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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 171
Fri. June 29, 2012

“I Want You”
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
1986

“♫ Everything else is a waste of breath ♫”

Elvis Costello once told Esquire—“There are about five things to write songs about: I’m leaving you. You’re leaving me. I want you. You don’t want me. I believe in something. Five subjects and twelve notes. For all that, we musicians do pretty well.” You know makes Costello a songwriting master? Elvis impossibly nails all five with Blood & Chocolate’s “I Want You,”

Because of this dark tinged classic— Elvis Costello has been called—“The Vincent Price of torch singers.” I Want You doesn’t just simmer it seethes with passion and hate—so much so that engineer of that Blood and Chocolate session, Colin Fairley once exclaimed—“[Elvis’s] vocal performance sent shivers down my spine. The mix we used on the album is the original monitor mix thirty minutes after we cut the track, warts and all.”

The best description, I found doing late night research, of Costello’s timeless “I Want You” is from Hymie’s Vintage Records who so eloquently declared—“Elvis Costello’s “I Want You” (Blood and Chocolate) is a true-to-form masterpiece, marrying “want” and “need” into unprecedented obsessiveness so successfully that one is uncomfortable just listening to it.”

The only thing I would add is go listen to “I Want You” right now. Elvis Costello has the song you desire. You may not get hot but Elvis’s song will keep you bothered by lingering in your subconscious as you try to unlock Costello’s secret lyrical inspiration.

The main body of the song is very repetitive; it’s supposed to be like that, it’s a picture of that kind of feeling and obsession.” Elvis shared, keeping his classic song cryptic, not wanting to decipher the meaning of “I Want You.” Costello also added—“The sound of this track was always going to be the aural equivalent of a blurred Polaroid, so no apologies for the lack of fidelity. None are needed; it’s just a pornographic snapshot; lots of broken glass, a squashed box of chocolates and a little blood on the wall.”

Curious now? Get inside “I Want You.” Nasty and vindictive, I Want You” makes being drenched in desperation—a desire sound so seductive you have to give in to its lyrical passion. What are you waiting for? Elvis sung it best when he said—“♫ Everything else is a waste of breath ♫”

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