A slow sizzling, smouldering heartbreak love song for 5th November, but hinting at explosive emotions from Costello’s 1986 album, King of America. For an artist who wrote many twist-the-knife relationship songs, the mid-1980s was an especially turbulent time for Declan MacManus, who also on this album had the nickname, invented by friend and fellow performer Nick Lowe as The Little Hands of Concrete, for his regular ability to break guitar strings. But this album was an escape into gentler, more folk-country territory. Costello’s first nine studio albums were packed of explosive, punchy, post-punk songs with The Attractions, but King of America, produced by T-Bone Burnett was a different beast, recorded at t Ocean Way and Sunset Sound studios in Los Angeles, including members of the TCB (Taking Care of Business Band who had backed Elvis Presley in the 1970s. In 1985 Costello was splitting up with his wife since 1974, Mary Burgoyne, had an affair with romance with Bebe Buell, then-girlfriend of Todd Rundgren, and had become involved with Cait O'Riordan from The Pogues, whom he then married. So behind all the fun and games of Bonfire Night, indoor fireworks, not just the kind you can buy, are burning, and waiting to fizzle up, and, in the case of a dying relationship, out.
We play these parlour games
We play at make believe
When we get to the part where I say that I'm going to leave
Everybody loves a happy ending but we don't even try
We go straight past pretending
To the part where everybody loves to cry
Can still burn your fingers
We swore we were safe as houses
They're not so spectacular
They don't burn up in the sky
But they can dazzle or delight
Or bring a tear
When the smoke gets in your eyes
You were the spice of life
The gin in my vermouth
And though the sparks would fly
I thought our love was fireproof
Sometimes we'd fight in public darling
With very little cause
But different kinds of sparks would fly
When we got on our own behind closed doors
It's time to tell the truth
These things have to be faced
My fuse is burning out
And all that powder's gone to waste
Don't think for a moment dear that we'll ever be through
I'll build a bonfire of my dreams
And burn a broken effigy of me and you.
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