Tramp The Dirt Down

  • In this song Costello vows to dance on Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's grave. He clarified the song's message in Q Magazine March 2008: "You shouldn't really celebrate when anybody dies, but I think she did this country a disservice in the things she tricked out of people."
  • Costello explained how he came up with this song in a 1989 interview with On The Street: "The song was written at that extreme point, where that's what you feel. I kind of almost scrapped it a couple of times, I thought, that's not really the way I think, I'm more balanced than that. The arguments carried through the song are not balanced, they're not reasonable, they blame the wrong people for the wrong things, but you don't want like the social worker song, you know the person who understands everything. Writing the song is only a little bit better than kicking the television in when the news is on... The song is only a little bit short of mindless violence, isn't it?" (This interview is available at Rock's Backpages.)

Comments: 4

  • Dan from Northampton, United KingdomThe arrangement is brilliant - Irish bouzouki, low whistle, uillean pipes - and totally in keeping with the sentiments he expresses. He's taken a lot of stick for it, much worse than the commenter above, but as I write it is rising up the charts. People remember what a terrible time that was and the song expresses the powerless rage felt by millions of people she demonised and dispossessed.
    As for the lyric-writing itself, he carries a long and involved narrative and seems to bend the form to fit the lyric, ending up with something that's more believable as a stream-of-consciousness raging. For me the lyrical highpoints are probably the rhyming of Madame with Tarmacadam, and the observation "I think I'll be going before we fold our arms 
and start to weep" - the point at which grieving people hug themselves then have to give up holding back the tears.
  • Jim from Parma, OhI like Elvis overall, but this is more of the typical nonsensical know-it-all garbage we get from self-important celebrities. Thank God these people can stand on the sidelines with their cheap shots instead of having to make real decisions.
  • Stacy from West Hartford, CtI love this song and I think it makes you think
  • Lee from Tallahassee, FlI've always liked the bagpipes in this number as much as the message
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