Archive for Elvis Costello

U2, The Return of Brian Eno, and Elvis Costello?

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on March 9, 2009 by johnbuckley100

The title track of No Line On The Horizon shows U2 living in another green world, before and after science.  While the album plays at par — since Pop, which is an underrated masterpiece, I’ve considered it a welcome development if there are as many as four songs on any U2 album that you’d put on a playlist — there are some remarkable moments.

The first, of course, is the opening cut, said title track, which basically has U2 playing along, karaoke-style, on top of an Eno loop so timeless, you’d think the little genius had been carrying it around with him on a floppy disk.  

And then there’s this: listen to “Get On Your Boots,” which is a pretty great song.  Listen to Bono’s phrasing.  I carried it around in my head for a week, going, “Where have I heard this before?”  And of course, it came to me: Bono’s singing in the exact rhythm that Elvis Costello snarls out “Pump It Up” from This Year’s Model.   It’s so close, it would fool the Shazam algorithm.   Good stuff, that, and the Eno sampling by, well, Eno is sublime.

5th Best Album of 2008, Elvis Costello “Momofuku”

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 8, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Elvis says he wasn’t planning on making Momofuku, and maybe it was, in his parlance, a brilliant mistake.  Whatever it was, it was a delightful return to form.  Sounding like outtakes from Get Happy and Blood and Chocolate, this was the best thing he’s done since the Reagan Administration.  We recently read an interview he gave when he burst upon the scene in ’78 — rude, self-confident, full of bluster.  And then we read his interview when he launched his Sundance Channel talk show a few weeks ago.  This album meets those two characters exactly in the middle.  Thank Heaven Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve are still around to introduce the young Mr. McManus to the man he turned into.

Elvis Costello’s Late Inning Rally, And I Don’t Mean “Night Rally”

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 9, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Bob Dylan is the exception that so proves the rule that pop artists have golden ages, and once past them, the best you can hope for is a remembrance of things past.  I once was offended when Ira Kaplan told me the Rolling Stones hadn’t put out a really good album since “Exile on Main Street” — this was in 1980, mind you — and notwithstanding the back-to-back delights of “Some Girls” and “Emotional Rescue,” time has proved him right.  So even though I hung in there with Elvis for years, through the fat Elvis, and the bearded Elvis, the Kojak-loving Elvis, even the classical Elvis, the truth is that after “Blood and Chocolate,” it was pretty much a curved road downhill.  Until the surprising “Momofuku” came out earlier this year.

Naturally, this would be the album I’d take a pass on.  Literally, this was the first of his albums I didn’t buy, even the one with the duet with Hall, or maybe it was Oates. And naturally — I discovered to my delight — it’s the best thing he’s done since… well, since “Imperial Bedroom.”  Look, it sounds like it could have been recorded in the Dutch studio where he and the Attractions knocked out “Get Happy.”  It could be a collection of out-takes from “Armed Forces.” Have a friend who knows Elvis but hasn’t hung in there all these years listen to “Go Away, and ask her when it was recorded, and five will get you ten she says “1978,” not “2008.” It’s really that good.

Live, I enjoyed the transition to Elvis Costello and the Imposters a few years ago, but had not realized on this one Steve Nieve was back on the keyboards.  “Momofuku” was recorded in a few weeks, with the story going that Mr. McManus went into the studio without a big plan and… Elvis broke out.  Thank God it did.  Now Elvis gets to move into the same pantheon as Bob Dylan, he being the master of the late career rally.  The Rolling Stones, approximately thirty years without a great album and counting, aren’t even in this league (though their bankers don’t know it.)

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