Top Tracks: Megan Boyer

Columnist Morgan Magid talks to the Honors College advisor about her favorite album.

By Morgan Magid | Sept. 8, 2015

Tags: Music

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Megan Boyer is a bit of an audiophile. In an office overflowing with vinyl records, CDs and other music memorabilia, Boyer sat down with me this past week to talk about her favorite album — “This Year’s Model” by Elvis Costello. Boyer advises Honors College students here at MU, but since 2007, she’s also been the frontwoman of The Megan Boyer Band, a bluesy soul group based in Columbia.

What is your favorite album? Well, my favorite album today is Elvis Costello’s “This Year’s Model” from 1978.

How’d you come up with that? Well I’m a huge Elvis Costello fan. I flew to Maine to see him play, (and one) summer I drove the seven hours up to Sioux City, Iowa, to see a show. And it’s interesting because I wouldn’t say my favorite songs by him are even on this album. But as albums go, it’s a great album in the traditional sense of a record. It was obviously really well thought out in terms of the sequence; the track listing is great.

It’s a beautiful album to play as intended because, like, the first song on the second side, “Hand in Hand” is just a killer track to start on a second side. And the album art is just an iconic photo. So iconic that, like, Justin Timberlake has copped it for photo shoots. It’s just from when people cared about every little thing (about albums).

Do you remember when you first heard it or when you first became an Elvis Costello fan? I actually still own the original copy I purchased when I was a kid from Cornerstone Records in Jefferson City. It’s at home, and I think I have like four copies of it. I actually have three copies on vinyl and multiple copies on CD because he did a bunch of rereleases over the years and so I keep buying every release. And of course they did a deluxe edition on iTunes that had two I’d never heard before so I had to buy it because I’m a completist.

But the first copy I bought at Cornerstone Records when I was 12 was a buck. When records were totally going out of style, you could pick them up used for nothing. People were unloading their entire record collections to replace them with CDs. So it’s just great. I had a couple of his other albums, but this is the first I got from what fans would consider his best years. Which I don’t know that I agree with, but it definitely had a punch to it that particularly intrigued an angsty teenager. It’s kind of an angry album.

How did you find other music while you were growing up? Like most young people who end up being into music, I got really into The Beatles, and then Paul McCartney wrote some songs with Elvis Costello in the ’80s. Then, I bought a cassette tape because I knew Paul McCartney had written these songs and I was into him. I just found all the connections. (Costello is) probably the one person I’ve been listening to the longest and most stuff I listen to now isn’t even from this genre, it’s more blues and soul and jazz and funk and early punk stuff out of the U.K. like The Clash.

Someone else I talked to said their choice wasn’t even from their favorite band because that band could field a solid Greatest Hits, but he didn’t have one specific album he totally loves. I think you could tell someone who hadn’t listened to him before, “Hey, this is his greatest hits,” and they’d be like, “Okay, yeah.” I did this really nerdy countdown last time I went to see him live and I subjected all my Facebook friends to this ten-day countdown with all my favorite songs, and I don’t think there was a single one from this record. But it still works together. And I don’t think there’s a lot of thought put into how you put an album together these days when you can just shuffle.

Yeah, it’s about making a playlist, not making an experience of getting from track one to track 10. Yeah, and how the tonal qualities are different when you get to the center of the record, and so there were always certain kind of songs you’d hear when you got near the end of a side because the tonal qualities would change. I mean, all this stuff is a really good example of doing it well and the fact that he did all of it when he was in his early twenties is just infuriating because it’s like, ‘Ahh, you’re so young and you made something so great and the rest of us are just normal humans.’

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