Elvis Costello has released the track list for his upcoming album Hey Clockface, along with a new song titled “We Are All Cowards Now.”
An ominous piano, drum and bass line runs through the tune, with Costello singing his bluesy, anguished vocals over the top. Soulful backing singers add to the emotion, while a jangling guitar highlights various points. The lyrics tackle war, violence and protests, as Costello evokes cries of social justice with his words.
“They’re coming for our peacemakers / Our Winchesters and Colts / The rattle of our Gatling guns / Our best cowboy revolts / And threats and insults, we are all cowards now.”
Listen to “We Are All Cowards Now” below.
“We Are All Cowards Now” was part of an especially productive series of sessions in Paris’ Les Studios Saint Germain.
“I sang live on the studio floor, directing from the vocal booth,” Costello detailed via a news release. “We cut nine songs in two days. We spoke very little. Almost everything the musicians played was a spontaneous response to the song I was singing. I’d had a dream of recording in Paris like this, one day.”
Other recording locations included Helsinki and New York, giving Hey Clockface a distinctly international flavor.
“I wanted to write ‘Helsinki-Paris-???’ on the record jacket like this was a perfume or an advertising agency,” Costello explained. “‘London’ was a possibility for the third city but London is forever. We’ll be there again.”
As for the LP’s style, Costello admitted he went for a gritty, authentic sound. “I wanted the record to be vivid,” he said. “Whether the songs demanded playing that was loud and jagged or intimate and beautiful.”
A full track list for Hey Clockface is available below.
Costello’s most recent album, 2018’s Look Now, included collaborations with Carole King and Burt Bacharach. The LP took home a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, marking his first win following 13 previous nominations.
Elvis Costello, ‘Hey Clockface’ Track Listing
1. “Revolution #49”
2. “No Flag”
3. “They’re Not Laughing at Me Now”
4. “Newspaper Pane”
5. “I Do (Zula’s Song)”
6. “We Are All Cowards Now”
7. “Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me?”
8. “The Whirlwind”
9. “Hetty O’Hara Confidential”
10. “The Last Confession of Vivian Whip”
11. “What Is It That I Need That I Don’t Already Have?”
12. “Radio Is Everything”
13. “I Can’t Say Her Name”