Elvis Costello released his debut album 45 years ago, and he just released his 32nd album, “The Boy Named If.”
And despite the challenges of the pandemic, Costello says creating “The Boy Named If” came out pretty organically.
“When you come back to pick up the electric guitar again, as I did in the summer of 2020, just having a guitar in my hand again, just seemed to drag the words out of me very rapidly,” He said. “Suddenly these songs were all there and I don’t know where they came from. But I must have been thinking about a bunch of connected things.”
While the songs may connect together, this isn’t a concept album, he says.
“Two words I never use referring to my own work is, ‘concept’ and ‘genre.’ I just don’t use those words. I mean, there are perfectly good, serviceable words that don’t sound so pompous,” he said.
Thankfully, the separation caused by the pandemic didn’t seem to detract much from producing this record.
“Going into the studio is usually often a process of separating musicians willfully, into boxes, into sound booths,” he said. “You’re not staring at each other eye-to-eye when you’re playing very often”
“I don’t really see the difference of doing it in different locations,” he added.
And you can’t be afraid to “lose your embarrassment.”
“A lot of making rock ‘n’ roll in every way, the playing and the singing and the writing, is like running around in your underwear,” said. “Some noises that you make might sound completely ungainly and undignified, and then you hear them back in the context of the song and they sound just great.”
Evening Mix Host Liz Felix and Costello talk about much more, including The Beatles, Lou Reed, songwriting and what it’s like to turn the tables and interview other musicians. Listen to their full conversation above.