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Spike [Import]

Elvis Costello Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 18.49
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Product Details

1. ...This Town...
2. Let Him Dangle
3. Deep Dark Truthful Mirror
4. Veronica
5. God's Comic
6. Chewing Gum
7. Tramp The Dirt Down
8. Stalin Malone
9. Satellite
10. Pads, Paws And Claws
11. Baby Plays Around
12. Miss Macbeth
13. Any King's Shilling
14. Coal-Train Robberies
15. Last Boat Leaving

Product Description

Product Description

Japanese only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD - playable on all CD players) pressing. Warner.


Elvis Costello's Warner Brothers debut saw him shooting for new standards of literacy and sophistication. Leaving behind the raw spleen of Blood and Chocolate, Spike used a multitude of guests and luminaries--Paul McCartney, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, guitarist Marc Ribot--to flesh out wordy, acerbic tales of soldiers and graceless women (for example, the Margaret Thatcher of the enraged "Tramp the Dirt Down"). For many fans, the songs were too artful by half, with knotty arrangements that belied an absence of memorable music. The Beatle-esque hit "Veronica" notwithstanding (a McCartney collaboration), Spike smacked of cleverness on the grand scale. --Barney Hoskyns

Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Audio CD
I remember being completely bowled over when this album came out, to the point that I wedged "Veronica" onto the radio station playlist I worked for at the time and giving copies of the CD to a whole mess of people on my Holiday Gift list that year. In the dozen years since its original release, my appreciation of "Spike" has not diminished in the least.
Stylistically (and from the liner notes, geographically) all over the map, it holds together almost on the sheer force of the songwriting. Freed from Sony/CBS, he embarked on a record that was easily as ambitious as "Imperial Bedroom," but this time with a greater cast of players. "This Town," the disc's opener, featured Paul McCartney playing a trademark propulsive bass line and Roger McGuinn on his 12 String Rickenbacker. It kicks the album off with a bitter rant worthy of the trinity of Elvis' first three albums and a classic...
But that kind of bitterness is nothing compared to "Tramp The Dirt Down," quite simply the angriest, harshest anti-Thatcher rant ever laid to tape. It is also, oddly enough, set to a gorgeous arrangement that includes Irish fiddles, pipes and a bouzouki. It may also be the saddest song EC has ever recorded. "God's Comic," in comparison, is almost cinematic in its scope and nearly as marvelously arranged. "God's Comic" is as wickedly sly in its humor as "Tramp The Dirt Down" is critically indicting.
Oh yes, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band made "Spike" field such marvelous curves in "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror," "Stalin Malone," and the aforementioned referenced Sousaphone on "Chewing Gum." New Orleans piano legend Allen Toussaint's playing on "Mirror" is one of the many of "Spike's" instrumental highlights.
Of the six CD's Elvis recorded for the WB, "Spike" was the best.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Driving In The Spike April 17 2002
Format:Audio CD
1989's Spike was Elvis Costello's first release for Warner Brothers and on it he collaborated with another famous English songwriter, Paul McCartney. It is an interesting team because it reminds one of the Lennon-McCartney team with Mr. Costello playing the cynical, vicious side to Mr. McCartney's optimistic, upbeat side. The first song they team up on is "Veronica" which became Mr. Costello's biggest hit in the U.S. The song is a look at Alzheimer's Disease but it's dark subject matter is masked by a bright and catchy melody (obviously Mr. McCartney's influence). Their second song is a bit of a throwaway, "Pads, Paws & Claws". Mr. McCartney also shows up on the album's opener, "...This Town", playing some great bass. The two continued the partnership on Mr. McCartney's Flowers In The Dirt album. The rest of Spike is a fine release including the acidic "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror", "God's Comic", "Tramp The Dirt Down" and "Any King's Shilling".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting an underrated gem... Sept. 21 2001
Format:Audio CD
First, some context: Although I was familiar with a few (but not many) of Elvis's previous singles, "Spike" is the first of his records that I bought, and has consequently become my comparison benchmark for the rest of his catalog. Prior to this record, I had a vague assumption that I didn't care for Elvis Costello, so winning me over was job one. But after hearing "Veronica" on the radio, seeing a televised acoustic performance of "Let Him Dangle" and going to a play that employed "God's Comic" as an opening mood-setter, I took the chance. And what a payoff!
It has always mystified me that the same sonic disparity that critics had decided marked "Imperial Bedroom" as a great record was largely considered a liability on this record. The arrangements here always seem to support the songs well; giving an understated, folk-protest feel to the acerbic anti-Thatcher diatribe "Tramp The Dirt Down"; bluesy piano for the superb "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror"; spare, nervous bursts of noise on "Pads, Paws & Claws" (one of two songs co-written with Paul McCartney on the record); or the all-out studio gloss of "Satellite" and the aforementioned "Veronica." It never feels as if a horn section was added superfluously, or an orchestra was thrown in simply because he had the budget for it. The songwriting is top-notch, and the arrangements are judiciously eclectic.
My only real criticism of the proper album is rather nit-picky: it's so long that the last three songs have always felt like some sort of extended post-script. The songs are fine when I listen to them, but they've never sunk into my subconscious the way the rest of the album has.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rhino re-releases a gem Sept. 5 2001
Format:Audio CD
I am a huge EC fan and I own every album he has put out. This one has always been in the top five for me. Spike was an album I listened to not only for the great lyrics and music but it felt like I was getting an education as well. This album took experimental leaps and bounds that are still very fresh and daring today. "God's Comic", ".....This town...." and "Deep dark truthful mirror" are standouts among a truly great set. It was surprising to me that in the liner notes Elvis said that he thought the album might have been one of his most obscure if not for the "Veronica" single. I listen to this one so much more than a lot of his better known records it is impossible for me to not think of this as a classic. This also provided me with a blueprint to follow in finding other music. I "discovered" Marc Ribot, Mitchell Froom, and that whole entourage that made some great albums in the 1990's. The bonus disc contains some nice no-frills versions of the songs plus a donwright creepy version of "You're no good".
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars One of his most interesting albums...
Like many others, I was utterly confused the first time I heard this album. It covers so many different styles and it is nowhere near as focused as Elvis' earlier work. Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2003 by Aaron Collins
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting better with age
I enjoyed Spike when it first came out in the late eighties, but then lost interest in it. It shuffled to the backwaters of my collection and was on deck a couple of times for... Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2002 by S. Finefrock
5.0 out of 5 stars ELVIS AT HIS ECLECTIC BEST
"Spike" is a real potpourri of styles laced with cynicism and wit. There's some light pop fare here as well as some experimental stuff. Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2001 by Scott T Mc Nally
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to Have this Re-released
This is a very underrated record. The songs are just so different and so powerful. This is a CD you have to listen to. Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Elvis has left the building...
This is a great album. Period. I first heard it when I was 15 and loved it, and I like it even more now that my musical tastes have matured. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2001 by Seth Hanson
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked masterpiece gets a new coat of paint
When "Spike" came out, it signalled a major change in direction for EC. Obviously influenced by Tom Waits' mid-80's recording, EC even hired some of Mr. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2001 by Rob Damm
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