We’re celebrating Elvis Costello’s birthday—and his impact on our musical worldview—by picking a Trunkworthy track every week until you beg us to stop.

That’s right. SONG OF THE WEEK. This is a commitment. We’re starting today, on Elvis’ birthday, and we’ll keep sharing our favorite tracks until either we hear the opening scream of “Man Out of Time,” or you beg us to stop.

And yes, we love a lot of artists, so why such a concentration of Costello?

Because his mission is Trunkworthy’s mission: He may be more responsible than any other artist for expanding Team Trunkworthy’s musical minds and record collections. Through the artists and genres he’s championed and explored—whether on his records, through his collaborations, or in his interviews and playlists—he woke us up and got us travelling to different sections of the record store and to concert halls and clubs we may have not seen otherwise.

Read what Trunkworthy cofounders Gary Stewart and David Gorman say below, but most importantly, listen. We can’t think of anyone who’s written 500 songs as consistently good as his 500 songs . . . and we hope to turn you on to some of the best you’ve never heard.

This week’s pick:  “Human Hands,” from Imperial Bedroom (1982)

 

Gary Stewart: “Tighter and tighter I hold you tightly / You know I love you more than slightly / Although I’ve never said it like this before.”

And in many ways up to this point in Costello’s career he hadn’t. Here he showed us an emotional vulnerability we hadn’t seen before, which reframed him and finally buried all of the “angry young man/punk/new wave/cynical” baggage that was always incorrect to begin with. After this, Elvis’ songs would get more personal and as revealing as anything by Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Ryan Adams.

David Gorman: This was the first Costello song I connected with on a deeply personal level. “Human Hands” has the longing I usually turned to Marvin Gaye or George Jones for, plus the kind of delicate, ornate orchestration that I adore in the best ’70s pop and soul records. There’s this attitude among certain “serious” rock artists that they must evolve beyond romantic love songs (even the most serious soul artists, thankfully, have no such hangup), but Elvis did the opposite here—he evolved into singing romantic love songs, and opened the door to the idea that vulnerability and credibility aren’t mutually exclusive, even for someone who came out of the punk movement. This is a genuinely moving love song, with all of the intelligence and craft we’d come to expect from him, and the first hint of what we’d get years later on the very adult, very heartbreaking and very Trunkworthy Painted From Memory album.