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02 January 2021

Elvis Costello Celebrates 2021 With New Song, “Farewell, OK 2020”

Francesca Moore/Alamy Stock Photo
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Elvis Costello has seen in 2021 and bid farewell to last year with a short new song, Farewell, OK 2020. The song, which was uploaded to Costello’s YouTube account yesterday (1st January) runs at just over a minute, and is a strange, experimental song.

Elvis Costello shared a link to the song on his Twitter page on New Year’s Day, but eagle-eyed – and eared – fans may have been surprised. According to Rolling Stone, Costello shared a different version of the song on New Year’s Eve, after teasing fans with the phrases “Farewell, OK.”

The version originally uploaded featured the lyrics: “Farewell, OK/ You’ll be on way/ You’ll be on your own now/ Much to my dismay” and “I can’t go on/ After what you’ve done”, which are not discernible in this new version.

However, that version of the song appears to have since been deleted and replaced with the glitchy, electronica styled release.

While Costello said goodbye to 2020, it had been a musically rich year for the singer-songwriter. His brilliant 1979 album, Armed Forces, received the deluxe reissue treatment, and Costello also released his 31st studio album, Hey Clockface, which had been largely recorded across Europe and the US before the coronavirus outbreak.

One of the songs on the record, No Flag, was revealed to have been inspired by Iggy & The Stooges song No Fun, from the band’s sensational eponymous debut album. While Costello had hoped fans may pick up on the reference from the title alone, it wasn’t until he revealed the fact to Iggy Pop in an interview with the star for Rolling Stone that it became known.

Iggy Pop acknowledged the gesture by recording his own version of the song, in French. The lyrics were translated into French by Muriel Téodori, wife of keyboardist Steve Nieve who plays in the Attractions and The Imposters, and also by her son, Antoine Jules Ulysse Quessada, who records under the name AJUQ, and plays drums on Costello’s Hey Clockface.

You can see both the video for Elvis Costello’s Farewell OK, 2O2O, and Iggy Pop’s rendition of No Flag below.

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