Song Of The Day 3/1/2016: Aztec Camera – “The Bugle Sounds Again”

Dropped Off In the '80s – I was an early adopter of Aztec Camera. The first time (of an eventual eleven) I saw Elvis Costello they were the opening act. Elvis had said some nice supportive words about them in the press, and although I'm sure part of that was business-related he definitely meant at least some them. They had a song called "Oblivious" which both made KROQ listeners happy and sounded a little elevated over lots of the fare we were contending with then. Towards the end of the '80s they were largely scaled back to just main singer/songwriter Roddy Frame and scored a gigantic hit in Britain with "Somewhere In My Heart," which wears the pop conventions of the time in jangling bells off his cuffs, but it was a really good song.

But back to their first album High Land, Hard Rain from 1983, which houses today's entry. I love "The Bugle Sounds Again." It's one of the better songs about songwriting that I've come across. I had to work to get to that interpretation and I'm not sure it's 100% right, but I bet it's at least 80%. 80 is a very good percent to have in most cases. It portrays Frame's muse as an after-hours lover who wrings everything out of him, and also protects (or at least commiserates with) him when corporate "vampires" come calling to entice him into a life of elastic maturity and calculators. It's also interesting how the inspiration strikes at the most inopportune time: "When I'm safe and sound with nothing left to send/The bugle sounds again." Like in the Army. There's a lot of good material for tattoos or letterhead here. Man, I love this song. 

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