"There was a time when the release of a new title by your favourite record artist was a cause for excitement and rejoicing but sadly no more," begins the entry on Elvis Costello's website entitled "Steal This Record." That could be a slight over-reaction, generally speaking, but the former angry young man is not happy and he's channeled the version of himself that once famously played an unscripted version of "Radio, Radio" on Saturday Night Live in the recently posted screed.
So why's the upcoming release from one of our "favourite record artists" not worthy of celebrating? As Costello sees it, a price that is "either a misprint or satire." The release in question, The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, consists of 1 CD, 1 DVD and 1 10" vinyl EP chronicling an April date at L.A.'s Wiltern Theater, as well as what Costello himself deems a "beautifully designed compendium contain(ing) all manner of whimsical scribblings, photographs and cartoons". The December 6th release on the HIP-O label is also currently retailing for just over $200, the case despite attempts by Costello to have the price lowered.
Before all is said and done, Costello not only recommends buying the new Louis Armstrong box set Ambassador of Jazz instead of his ("Frankly, the music is vastly superior."), he also clues us into the fact that a more affordable version of the release will be available at some point in the new year ("...assuming that you have not already obtained them by more uncoventional means"). Needless to say, this probably doesn't endear him to the label, but it does to us.
Read the entire missive here.