The new-wave legend flexes his trademark sneer in a handful of hurtling, rootsy rave-ups about corporate crooks.”



Elvis Costello’s new album, National Ransom, deals with the recent financial collapse. Lest you have any doubts, check out the album cover (below). Costello describes the recording as “… for the bankrupt times, whenever they may be.”

The CD is the usual $12.99, but I was surprised to see the MP3s of the disc at Amazon for $3.99. Grab some while it lasts . . .

Elvis Wiki here; videos after the jump.



Video: Elvis on Colbert Report

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Elvis Costello
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive

Video: Elvis on Colbert Report

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Exclusive – Elvis Costello – All I Have to Do Is Dream
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive

Video: Elvis Costello interview with Dave and Sheila on KINK.FM

Category: Music

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

25 Responses to “Elvis Costello: National Ransom”

  1. NickAthens says:

    HOW the F*** can you follow up a brilliant link to Keith Richards with an opportunistic link to Elvis Costello.

    Is this your view of great music?

  2. I love Elvis Costello’s early works — My Aim Is True (1977), This Year’s Model (1978), Armed Forces (1979) — three brilliant albums 3 years in a row. And Punch the Clock was a damned good album also. I know plenty of hardcore fans ho love King of America, Spike, All This Useless Beauty, and Blood & Chocolate.

  3. sharpie says:

    You mean the same Elvis Costello that is boycotting Israel? I’ll pass.

  4. illoguy says:

    If you happen to like Costello, check out his show “Spectacle with Elvis Costello” on the Sundance channel. It is both entertaining and enlightening about musicians and their influences. Costello is an excellent interviewer. If only more shows were this good with interviews.

    I’m assuming NickAthens will not be checking this out.

    Just a hunch.

  5. ToNYC says:

    Hijacking the American Dream and kidnapping middle class children into serfdom is the fruit of the Reagan Revolution bringing you CorpPiracy and Le Droit de Roi; deja vu all over again. Not the Greatest Generation.

  6. diegonomics says:

    Language, Mr. Athens. Show some respect, and stop hanging around

    By your tail.

    I’m interested in the opportunity to allow musicians to express themselves. I like Elvis Costello, and I’ll tell you, he never let me down.

    Regarding the theme of national ransom, I don’t see where it doesn’t fit, and I like the fact that in this new global economy, European musicians are free to comment on American problems. It will help us, Americans. That’s my opinion.

    Right now, my concern is over neo-con sentiment that believes in running everyone over, instead of looking at things as they really are, and let’s see what can be done to improve economic exigencies, overall. There’s a reason why the neo-cons are not well liked.

    With the recent election, hell yeah I’d like to listen to Elvis Costello. Better than listening to, or reading for that matter, yet more screaming from hell, trying to scarte me, upsetting basically everyone.

    Hey, if the money’s gone, then why the hell would I want to listen to someone cussing and complaing, in an insubstantial critique that can basically be reduced to bullying censorship? I might as well listen to some decent music.

    I think that that the next quarter to six months is really going to be about people coming to terms with the GOP, on a sound basis. I’m changing the subject here, but work with me.

    The GOP has traditionally had alot of economic knowledge and wherewithal to spur the economy. Now, with the GOP back in control of the House, the question will be, ‘Does the GOP go to it’s traditional strengths, or revert to recent neo-con form that I honestly think was instrumental in getting us into trouble in the first place.

    I think we should look at some first principles at this point, and not launch raunchy, ad hominem attacks, or just avoid the point.

    Athens, I’m using your post kind of as a sounding board, nothing personal, but instead something to put on the table.

    We had a good year going, but in SoCal, once the election cranked up, about mid August, sales at storefront businesses across the board (minus automobile dealers), flagged considerably, and dropped in a steep fashion. I visit over a hundred small businesses a month, personally. Many of the small business owners are people I’ve dealt with for years, so I can deal with them in a fairly straight fashion, and there’s a sense that the election was important in causing people to hold off on the discretionarys, chase mark downs relentlessly, and almost obsessively and register complaints instead of sales at points of purchase.

    I think that’s something we ought to value and show appreciation for. That feedback is really just vital to doing our next phase rebound. In other words, we can’t just follow people around via the GPS on their cell phones or through marketing cookies on the web.

    Instead, listening to an Elvis Costello, who’s totally speaking to and for an American audience, in a respectful if sufficiently edgy way, will connect us to a better way than simply getting pissed.

    Stuff’s on the table, and I see the late fourth quarter as an uniques opportunity to do outreach with important economic players. Now, Athens, I hear you fully. My central point is that hey, maybe Elvis Costello didn’t mean to offend you, or maybe you’re in a bad mood, or love Keith Richards or so forth.

    I think the beauty of the web is that people aren’t judged by just one post, and if you want to go off, and have a good rep, it’s alright, no worries.

  7. beaufou says:

    Can we please extend the stimulus and get those guys to come and play in NYC?

  8. nellien says:

    Two hyphenated words here: ugly-sexy and uber-talented. If I was stranded on a desert island, this is the Elvis music I would want washed up on shore.

  9. NickAthens says:

    @ diegonomics
    you are myneighbor so to quote Elvis Costello:

    Swallow down that voodoo vial to still your breath a while
    Before we spill this tale that has been spun
    And so I shall now confide all that I once denied
    Oh I’m so sorry for the things I’ve done

  10. diegonomics says:


    I watched that whole video and it’s epic. Thanks.


    Thats excellent. I associate you with this site! I’m in Tijuana, Baja California, so…San Diego?

    Heres a classic Juan Gabriel live rendition of ‘Asi Fue’ that I just have to share with you. Juan Gabriel played Tijuana just tonight. Oh yeah.

    Tijuana is not the dreadful Tijuana you may have read about in the media media. On Avenida Revolucion tonight, theres a high class modeling event thats closed to the public, and an enormous book fair. Extraordinary titles in extraordinary condition, up and down the street.

    Anyway, Here’s Juan Gabriel:

  11. The Window Washer says:

    Just listened to a few of those Elvis songs. Pretty weak.
    Doubt me? Switch over and play Alibi.
    Thats “later” work of his and it’s way stronger.

  12. Julia Chestnut says:

    Ordered the record in MP3s. I like Elvis Costello. I also ordered Brian Eno’s new one, “Small Craft on a Milk Sea” for my spouse. Perhaps we’re a little off the norm in our listening here under the spreading Chestnut tree.

    So far my favorite off the Costello album is “Slow Drag with Josephine.”

  13. @diegonomics,

    Now that the election is over, the government no longer has the incentive to put rouge on the corpse. The fourth quarter might not look as lively as we hope. They also have no incentive to pump the market any more. They didn’t get what they wanted so why fake it any more than they already do? All hands on deck, this could get rough

  14. Arequipa01 says:

    When you’re finished twisting your puds, here’s some of what is really going down. It’s a feel good story for our time, you see the rich get together and protect one of their underlings…admit it, you would all hope for the same treatment Mr. Erzinger received. Maybe afterwards you argue about who’s dreamier, Shaun Cassidy or Leif Garret? Mostaceros que son.

  15. mathman says:

    Some Sunday morning reading for you:

  16. ronin says:

    How can you hate this man?

    Guys like Costello don’t exist anymore. Sure, you can stroll into a small club in the US or UK and see a very talented musician, but they won’t be as nearly as original, creative, raw, and/or humble as this guy!

    Everything has been said and done with a guitar, bass and drums unfortunately. Now all we can do is pay homage to the past….

    This song back in 1970′s was brilliant and still very much is!

  17. Harry Lime says:

    I hope this is a return to the early pissed-off Elvis. He’s mellowed too much for my taste. Being married to a babe will do that to you.

  18. rip says:


    Sometime in the late 70s I was in Pittsburgh on business, staying in the Hilton, near their “concert hall”, and was completely and totally stunned upon returning from dinner at the security in place and the high school girls hanging out in the lobby begging someone to help them clear security to the upper floors and upper level bar. What could I do?

    Elvis had just done a concert across the street and was staying there.

    And was chilling out in the bar after the concert, thankful that security had simplified his evening. A truly pleasant, intelligent person, interested in connecting with everyone. IMHO very much absolutely the same sensitive, perceptive genre of human being as the Boss and Dylan.

  19. b_thunder says:

    First, he signed up to play in Israel. Quietly. Then he made a big deal of canceling his concert in protest of… you know, you can always find something that Israel does that an “artistic mind” can disagree with.

    If you want to boycott the country – don’t to play there! So why did he agree to play a concert there to begin with? Seems to me only to make a big deal of canceling it! Or perhaps to put his name on the front page? This is not a boycott, this is propaganda and self-advertising.

    Well, Israel does a lot of “controversial” stuff, most of it just to survive… I don’t support everything what that do, but Elvis Costello “the propagandist” will not see a penny of my money. Don’t need to listen to people like that.

  20. rip says:

    @b_thunder: Maybe you need to listen for the deeper human message.

  21. rip says:

    And Lennon

  22. jwagner says:

    B.R. Says: “Elvis Costello’s new album, National Ransom, deals with the recent financial collapse. ”

    Seems to be a theme going around among old rockers… Richard Thompson’s Money Shuffle on his new album Dream Attic:
    I hear the sound of distant thunder
    AIG and Lehmans going under
    Will I get my bonus, I wonder?
    Lyrics at and there’s a copy on youtube if you’d like to give it a listen.

    It’s a pretty cutting take on Wall Street on a really fine live album.
    Jim W.

  23. jack says:

    i will probably pick this up, if for no other reason that his last release was so strong (sacred, profane, sugarcane). been listening to him since i first got armed forces.

    BR, if you like those three early releases, you might want to consider the rhino release a few years back that rereleased those, plus a previously bootlegged version of a show from Canada (i think) called ‘live at el mocambo’. really captures that band’s energy. version of ‘lipstick vogue’ is worth the price alone.

  24. ToNYC says:

    Numbas on Paper by Mose Allison arrived way beyond and long ago.

  25. TedDogRun says:

    Listen to this week’s This American Life (on NPR) podcast for insight on Toxic Assets (they purchased “Toxie”) at:

    Very informative and entertaining.