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The Best of Elvis Costello: The First 10 Years [DIGIPACK]

4.6 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 1, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

North American only release! Personally picked by Elvis Costello this collection includes 22 songs from 1977-1986. The disc clocks in at 78 minutes and includes such hits as Radio Radio, Accidents Will Happen, Clubland, Watching the Detectives and Alison among others.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 1, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hip-O
  • ASIN: B000OHZJJQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,382 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a 5 star collection if you're new to Elvis and a 3 star collection if you're an Elvis fan ('cuz you most likely already own the albums).

I have been an Elvis fan for more than 20 years. These 20 songs rank with his best, yet I already have all the original albums and treasure many songs that will never make a greatest hits collection. But if you're new to Elvis, this is a great starting point.

The 20 songs here are ones every Elvis Costello fan knows. They showcase both the lyrical ability and musical eclecticism of Elvis. They also showcase one of the top backing bands of all time, the Attractions, who (for reference) are nearly as talented as the E Street Band. There are other Elvis Costello greatest hits collections out there, with only slightly different song lists, but the recording quality is the reason to get this over those.

After you've enjoyed this and if you're interested in exploring Elvis Costello and the Attractions more thoroughly, I recommend two paths: Either enjoy his first six albums (My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy!, Trust, and Imperial Bedroom) sequentially or purchase the Girls, Girls, Girls two disc compilation.
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Format: Audio CD
There have been numerous Elvis Costello compilations, but this new release focuses on the most fertile period of his career, the first ten years. Mr. Costello's first four albums, My Aim Is True, This Years Model, Armed Forces & Get Happy!!! are virtual greatest hits albums themselves. After a brief detour into country covers on Almost, he came back with the stellar Trust & Imperial Bedroom albums. Of course no one could keep up that blinding of a pace and subsequent albums that fall into this period, Punch The Clock, Goodbye Cruel World, King Of America & Blood & Chocolate aren't as strong, but do contain some first rate material. The songs have all been dissected before and fans of Mr. Costello owns these songs probably in multiple formats, but if you want an introduction into some the finest and most creative music of the late 70's and 80's, then this album should be in your collection.
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Format: Audio CD
In my opinion, this is the best single-disc Elvis Costello compilation anyone has ever released. In fact, it may even be the best introduction to E.C. out there (He's so stylistically diverse that no single album is an effective introduction, and both of the more extensive collections - "Girls Girls Girls" on Columbia and "The Very Best of Elvis Costello" on Rhino - would probably be overwhelming to someone unfamiliar with the majority of his work). Also, the collection "Rock and Roll Music," as is evident in the title, ignores his non-"Rock and Roll" songs.

But this disc finally gets it right. There was a "The Very Best of Elvis Costello & the Attractions" single-disc issued on Rykodisc in 1994 that came close, but as good as that disc was, this collection makes three substitutions that are actually improvements: "(The Angels Want to Wear My) Red Shoes," "New Lace Sleeves," and "Almost Blue" replace "Watch Your Step," "New Amsterdam," and "Love Field."

Not only are the substitutions slightly better songs in my opinion, they also paint a more complete picture of Elvis Costello as an artist and writer. Especially "Red Shoes" - if you'd only heard the ballad "Alison" and the reggae-influenced "Watching the Detectives" from his debut album, you'd have no idea what to expect from the rest of the CD, but "Red Shoes" really sets the tone for the rest of that disc (and it's just an amazing song). Some people complain that these songs have been repackaged too many times, but I have a hard time arguing with the final result.
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Format: Audio CD
(5 stars for the tunes, 3 stars for the sound) There are several other Elvis Costello hits collections, so the question is what merit does this one have that distinguishes it from the others? My other customer reviews show that I'm skeptical about endless repackaging of an artist's back catalog, but I really responded to this set. I guess it's mainly a sentimental thing - the first ten years for Mr. Costello were indeed the best years for me, especially his 2nd, 3rd & 4th albums. This new compilation allowed me to gain a fresh appreciation of Elvis' amazing songwriting in the early years. I also fell in love all over again with such nuances as the sensuous electric guitar on "Alison," Steve Nieve's cool organ lines on "Watching the Detectives" and so on. The Attractions ruled! In sum, I think this now becomes the essential single-CD Costello collection. I was just a little disappointed by the harsh CD sound. I used to think those vinyl elitists didn't know what they were talking about, but this and a few other recent CD reissues have made me think they might have a point in saying vinyl has a warmer, fuller sound than CDs. There are songs on this disc where the vocals in particular are much harsher than I remember from the LPs. Also, the vocals seem a little too far back in the mix on some of the first 6 or 8 cuts. It gets better in the last half of the set. Also, I would have liked some liner notes - commentary? historical anecdotes? anything besides just the credits and lyrics... I guess WE are writing the liner notes here, right?
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