Friday, January 13, 2012

Yet Again Misunderstood

Thinking yesterday of Yusuf's take on Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood inevitably brought to mind my favourite version of the song, the one by Elvis Costello. I believe this was released as a single, which promptly got nowhere. Fortunately it appears on King of America and I had a good old wallow in the album this afternoon. One of the wonderful things about following the work of top-rate musicians with extensive back catalogues is that you forget just how utterly great those albums are until you give them a spin and realise what you've been missing simply by not playing them.

Elvis's take on Misunderstood is blistering. He sounds like a guy who really is on some kind of personal edge in this pressingly intimate, one-to-one, claustrophobic version of the song. When I first heard the version, as a single, I actually had the impression the band were not quite in tune, or that something was off somewhere. In fact it's the voice - so hurt it sounds discordant when it's not. When Elvis sings with this much passion you know it's no fun to fail to make your intentions clear.

I read one reviewer somewhere once, saying the vocal was overly dramatic. Idiot.

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