Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me?

Album: Hey Clockface (2020)
Play Video


  • "Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me?" is a gypsy jazz-influenced tune, which finds Elvis Costello taking on time itself. "This is a song about picking an argument with time, the very clock face, either running too fast or too slow, depending on the company you keep," explained the singer.
  • The song came out of a productive weekend session in Paris' Les Studios Saint Germain. Working with producer Francois Delabriere, Costello recorded nine songs in two days. He sang live on the studio floor, directing his band from the vocal booth.

    Costello's backing band included his longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve, as well as a horn player, a cellist, a reed player and a drummer/percussionist. "We spoke very little," the singer recalled. "Almost everything the musicians played was a spontaneous response to the song I was singing. I'd had a dream of recording in Paris like this, one day."
  • Elvis Costello's father, Ross MacManus, sang with the Joe Loss Orchestra. This jazzy tune reflects that style.

    "My dad came out of the big bands," Costello told Billboard, "and once in a while I write songs that reference those songs."
  • Said Costello regarding the song's meaning: "'Hey Clockface' is me shouting at the clock, because it's weighing on us all; when you're with the one you love, time seems to speed up."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks


LecraeSongwriter Interviews

The Christian rapper talks about where his trip to Haiti and his history of addiction fit into his songs.

Album Cover Inspirations

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

Chris Squire of Yes

Chris Squire of YesSongwriter Interviews

One of the most dynamic bass player/songwriters of his time, Chris is the only member of Yes who has been with the band since they formed in 1968.

Donald Fagen

Donald FagenSongwriter Interviews

Fagen talks about how the Steely Dan songwriting strategy has changed over the years, and explains why you don't hear many covers of their songs.

Judas Priest

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.

Protest Songs

Protest SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know your protest songs (including the one that went to #1)?