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Old 03-24-2009, 08:13 AM   #71 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
It's a good 'un ain't it? I wouldn't call it a classic, because the man's done much better, particularly when he came into his own as a writer some years down the line. Get Happy, Trust, Imperial Bedroom and Spike are the bare necessities for me - muchly under-appreciated my most music-lovers, and it's a damn shame too.
I would contest that, the songwriting on My Aim Is True is sharp as a razor, it's a lot less flabby than Get Happy!, which always seemed a bit rushed to me. I know you aren't big on the first two albums because they are the most popular and I agree Trust, I.B. and Spike etc are criminally underexposed) but I think they still measure up as masterful new wave/punk.

Hopefully anybody that has a rudimentary knowledge of the EC 'legacy edition' albums will be taking note and checking out some of those 80's classics.

Downloading some of the samplers btw
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:04 PM   #72 (permalink)
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I would contest that, the songwriting on My Aim Is True is sharp as a razor, it's a lot less flabby than Get Happy!, which always seemed a bit rushed to me. I know you aren't big on the first two albums because they are the most popular and I agree Trust, I.B. and Spike etc are criminally underexposed) but I think they still measure up as masterful new wave/punk.

Hopefully anybody that has a rudimentary knowledge of the EC 'legacy edition' albums will be taking note and checking out some of those 80's classics.

Downloading some of the samplers btw
Well, my point wasn't that My Aim Is True and This Year's Model are at all not worthy of attention - they're very highly rated and rightly so. But the thing is a lot of people I've talked to stop there with the discography, when there are three absolute masterpieces and plenty of other truly great albums which don't get talked about half as much. I've done my bit here when it comes to bigging them up though (still gonna go through the rest of the albums with a fine-tooth comb though).

Good lad for sampling the samplers btw
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:13 AM   #73 (permalink)
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So, I've got a spare hour or two on my hand, so I thought I'd draw up a little mixtape for this thing. Basically, these are songs which haven't been mentioned in any of the reviews as they're either duets, standalone singles or obscure demos/live tracks. So, if you're interested, have a gander by all means;

Duets & One-Offs.rar
1. Smile
2. Stranger In the House [w/ George Jones]
3. Crawling To the USA
4. We Oughtta Be Ashamed [w/ Johnny Cash]
5. Turning the Town Red
6. Mischievous Ghost [w/ Mary Coughlan]
7. Tomorrow's Just Another Day [w/ Madness]
8. Watching the Detectives/My Funny Valentine (live)
9. The People's Limousine [w/ T-bone Burnett as the Coward Brothers]
10. They'll Never Take Her Love From Me [w/ T-bone Burnett as the Coward Brothers]
11. Wave a White Flag
12. From Head To Toe
13. Poison Moon
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:22 PM   #74 (permalink)
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sheeee's watchin the detectives....

infectious elvis costello
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:42 AM   #75 (permalink)
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Just letting anyone concerned know what's happening with this thread now.

All the album samplers have been taken down to free up space on my mediafire account so, anyone wanting to hear a little bit of Costello should have a look at this - the compilation I posted in the Beginner's Guide To thread.

Also, I'll get cracking with the next review and hopefully get the thread finished as soon as I finish my top 100 list... whenever that happens.

So, yeah, watch this space in other words.
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:02 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Well, I've got nothing else going on tonight and I don't feel remotely tired, so without further ado...

North
2003, Universal Records, Air Studios (London) & Avatar Studios (NYC)

1. You Left Me in the Dark - 3:26
2. Someone Took the Words Away - 4:35
3. When Did I Stop Dreaming? - 5:22
4. You Turned to Me - 2:32
5. Fallen - 3:12
6. When It Sings - 3:58
7. Still - 2:27
8. Let Me Tell You About Her - 4:23
9. Can You Be True? - 3:45
10. When Green Eyes Turn Blue - 4:17
11. I'm in the Mood Again - 2:34

Following his getting the critics firmly back on his side with the adventurous When I Was Cruel, it wasn't long before Elvis Costello was back in the studio again. This time, though, he had a very different agenda. In 2003, after seeing one another for several months beforehand, Costello had proposed to jazz singer Diana Krall. This, naturally, had a massive impact on his writing for his next album, both lyrically and musically. Taking to Avatar Studios in New York City with his old pal Steve Nieve behind the piano and an array session musicians, Costello went about recording several songs he'd composed on the piano (unusual for a start, given that he writes much more often with a guitar in his hand) in a style that he could envisage his new fiancee singing over (the Brodsky Quartet overdubbed the string arrangements in London after the initial sessions). This basically amounted to a very slow, very reined-in cross-over between jazz and Sinatra-esque torch music. Looking at the lyrics, the venomous cynicism and razor-sharp wit you'd normally associate with the man's lyrics are nowhere to be found as we have a record which, for its first half, speaks of the collapse of his relationship with former Pogues bassist Cait O'Riordan and, for the second, celebrates his new-found love.

It's all very syrupy and sweet but, to be honest, is probably my least listened-to Elvis Costello album (Goodbye Cruel World and Punch the Clock, my least favourites, still have a strange charm even with the amount of dross on them), and one I can't really be bothered to review song-by-song as I usually do. It's not that it's a truly terrible album, and there aren't any gut-wrenchingly awful moments as on the aforementioned albums, but it's just that for the most part North is pretty average. Every song is on exactly the same line, which works for a lot of albums I admire, but not here where the linear, piano-led and slow-burning minimalist approach Costello opts for with the songs doesn't allow for much of a variation in sound. A lot of the time the melodies just aren't strong or memorable enough to save a lot of the songs mediocrity either. As I said earlier, the lyrics, often a saving grace of Costello's less memorable songs, are simply not interesting enough to keep one's attention for all the point-blank, red-raw declarations of love or lamentations of its being lost.

So, there aren't exactly any bad songs here, but just a bunch of mediocre, pseudo-torch songs. Even the lower points of Painted From Memory were more memorable when it comes to easy listening (which, let's not dance about labels, this album is). There are exceptions though - When It Sings, with its very bright melody, and Someone Took the Words Away, with a fittingly gloomy atmosphere to it and a wonderful sax solo at its end, are among Costello's better works. They aren't quite enough to make this album rise above the mire though. Basically, if you're interested, download those two songs and don't bother with the rest.

4/10





^And here's something extra that comes with the limited edition bonus DVD
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:00 AM   #77 (permalink)
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consistently interesting crit, Bulldog! I've just signed up to MusicBanter specifically to thank you for pointing out "When I Was Cruel 2", which I had somehow failed ever to hear. WOW! What a wonderful piece that is....

And what a true great Elvis Costello is, a creative artist pursuing his own particular path with passion poetry and extraordinary vigour.
Long may he prosper!
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:31 PM   #78 (permalink)
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consistently interesting crit, Bulldog! I've just signed up to MusicBanter specifically to thank you for pointing out "When I Was Cruel 2", which I had somehow failed ever to hear. WOW! What a wonderful piece that is....

And what a true great Elvis Costello is, a creative artist pursuing his own particular path with passion poetry and extraordinary vigour.
Long may he prosper!
Thanks man When I Was Cruel 2 is an immense song. The first version of it's uber-cool too. As for the album, there are days when I love it and days I don't (speaking of which, I'll probably give it another spin soon).

Costello's certainly a very driven man, whatever he does, with a massively rewarding discography.

On top of all that, I've found out literally this minute that he's releasing a new album on June 9th Just a shame it's four days too late - would've made a fantastic birthday present otherwise.

Anyway, glad you enjoyed the thread. If I can't get the next review done tomorrow, it'll pop up sometime next week for sure.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:45 PM   #79 (permalink)
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Elvis Costello is easily one of my faves... And I can't express how pleased I am to see your posts, definitely more credible in the music industry than any Katy Perry, and it's a shame that this thread is the only one shining on his talent.

I only have one thing to say -- Greenshirt is without a doubt one of my favorite songs by him. It's criminal that it's only been mentioned twice (according to my readings.). Definitely worth another listen to those of you who have shoved it aside for the more recognized tunes.
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:00 AM   #80 (permalink)
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Elvis Costello is easily one of my faves... And I can't express how pleased I am to see your posts, definitely more credible in the music industry than any Katy Perry, and it's a shame that this thread is the only one shining on his talent.

I only have one thing to say -- Greenshirt is without a doubt one of my favorite songs by him. It's criminal that it's only been mentioned twice (according to my readings.). Definitely worth another listen to those of you who have shoved it aside for the more recognized tunes.
I'm pretty sure 99% of the songs are mentioned by me only in the posts about the albums they belong to, so even the more well-known ones like Alison, Oliver's Army, Pump It Up and so on only get the one mention themselves. I'm personally not a huge fan of Armed Forces anyway - I probably was a little bit harsh on it with my rating here, but albums like Get Happy, Trust and Imperial Bedroom are so much better. In my opinion anyway.

Thanks a lot for the feedback - it's great to know people are reading this thread. Only 3 more reviews to go now (that'll become 4 in about 3 weeks' time - can't bleedin' wait)
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