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Music / Blood & Chocolate (1986)
aka: Blood And Chocolate

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Blood & Chocolate is a 1986 album by Elvis Costello. His eighth album with backing band the Attractions, it's a reunion of sorts, his first full album with them following Goodbye Cruel World (which Costello himself found disappointing) and the mostly solo King of America. It's also the first Costello album in five years produced by his friend Nick Lowe, who had last helmed Trust in 1981. Costello has described the album as "a pissed-off thirty-one year old's This Year's Model".

Track listing

Side One

  1. "Uncomplicated" (3:28)
  2. "I Hope You’re Happy Now" (3:07)
  3. "Tokyo Storm Warning" (6:25)
  4. "Home Is Anywhere You Hang Your Head" (5:07)
  5. "I Want You" (6:45)

Side Two

  1. "Honey Are You Straight or Are You Blind?" (2:09)
  2. "Blue Chair" (3:42)
  3. "Battered Old Bird" (5:51)
  4. "Crimes of Paris" (4:20)
  5. "Poor Napoleon" (3:23)
  6. "Next Time Around" (3:28)

Tropes and Chocolate:

  • Album Title Drop: The first line on "Uncomplicated" is "Blood & chocolate, I hope you're satisfied what you have done."
  • Break Up Song: "I Hope You're Happy Now", which ends with the lines:
    I knew then what I know now
    I never loved you anyhow
    And I hope you're happy now!
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The cover is a quite bizarre one.
  • Epic Rocking: "Tokyo Storm Warning" and "I Want You" are both over six minutes long.
  • Esperanto, the Universal Language: The album's credits are in Esperanto, although some words are misspelled (it's "gitaro", not "guitaro").
  • Fish out of Water: The Klansmen in "Tokyo Storm Warning" might be expected to terrorize a city full of Asians, but "they're helpless here as babies, 'cos they're only here on holiday."
  • In the Style of: Costello has described "Blue Chair" as his attempt to write a Prince song.
  • Love Makes You Crazy/Love Makes You Evil: From "Home Is Anywhere You Hang Your Head":
    He's contemplating murder again
    He must be in love.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "I Hope You're Happy Now", "I Want You", "Next Time Round"
  • Obsession Song: "I Want You", big time.
  • One-Man Song: "Poor Napoleon".
  • One-Word Title: "Uncomplicated".
  • Questioning Title?: "Honey, Are You Straight Or Are You Blind?"
  • Revisiting the Roots: Blood & Chocolate was a conscious attempt to get back to basics after several albums of Baroque Pop and more tech-heavy eighties rock. He and Lowe chose a studio with outdated equipment so that they wouldn't be tempted to use audio trickery, and the songs were recorded loudly with their live monitor setup at stage volume, contrary to normal studio practice.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "I Want You" has the line "You've had your fun you don't get well no more." This is a paraphrase of a line in the song "Goin' Down Slow" by bluesman St. Louis Jimmy Odem, later Covered Up by Howlin' Wolf.
    • Similarly "Crimes of Paris" makes reference to Little Willie John's "Leave My Kitten Alone"; Costello and the Attractions recorded a version of "Leave My Kitten Alone" during the album sessions.
    • Neil Gaiman shouted "I Want You" out in The Sandman, calling a chapter of A Game of You "I Woke Up and One of Us Was Crying".
    • A subversion: For this album Costello took on the persona of "Napoleon Dynamite", most explicitly in "Poor Napoleon". Years later Jared Hess directed a movie of the same name but claimed he never knew about the shared name until filming was almost over, and that he had gotten it from an old man he met during LDS missionary work. Costello has expressed doubt over the story, but has never made a legal issue out of it.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Uncomplicated". There is a meaning in there, but a lot of it is just Costello throwing words that sound good together.

Alternative Title(s): Blood And Chocolate