and makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER! Please let us know where we can sent your Rice-a-Roni consolations prize, and again, thanks for playing!

colt4x5 wrote:

ok, SAT time ...

elvis costello is to tom petty as mozart is to ... right! mandy patinkin!


Used to hate his sound. Then one day, BOOM, it sounded groovy... Mental illness is a sad thing but hey, now boppin' along! {#Bananajam}
WTMECORP
4
 holborne wrote:


Well, no, he doesn't, actually. You don't care for his music, which is quite a different matter. But thanks for playing!
 
Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't make it Marilyn Monroe.

 superfido wrote:
He just sucks  {#Foot-in-mouth}
 

Well, no, he doesn't, actually. You don't care for his music, which is quite a different matter. But thanks for playing!
He just sucks  {#Foot-in-mouth}
 Pantagruel wrote:
Never understood his music, kind of Tom Petty lite
 
ok, SAT time ...

elvis costello is to tom petty as mozart is to ... right! mandy patinkin! 
"I don't want to be your lover, I just want to be your victim . . . " What can I possibly add?
diazo wrote:
Yes! This may be his best album... it's definitely the one that demands to be played LOUDEST!
Agree so much!
Deadwing wrote:
:guitarist: :drummer: :music: Such a great album :jump: And the bass on this song is wonderfully wicked :guitarist:
Yes! This may be his best album... it's definitely the one that demands to be played LOUDEST!
Genius early Elvis.. Ahhh the memories....
Farfisa organs and Hammond organs are totally different instruments and have very distinct sounds. The classic Hammond B-3 is much fuller and is a physically big instrument (The Band's Chest Fever is just one of the hundreds of examples I could use here.) The standard Farfisa (heard here) has a much thinner sound, and was popular with many 60's bands as well as the later new wave bands trying to recreate that sound. Plus they were cheap, and portable...
Very cool info :biggrin: I'm not a keyboard player so I've always wondered about the Farfisa (and ironically Chest Fever is one of my favorite songs, funny that you mentioned it!)
:guitarist: :drummer: :music: Such a great album :jump: And the bass on this song is wonderfully wicked :guitarist:
swampaholic wrote:
I usually can't stand Mr. Costello, but this is nice. Must be the beat.
Same here...
Deadwing wrote:
My favorite Elvis Costello album :sunny: Isn't that "Farfisa" sound just a Hammond B Organ? I might be wrong so don't quote me... :think:
Farfisa organs and Hammond organs are totally different instruments and have very distinct sounds. The classic Hammond B-3 is much fuller and is a physically big instrument (The Band's Chest Fever is just one of the hundreds of examples I could use here.) The standard Farfisa (heard here) has a much thinner sound, and was popular with many 60's bands as well as the later new wave bands trying to recreate that sound. Plus they were cheap, and portable...
Pantagruel wrote:
Never understood his music, kind of Tom Petty lite
Man, what a random and clueless (and old) statement!
Great artist! And what a pleasure to listen to the bass in this tune!!!
My favorite Elvis Costello album :sunny: Isn't that "Farfisa" sound just a Hammond B Organ? I might be wrong so don't quote me... :think:
dmax wrote:
See, this was when radio was crap. Into that Muskrat Love wasteland came "New Wave" which had Elvis, Pretenders, Petty, Clash, Devo and some others. THEY COULDNT GET PLAYED ON THE RADIO, they were so different. So, those of us who were suffering through mainstream radio remember hearing things like this as an epiphany from on high. It changed everything. "I don't wanna be your lover. I just wanna be your victim..."
Tom Petty & The Pretenders got airplay back then (the late 70s). But Elvis Costello, Devo, The Talking Heads, The Ramones, Television, The Clash among many others did not.
I usually can't stand Mr. Costello, but this is nice. Must be the beat.
E.C. : Have you ever try to listen others songs?.. -> : yes, i even bought a CD to force myself (to be honest, a bargain on a flee market), but result was same-same : i felt, and always feel, your voice is no choice. E.C.: Well, you know, plenty, plenty do like me ! -> : I know... i'll like to be friend with them, to share at least this emptiness . Do they all wear thick glasses to get better hearing ?
Most excellent song. Superb album IMO
dwhayslett wrote:
No matter how many times you repeat something that's wrong ... it's still wrong.
I think highwindows must be W's screen name...
woozurdaddy wrote:
Gotta luv that Farfesa (sp?) organ....
Farfisa
dmax wrote:
See, this was when radio was crap. Into that Muskrat Love wasteland came "New Wave" which had Elvis, Pretenders, Petty, Clash, Devo and some others. THEY COULDNT GET PLAYED ON THE RADIO, they were so different. So, those of us who were suffering through mainstream radio remember hearing things like this as an epiphany from on high. It changed everything. "I don't wanna be your lover. I just wanna be your victim..."
Well said!!!
YES !! :dance:
rtkmusic wrote:
EXACTLY!!!
Ditto!!! Wake up, clueless Elvis bashers.
dmax wrote:
See, this was when radio was crap. Into that Muskrat Love wasteland came "New Wave" which had Elvis, Pretenders, Petty, Clash, Devo and some others. THEY COULDNT GET PLAYED ON THE RADIO, they were so different. So, those of us who were suffering through mainstream radio remember hearing things like this as an epiphany from on high. It changed everything. "I don't wanna be your lover. I just wanna be your victim..."
EXACTLY!!!
Great. One of my favorite Elvis songs from the early days. Thanks for playing. Great song, great memories. I needed it.
Gish05 wrote:
Sounds like the theme song for a cheesy 70's TV show!!
Most of the 70's were as bad as any cheesy TV show. This album actually offered some musical hope for the future.
Sometimes I think I've managed to live all these years in spite of myself. I just realized that for 30 years I thought he was singing "On The Beach." Or was it "Chesapeake"?
awesome.
andesitic wrote:
Ahh, the "Radio Costello" station.
I agree. And with EC preceded by the Levellers' "Four Winds" and followed by Guster's "The Captain", we seem to have hit a very bad patch on today's RP playlist. Oy!! Quick, let's :group-hug:
Pantagruel wrote:
Never understood his music, kind of Tom Petty lite
See, this was when radio was crap. Into that Muskrat Love wasteland came "New Wave" which had Elvis, Pretenders, Petty, Clash, Devo and some others. THEY COULDNT GET PLAYED ON THE RADIO, they were so different. So, those of us who were suffering through mainstream radio remember hearing things like this as an epiphany from on high. It changed everything. "I don't wanna be your lover. I just wanna be your victim..."
highwindows wrote:
Jeez Elvis, how many times do I have to tell you. You just can't sing!! :frustrated:
No matter how many times you repeat something that's wrong ... it's still wrong.
Alright, some early Costello that never gets aired! Pantagruel wrote:
Never understood his music, kind of Tom Petty lite
Go listen to Watching the Detectives, and see if you can still claim that.
twcarlin wrote:
Costello's first two albums are probably the best first two albums ever produced- full of amazing -short- songs. Every song is a winner. I know for me, they made the late 70's bearable.
Agree. Another definition of "cool" in western NY was "it's good sleeping weather." I used to live there.
Gregorama wrote:
Read his lyrics. I think Costello is a far more sophisticated song crafter than Petty, and I like mostly all of Petty's stuff. Costello really constructs some complex melodies and his arrangements are great. Fortunately, the last couple of times I've seen him, he still had Steve Neive with him, the keyboardist from the Attractions. I think some of the other guys from the Attractions were in the current band as well. They sounded terrific. Few songwriters I can think of are more prolific than E.C. and he's still touring regularly. Plays Austin about every other year, and still kicks major ass when playing live. Crowds go nuts when he plays here.
Nice take. This is one of his better songs, I think.
Jeez Elvis, how many times do I have to tell you. You just can't sing!! :frustrated:
Pantagruel wrote:
Never understood his music, kind of Tom Petty lite
Read his lyrics. I think Costello is a far more sophisticated song crafter than Petty, and I like mostly all of Petty's stuff. Costello really constructs some complex melodies and his arrangements are great. Fortunately, the last couple of times I've seen him, he still had Steve Neive with him, the keyboardist from the Attractions. I think some of the other guys from the Attractions were in the current band as well. They sounded terrific. Few songwriters I can think of are more prolific than E.C. and he's still touring regularly. Plays Austin about every other year, and still kicks major ass when playing live. Crowds go nuts when he plays here.
Never understood his music, kind of Tom Petty lite
scottc wrote:
Yeah, Elvis is versatile but that little repetitive keyboard part in this one gets under my skin. Sorry I noticed it.
Listen to the bass line instead. Bruce Thomas is a master basser.
Ahh, the "Radio Costello" station.
Yeah, Elvis is versatile but that little repetitive keyboard part in this one gets under my skin. Sorry I noticed it.
UltraNurd wrote:
Huh... still hasn't happened to me. His voice is just so grating, or something.
With his artificial recreation of imagined punk styles from the 50s, his singing is a redistillation of all that was bad then.
This album is scathingly cool.
woozurdaddy wrote:
Gotta luv that Farfesa (sp?) organ....
You know it. That was quite the furious combo Elvis had at that time.