Elvis Costello Talks with David Remnick
18 min

Elvis Costello’s thirty-first studio album, “Hey Clockface,” will be released this month. Recorded largely before the pandemic, it features an unusual combination of winds, cello, piano, and drums. David Remnick talks with Costello about the influence of his father’s career in jazz and about what it’s like to look back on his own early years.  They also discuss “Fifty Songs for Fifty Days,” a new project leading up to the Presidential election—though Costello disputes that the songs are political. “I don’t have a manifesto and I don’t have a slogan,” he says. “I try to avoid the simplistic slogan nature of songs. I try to look for the angle that somebody else isn’t covering.” But he notes that “the things that we are so rightly enraged about, [that] we see as unjust . . . it’s all happened before. . . . I didn’t think I’d be talking with my thirteen-year-old son about a lynching. Those are the things I was hearing reported on the news at their age.”  

Costello spoke from outside his home in Vancouver, B.C., where a foghorn is audible in the background.

Worldly
Worldly
Vox
Beijing’s bad tweet
Jenn, Alex, and Jen talk about the diplomatic spat between China and Australia that erupted this week after a Chinese official tweeted a fake image of an Australian soldier threatening a young Afghan child with a knife. Though the image was fake, it highlighted real war crimes allegedly committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. The crew explains why China, a notorious human rights abuser itself, is trolling Australia on Twitter about this issue, and how it fits into China's broader geopolitical strategy to bully countries into keeping quiet about its own failings. References: The Australia-China diplomatic spat, explained An inquiry found Australian special forces committed possible war crimes in Afghanistan The potential costs of a trade war between Australia and China How Australia’s allies are responding to its feud with China The US government also did some trolling of its own A look at China’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy Hosts: Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox Jen Kirby (@j_kirby1), foreign reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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