Pump It Up (Elvis Costello song)
|"Pump It Up"|
Artwork for UK vinyl single
|Single by Elvis Costello|
|from the album This Year's Model|
|Released||28 April 1978|
|Genre||New wave, punk rock, power pop|
|Elvis Costello singles chronology|
AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine described "Pump It Up" as being "underscored with sexual menace". Costello frequently uses double entendres in his songs, and "Pump It Up" is a good example of this, with the phrase "pump it up" being used to refer both to turning up the volume on the music and to masturbation. The story in the song is about the narrator's sexual frustration at the hands of a femme fatale who's described in the lyrics as being "a bad girl" and "like a narcotic".
The video features the band performing in an unfurnished, light-drenched, wholly white set, and uses simple split-screen quadrant image effects. It was directed by Paul Flattery for Jon Roseman Productions. Costello's leg movements become increasing disjointed.
The video for "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" was shot the same day in London, and all the musicians can be seen wearing the same clothes, although drummer Pete Thomas sports a plain grey jacket for Pump It Up. Bassist Bruce Thomas had cut his right hand on a bottle a few weeks previously and had needed eight stitches. His bandage can be seen clearly in both the videos.
The song has been covered by various artists, including Chaos UK, The Hotrats, Exodus, Kills for Thrills, Mudhoney, Trixter, Buckcherry, Elastic No-No Band, Automatic, Danko Jones, Maldroid, Status Quo, The Wildhearts, Kurt Baker, Starpool, Those Darn Accordions and Hurtsmile.
In popular culture
The guitar riff was sampled in Rogue Traders' 2005 single "Voodoo Child". Beastie Boys sampled "Pump It Up" for their song "Egg Man" on their album Paul's Boutique. Costello later performed "Radio Radio" on Saturday Night Live in 1999 with Beastie Boys as his backing band.
Television shows to have used the song include Go On, Malcolm in the Middle, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and the Indecipherable Lyrics round of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Movies to have featured the song include PCU and 200 Cigarettes. It was also used in trailers for Shark Tale and I Spy.
The song is playable in the music video game Rock Band 2.
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