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Album: The Secret The Profane And SugarcaneReleased: 2009
This number about the price of human greed was one of four tracks on Secret, Profane & Sugarcane that was inspired by The Secret Songs, a 2005 commission that Costello was given by the Royal Danish Opera. The chamber opera was to be about Danish author Hans Christian Andersen's unrequited love for the Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind. Though some of the songs were previewed on the Opera's main stage in October 2005, Costello never completed the project. They weren't initially planned to be part of Secret, Profane & Sugarcane but encouraged by the ease with which some of the other material was put to tape, Costello and his backing band decided to take them on. He explained during a conference call: "I started out with songs I felt we could achieve very easily. The vividness of those recordings surprised me, and emboldened by them getting into the can pretty quickly...I was able to try these other songs that were a little more intricate. And the ease with which these musicians expressed them allowed me to really sing them and really tell the stories."