The Juliet Letters (Elvis Costello) – Album Review

Elvis Costello Posing With The Brodsky Quartet

Elvis Costello Posing With The Brodsky Quartet

It might seem incredible, but it is actually possible to pinpoint the moment Costello’s career went into definitive artistic overdrive. The year was 1993, and he released a full-length CD devoted to chamber music where the instrumental backing was solely provided by the Brodsky Quartet.

Costello learned to write and read music right there and then, and the decade was to be his most adventuresome ever. And believe me, that is quite frankly saying an enormity if we look at his previous output. During the 90s and right into the new millennium he was to release an album of undiluted pop with 60s stalwart Burt Bacharach, a country album (The Delivery Man), an album dominated by ballads (All This Useless Beauty), an orchestrated work named Il Sogno… and the rock and roll albums he did release were not up to his usual standards (When I Was Cruel), as if he had just outgrown the genre. He was to become acquainted with it once again in 2008 with the release of Momofuku. But the previous decade was to be a true creative windmill on the other side of the grass. Continue reading

Extreme Honey (Elvis Costello) – Compilation Album

Costello From Every Angle

Elvis Costello From Every Angle

This CD compiles Costello’s recordings during his tenure at Warner Brothers, a time of constant reinvention that resulted in some really good music, some disconcerting experiments and overall timid performances on the charts. The CD has 18 tracks, and every album minus “Kojak Variety” (a collection of covers released in 1995) is represented.

The one song you might be familiar with is “Veronica”, co-written with Paul McCartney along with “So Like Candy”. The song was incredibly successful and it received heavy airplay when it was released at the tail end of the 80s. It has Elvis on a very accessible pose, granted, but I feel that without the McCartney connection it would have shared the fate of most of his late day compositions: respected by critics, accepted by fans, revered by a few, and ignored by the masses. Continue reading