Today in Old White Guy Opinions: Elvis Costello doesn’t care much for rock music these days. The 67-year-old pop rock legend — who just released his 32nd studio album, The Boy Named If — said in a recent interview that he thinks modern rock has lost its spark.
“I don’t like much rock music,” Costello admitted to Rolling Stone. “I like rock ‘n’ roll. I think if you lose the roll part, a lot of the fun goes out of it.”
The “Alison” singer continued: “When people ask me, ‘What’s your favorite record?’ I usually don’t name any electric-guitar records made in the last 30 years because the beat is so square… I like things that float a bit or swing a bit — whether it’s rock ‘n’ roll or actual jazz that swings or even the way Hank Williams records lope.”
Costello went on to say that he thinks most current rock music, particularly that coming from Nashville, “couldn’t float if you filled them full of water.” But as an artist himself, he knows his opinions only mean so much. “My grandfather — he was a trumpet player — never used to criticize other musicians,” Costello added. “I’m trying to live by his example a little better these times and not be so critical of everybody else. But you can’t like everything.”
Thankfully for his own sake, Costello’s own recent releases have maintained some “roll.” The Boy Called If followed his 2020 album, Hey Clockface.
Earlier this month, Costello revealed he won’t perform his 1979 hit “Oliver’s Army” live anymore due to controversy over the line “One more widow, one less white n****.” He also told radio stations to stop playing the track, instead of censoring it.