Has an Itchy Trigger
by Bonnie Stiernberg
Words are important to Elvis Costello.
That is, of course, an overly simple way of putting it—clunky and vague. I know this because words are important to me, too. But before I get a chance to get the rest of mine out—to note that whether in early hits like “Alison” (“I don’t know if you are lovin’ somebody, I only know it isn’t mine”) and “Clubland” (“The long arm of the law slides up the outskirts of town”) or more recent tunes like National Ransom’s “Bullets for the New Born King” (“bells and hands were only there for wringing”), he plays with puns in a way few other artists do—Costello cuts in.