Monday, 13 May 2013

Chet Baker & Elvis Costello // "Almost Blue"

“Almost Blue” is one of those songs that has the lyrical complexity to deliver a custom message to each individual listener.   While this is hardly unusual in Elvis Costello’s work, (something I find particularly eminent in “Man Out of Time”), the rarity of it in modern artists deems it something to be treasured in people like Costello. 

I first discovered Costello through my mother, who initially introduced me to “Pump It Up” and “Watching the Detectives”.  As I subsequently searched through my parent’s CD collection, hoping to find one or two albums by him, I overzealously discovered more than 10 albums of both his solo work and Elvis Costello & the Attractions.  With the mountain of albums in hand, I devoted an entire summer to picking apart every rhyme, subtext, theme and meaning, feeling particularly proud of myself when a bit of research allowed me to correlate themes in the songs to those in his own life.

So through all this, I discovered the song “Almost Blue” and soon found Chet Baker’s interpretation as well.  I find it difficult to compare the two, as they so vastly differ from one another, but rather prefer to listen to them side by side.  The authenticity of Baker’s live performance of “Almost Blue” stands out immediately and reminds his listeners of what pure talent really is.

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