The book is simultaneously revealing and guarded, in all the ways a Costello fan would expect it to be. Gloriously written yet infuriatingly opaque. If fans know anything about Elvis it is that he would be anything but obvious. What he does with great aplomb is to decipher certain lyrics in such a way that I often wished for a compendium of his lyrics with side-notes and references. It’s something I would buy, I suspect I’m not alone.
Since the biog has no linear tendencies the zig-zagging across the decades is occasionally perverse but eventually makes sense. His form is to write of instances that remind him of why he ended up in that position or artists that influenced this or that reference or song. There is a lot about music, in some ways it’s all about music and his knowledge and depths of references are bewildering in their expanse.
Elvis is the single artist by whom I own the most work. In reading UM&DW I realised that I had barely scratched the surface of his output. There were countless songs written for, and recorded by, others of which I knew nothing. Added to this there are dalliances in genres of music that I feared I would dislike but now yearn to hear.