By J. D. Considine
With a cover showing a cartoon wolf in robber-baron garb, running off with a carpet bag spilling cash, it’s not too hard to guess whose ox is being gored on National Ransom, the title track of Elvis Costello’s latest album, out Tuesday. And even though some of the songs are imbued with the sweetness of bluegrass and gospel, there’s plenty of the satirical bite that made Costello a new-wave icon.
There are a number of songs addressing religion on the album, but they don’t seem anti-religious so much as opposed to the abuse of religion.
I’m suspicious of people who think they know what God knows. Myself, I actually think that’s blasphemy.
I once sat on the steps of a church with an Orthodox Ethiopian boy. And he said, ‘Are you Orthodox?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ And I thought that was very beautiful, that he thought it was more a sorrowful thing, than he hated me because I wasn’t what he was, you know?