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King of America

25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 8, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This 2 CD set is an out of print collectible!It is the 1995 Rykodisc version. Catalog RCD 20281.

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Seeking to exorcise the demons of 1981's ill-fated country album, Almost Blue, Elvis Costello had another go with 1985's exquisite 15-song exploration of American life, King of America. "Little Palaces" and "Indoor Fireworks" feel like you've lived with them all your life. "Our Little Angel" has the aura of a lost Hank Williams classic, but, of course, only Costello could come up with a couplet like "You try to love but you're so contrary / Like a chainsaw running through a dictionary." King of America isn't all slide guitars and domestic discord, though. "Lovable" is as pure a moment of joyful abandon as Costello has ever allowed himself. Six months later, he kicked up an unholy racket with Blood and Chocolate. Costello fans have never seen another year like it. --Peter Paphides

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1. Brilliant Mistake
2. Loveable
3. Our Little Angel
4. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
5. Glitter Gulch
6. Indoor Fireworks
7. Little Palaces
8. I'll Wear It Proudly
9. American Without Tears
10. Eisenhower Blues
11. Poisoned Rose
12. The Big Light
13. Jack Of All Parades
14. Suit Of Lights
15. Sleep Of The Just
16. The People's Limousine
17. They'll Never Take Her Love From Me
18. Suffering Face
19. Shoes Without Heels
20. King Of Confidence

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 8, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B0000009V0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,123 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This album is essential listening -- and it's one of Elvis Costello's finest albums. The lyrics are full of the bite and snarl you'd expect from an Elvis album. But what sets this CD apart is the music. It's complex and diverse, and they stay with you long after the record is finished. It's very comparable to Imperial Bedroom, and in many ways it is superior.
Elvis used musicians from Elvis Presley's band for some of the tracks, as well as legendary jazz bassist Ray Brown on some others. If you are an Elvis fan, you will be an even bigger fan once you are done with this CD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This record isn't a brilliant mistake; instead, it is probably Elvis Costello's best album. Including several masterpieces such as "Indoor Fireworks", "Brilliant mistake" (also known as King of America) and "Suit of lights", Elvis sang blues, country and folk songs. I know the songs by heart and in my opinion this is the best album of the eighties.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on July 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
When Elvis Costello decided to finally to roots rock HIS way (as opposed to the mis-fit of "Almost Blue'), he switched his name back to Declan MacManus and forged ahead into brilliance. With the exception of the slippery jam session of "Eisenhower Blues," the 15 songs on "King Of America" are as flawless a whole album as anything from his early years and his most successful collaboration with a producer, in this case, T-Bone Burnett, save Burt Bacharach.

By recruiting some of the best musicians old and new, songs like "Brilliant Mistake" and "American Without Tears" effortlessly blossom with atmosphere and honesty. Even though Elvis describes his state of mind in less than flattering terms in the CD's extra liner notes, it's incredible just how seamlessly the songs here flow through the course of the album. Almost every song here glimmers with the kind of purity that Burnett would eventually trademark with the likes of "Oh Brother Where Art Thou." Even the Attractions, who at this venture, had become estranged and embittered, contribute one of their best performances ever with the single song "Suit Of Lights." Given the song's topic of entertainment as entrapment and the image of a southern mob's tar and feather party as "the closest to a work of art that they will ever be," it's not surprising that they could relate.

In fact, Elvis seemed to be at a more relaxed state of lyricism than since the underrated "Trust." Compare the fire analogies of "The Only Flame In Town" (on "Goodbye Cruel World") to the far superior "Indoor Fireworks" here. Or such leap from the speakers couplets like "She said that she was working for the ABC news, it was as much of the alphabet as she new how to use" from "Brilliant Mistake.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1999
Format: Audio CD
all is great on this, the tune, the voice the eighth track is so amazingly written.. i love that
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By osapientia on March 2, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If you like your Elvis toned downed and a little folkier, this is the perfect album to get. Elvis is an extremely prolific and ecclectic songwriter, so it's sometimes hard to know what you are getting, unless you get his classic 80's stuff. Everything else is spotty, though sometimes brilliant. This album is also a good way to get to know the Gram Parson's side of his influences and just how much country means to his music. Plus, it's always interesting to hear and Englishman doing country. Definitely, it's own twist to the genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G.C. on February 14, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I am surprised at reading some of these reviews that out of all of Elvis' albums, people would buy this first. This album is not at all bad, in fact in the overall scheme of things I would rate it above average in Elvis' catalogue. It is certainly better that anything he did in the 1990's. However, this is not exactly an "accessible" album. By that I mean there was no hit single to get people interested in the album. Curiously, Columbia did endeavor to promote Elvis' version of the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" as a single, but that is only in the middle of the pack as far as the quality of songs on the CD ("Brilliant Mistake" and "Lovable" are probably the two best songs and they kick things off). "King" probably would be a little better except for Elvis' voice. In the liner notes he states that he recorded most of the vocals in Los Angeles and the bad air strained his voice -- which is definitely demonstrated on several tracks. This is unfortunate because he wrote some great songs on both "Goodbye Cruel World" and "King Of America", but they just didn't come out that well in the recording process. For those just getting interested, a better introduction to Elvis is one of his earlier efforts -- "My Aim Is True"; "This Year's Model"; or "Armed Forces". I also like "Blood and Chocolate", which was released in the same year (1986) as "King Of America". On "Blood and Chocolate" Elvis' voice is back on track and he brings back The Attractions (he used a session band known as "The Confederates" on King). He also reunites with producer Nick Lowe on "Blood" and things really gel again.
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