Something seems to be missing these days. It seems that record companies, radio stations, and streaming services are pushing some the great established musicians to the background. As a result these veteran artists are not getting the attention they deserve. Enter the Top 10 Album Countdown: The New Oldies. The main point is simple – to make this list you must have at least 20 years of producing established music. The album by the artist must have been released between November 1st, 2019 and October 31st, 2020.
#5 Elvis Costello – Hey Clockface
Declan McManus, the artist better known as Elvis Costello has landed the New Oldies #6 Album of the Year with Hey Clockface.
This is Costello’s first album since 2018. It was also in 2018 when Costello was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was forced to cancel his 2018 tour. Now that he has beaten cancer, he has released his 31st album.
The point of the New Oldies project was to look at some of the top work by veteran artists that might be getting overlooked. However for over 40 years, it seems that this has been the theme of Elvis Costello’s career – namely staying under the radar and getting overlooked.
Hey Clockface is an album that builds Costello’s signature modern pop/rock style adding in other genres such as blues, supper club, psychedelia, and Tin Pan Alley ragtime sound.
The Tin Pan Alley Ragtime sound comes out on several tracks, with he best examples being the title track Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me? and I Can’t Say Her Name. There are Beatles-eque psychedelia influences on No Flag and They’re Not Laughing at Me Now. These two songs reminded me that Elvis Costello was the one who got Paul McCartney out of a musical slump in the 1980s.
There are some “supper club”/bluesy tracks such as I Do and The Last Confession of Vivian Whip. Of course the modern Elvis Costello sound is still present throughout many tracks of the album, but really shine on We are All Cowards Now, Hetty O’Hara Confidential, and the spoken word song Radio is Everything. Not to be forgotten is the Indian-influenced track, Revolution #49 that is opening track of the album.
While this album is a potpourri of musical tastes, it also is an album that has no filler material. Costello is still only 66 years old, young by today’s “New Oldies” standards, and I suspect we have not seen the last of his creativity.