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COSTELLO ELVIS WHEN I WAS CRUEL
Following a string of tasteful but sometimes bloodless collaborations with Sophie Van Otter, Bill Frisell, and the London Symphony Orchestra, Costello delivers his most visceral and satisfying CD in years with When I Was Cruel. Reunited with half the Attractions, Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve, Costello sticks relatively close to the sharp new-wave melodies that sealed his reputation in the late '70s and '80s, but infuses them with powerful sonic touches: a hypnotic loop of Italian pop singer Mina that carries the title track, the melodica that casts an eerie glow over "Soul for Hire," and the frenetic, klezmer-inspired horns that drive "15 Petals." Costello's guitar is frequently drenched in tremolo, and his lyrical wit hasn't been this consistently spiky and unforced since Blood & Chocolate. Compared to some of his more uptown adventures, When I Was Cruel may seem at first a kind of semi-nostalgic slumming, but the opposite may be the case: like Woody Allen, Costello is at his most artful when he produces perfect pop trifles that will almost certainly outlast his more self-conscious "serious" work. --Keith Moerer
Elvis Costello is quite literally the most unique and interesting man in rock-n-roll today. He hit the music scene in the mid-1970s, and no one quite knew what to make out of this... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kurt A. Johnson
I was a huge fan of his early years with the attractions, but (like many) my interest waned as he started collaborating with string quartets, Burt Bacharach, etc. Read morePublished 14 months ago by lightsource
Love this album, never get tired of listening to it after years of high repeat. It will remain I am sure in my Top 10 of all time.
Why is this? Read more
I love Elvis Costello and have many of his albums. This is my current favorite. I could listen to it over and over. It's very different.Published on July 27, 2013 by Jamie
After spending the time between 1996 and 2002 recording side projects and classical arrangements, Elvis Costello was finally itching to get loud and rowdy once more. Read morePublished on June 25, 2013 by Lunar Boulevard
After making specialized albums with Burt Bacharach, Bill Frisell, everyone under the sun, it feels, Elvis went back to his Attactions for When I was Cruel: a return to the... Read morePublished on December 13, 2009 by Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ
I'd never really heard Costello growing up in the 70s and 80s, so thought I'd better educate myself one day and picked up "When I Was Cruel". The title looked cool.. Read morePublished on March 1, 2008 by Green Manalishi
I was a big EC fan from early on. Maybe I didn't keep up with him, I admit.
But then I heard "when I was cruel, no.2".
This man is beyond genius. Read more