Elvis Costello has a lot of different sides, a lot of different interests. When a new release comes out, you gotta wonder what you are going to get--will it be straight ahead rockers with a dash of humor? Will it be sophistipop with elaborate arrangements ala Burt Bacharach? Will he collaborate with a string quartet on one of the most ambitious albums by a rock musician ever? Will he re-interpret classic pop tunes with an opera Diva? Will he give us smoky jazz? I love all the possibilities, and bought this sound unheard. I have to say, wow, it is all and none of those things, and it is great!
Elvis digs deep into all of his past work--his lyrics are sophisticated, humorous, touching. He shines on his melodies--catchy yet not obvious. INstrumentation is tight, and it feels like he has lived these songs for a while. Instrumentation is straightforward, but feels very full and well orchestrated.
As I listened to the album, I could feel some influence from the southern US--pickers, some jazzy chord changes, even a little dixie jazz feel in places.
Listen, if you like Elvis Costello, if you are one of the faithful who has stuck by him in all his many incarnations, then this is a no-brainer. Buy it now. If you are a relapsed fan, this is a great place to jump back in--the album is approachable, beautiful, fun, and artistically impressive. If you've never listened to Elvis Costello before, you've got a great set of treats to pick up. You're going to want to pick up some of his older albums as well, but this is a fantastic into to the quirky, fascinating, multigenre spanning talent of Elvis.
Get it. I can't wait to buy another copy to give away!