Just weeks ahead of his highly anticipated 31st studio album Hey Clockface, lauded singer- songwriter Elvis Costello releases “Newspaper Pane.” The forthcoming album will be released on October 30 by Concord Records.
This is the fifth song to be taken from the album, following “No Flag,” ”We Are All Cowards Now,” “Hetty O’ Hara Confidential” and “Hey Clockface/ How Can You Face Me?” The singles in sum now transmit a vivid taste of what can be encountered on Costello’s newest project, which is that of a varied and dynamic flavor, as no two singles released thus far have landed close to one another sonically. “Newspaper Pane” firmly stands starkly original in comparison to its predecessors, doing away with the jazzy big band swinging offered on “Hey Clockface/ How Can You Face Me?” or even the sharp and specific chord progressions on “No Flag.”
Costello has always been generally viewed as one of popular music’s preeminent wordsmiths, and “Newspaper Pane” does nothing to denote that status, but rather supports it fervently. The song features a nonstop helping of languid Costello poetry over a palpable musical progression that ends up in an entirely different place then it originates, like a reverse entropy.
The lyric begins with a description of a woman who stares at newspaper fragments she taped to a windowpane that describe an unattainable life. The story then moves back and forth through time and space to arrive at a declaration spoken with acerbity in Costello’s vocal:
“When you get where I am now, you may feel differently / The cliff drops away sharply, falls into the sea.”
Unanticipated hurdles had to be overcome by the production staff to finish this track because of the pandemic. Previous singles were recorded in Helsinki and Paris, but “Newspaper Pane” was first produced and written in New York by Michael Leonhart and guitarist Bill Frisell before Costello poured his lyrics over it from across the pond via telecommunications. Sebastian Krys, Costellos celebrated co- producer who crafted Costello’s Grammy winning and now penultimate release Look Now (2018), had a hand in this single’s production as well.