Elvis Costello Says Modern Rock Has Lost Its "Roll"
"I think if you lose the roll part, a lot of the fun goes out of it"
Published Jan 17, 2022How do you do, fellow kids? Elvis Costello is lamenting the state of modern rock, claiming that he thinks it has lost its "roll."
The second-most famous Elvis is, unsurprisingly, a rock nostalgist. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the musician shared his thoughts on today's rock music climate.
"I don't like much rock music," Costello admitted when asked what attracts him to writing rock music. "I like rock 'n' roll. I think if you lose the roll part, a lot of the fun goes out of it."
"And 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," the singer-songwriter explained. "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," referring to the influential country and western artist of the mid-1940s to early 1950s.
Costello elaborated on the "square" (wait, it's no longer hip to be square?) sound of contemporary rock records and their inability to float, saying:
You listen to these records out of Nashville... they couldn't float if you filled them full of water. They just don't; they're square and they sound like bad rock records from the nineties. To my ear, they just do. But somebody likes them. My grandfather — he was a trumpet player — never used to criticize other musicians. 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.
The musician attempts to put a pair of floaties on modern rock ('n' roll) with his latest album The Boy Named If — his 32nd studio recording. It follows 2020's Hey Clockface, which landed on Exclaim!'s 33 Worst Album Covers list for that year.
Last week, Costello said he'll no longer perform "Oliver's Army" and wants radio stations to stop playing the 1979 track, which includes the phrase "white n—."