Almost Blue

Album: Imperial Bedroom (1982)
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  • This torch ballad is based on a jazz standard from 1931 called "The Thrill Is Gone," which is about a love gone cold. That song has somewhat generic lyrics ("birds were singing," "I can see it in your eyes"), but Costello's song is achingly poignant, as he sings, "There's a girl here and she's almost you... Almost."

    This isn't just a thrill that's gone, but his shot at a lasting love. It gets worse the longer it drags on; by the end, Costello laments:

    Not all good things come to an end now, it is only a chosen few
    I have seen such an unhappy couple
  • This Costello's previous album, released in 1981, was called Almost Blue, but this song wasn't part of it. "Almost Blue," the song, was released on Imperial Bedroom in 1982.
  • Costello has explored many different styles of music throughout his career. When he wrote this song, he was listening to a lot of Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. He says he was "besotted with that type of blue ballad, the minor-key ballad."
  • Trumpet player Chet Baker, whose rendition of "The Thrill Is Gone" was a favorite of Costello's, sometimes performed this song in concert and recorded a version that showed up on many compilations after his death in 1988. Other artists to cover the song include Diana Krall, Alison Moyet, Gwen Stefani and Everything But The Girl.
  • This is an unusual song for Costello in that it begins with the title, as does the song on which it is based, "The Thrill Is Gone."
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