Pick of the Week: Elvis Costello – “Magnificent Hurt”

Elvis Costello "Magnificent Hurt"
Graphics by Maeve Huttner

By Sam Goodman, Staff Writer

Elvis Costello has returned with his band the Imposters to release “Magnificent Hurt,” one of 13 tracks off of their upcoming album. 

The album is entitled The Boy Named If (And Other Children’s Stories). “If” is our imaginary friend; “The Boy,” a representation of our childhood— promises and plans made and broken, the fears and joys of growing up. 

Reminiscent of his early punk sound, Costello’s latest release blends rock, synth, and go-go. He tells a story of a fleeting love; that passionate, painful, yet perfect kind of love.


Though Costello captivates his listener with his masterful rasp and the song’s thumping beat, “Magnificent Hurt” and the rest of the album tell a much deeper story. 

“[The album] takes us from the last days of a bewildered boyhood to that mortifying moment when you are told to stop acting like a child— which for most…can be any time in the next 50 years,” Costello said in a press release.

The pain Costello sings of is all too familiar.  Asking the listener, “what if this is true love?,” Costello explores the nostalgia and whimsy of young romance through the intensity and complexity of his rock-synth sound.  


Costello is also releasing a signed, 88-page hardback storybook version of the album. It will feature 13 illustrated short stories that correspond to the record’s 13 tracks. Through these stories and illustrations by Eamon Singer, Costello provides context for various songs, teases upcoming music, and gives clues to the meaning of the album’s theme of childhood.

“Whatever you take out of these tales, I wrote them for you and to make the life of these songs a little less lonely, if you should care to dive in a little deeper,” Costello said.”

You can listen to “Magnificent Hurt” now and catch the rest of The Boy Named If (And Other Children’s Stories on Jan. 14.
Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!

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