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Music

Elvis Costello confesses that he doesn't "like rock music" anymore

@SamWKemp

Elvis Costello has made a surprise confession. In his own words, the 67-year-old new wave icon – who has just released his 32nd studio album, The Boy Named If – doesn’t like “much rock music these days”. Why? Well, if his comments in a recent interview are anything to go by, he thinks modern rock has lost its edge.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Costello admitted: “I don’t like much rock music. I like rock ‘n’ roll. I think if you lose the roll part, a lot of the fun goes out of it.” The ever-opinionated singer of ‘Alison’, ‘Oliver’s Army’, and ‘Everyday I Write The Book’ went on to explain: “When people ask me, ‘What’s your favourite record?’ I usually don’t name any electric-guitar records made in the last 30 years because the beat is so square… I like things that float a bit or swing a bit — whether it’s rock ‘n’ roll or actual jazz that swings or even the way Hank Williams records lope.”

According to Costello, who made his name writing angular, genre-bending pop hits, most contemporary rock music, especially that coming out of Nashville, “Couldn’t float if you filled them full of water”. But, being the son of a musician himself, Costello was keen to reassure us that he is attempting to remedy what he regards as the soullessness of modern rock. “My grandfather — he was a trumpet player — never used to criticise other musicians.”

Costello added, “I’m trying to live by his example a little better these times and not be so critical of everybody else. But you can’t like everything.” Costello’s last couple of albums – A Boy Called If and 2020’s Hey Clockface – revealed that he is indeed still committed to putting the ‘roll’ back into rock. Although some veteran members of his fanbase weren’t so sure, it has to be said.

Elsewhere, Costello – somewhat begrudgingly – announced that he won’t be performing his 1979 hit ‘Oliver’s Army’ live anymore due to the controversy surrounding the infamous line “One more widow, one less white n****.” He went on to say that he’d rather Radio Stations stop playing the song altogether than censor it.

The song, which was inspired by The Troubles in Northern Ireland, reached number two in the UK charts and number four in the Irish charts. However, in recent years, radio stations have been playing the track with the slur removed, a choice which Costello argued only drew more attention to it. “They’re making it worse by bleeping it for sure. Because they’re highlighting it then. Just don’t play the record, Costello concluded.