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Blood & Chocolate

4.4 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 12, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

"A pissed off thirty-two year old, divorcee's version of 'This Year's Model,'" Elvis Costello deems this 1986 album in the Rykodisc reissue's liner notes; if anything, given its raw sonics and Esperanto sleeve credits, it's even more perverse than that 1978 masterpiece. A first finale for Costello's working relationship with the Attractions, Blood & Chocolate brings the group together for a series of songs that moves through garage noise ("Uncomplicated"), twisted folk-rock ("Crimes of Paris"), a harrowing Dylan-Lennon homage ("I Want You"), and other genre twistings. Perhaps the most underrated classic in the man's catalog, it carries six bonus tracks--including the fabulous "Baby's Got a Brand New Hairdo"--in this edition. --Rickey Wright

From the Label

Having calmed down enough to expore the wrenching ballads and blues on 1986's KING OF AMERICA, Costello pulled an about-face and returned the same year with his roughest, punkiest album since the early days. Jagged, stark and recorded almost entirely live, B&C marks the temporary return of the original team, with the Attractions in tow and Nick Lowe back at the producer's chair. The result was an overlooked gem in the Costello catalogue, with standouts in the highly oblique "Tokyo Storm Warning" and the painfully direct "I Want You". Shorter and catchier tracks like "Blue Chair" and "Next Time Round" could almost have passed as outtakes from the first three albums. Seven extended play tracks.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Uncomplicated
  2. I Hope You're Happy Now
  3. Tokyo Storm Warning
  4. Home is Anywhere You Hang Your Head
  5. I Want You
  6. Honey Are You Straight Or Are You Blind?
  7. Blue Chair
  8. Battered Old Bird
  9. Crimes Of Paris
  10. Poor Napoleon
  11. Next Time Round
  12. Seven Day Weekend
  13. Forgive Her Anything
  14. Blue Chair (Single Version)
  15. Baby's Got A Brand New Hairdo
  16. American Without Tears No.2 (Twilight Version)
  17. A Town Called Big Nothing (Really Big Nothing)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B0000009V1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,862 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
How is Elvis Costello like Woody Allen? Just about everyone admits they're great artists, but most people only pay attention to their early work and ignore more recent output. It's their loss. By the time he produced "Blood and Chocolate," Elvis Costello was already being taken for granted and ignored by most listeners. He repaid their neglect with one of his finest hours. This is the last howling hurrah of the original, "punk/new wave" Elvis Costello, and he and the Attractions, with an able assist from Nick Lowe, do themselves proud. Song for song, for variety and quality, this album is hard to beat. You want slam-bang rockers? Try "Uncomplicated," "Honey Are you Straight . . ." or the free-associating maelstrom of "Tokyo Storm Warning." You want near-perfect pop? Try "Blue Chair" or "Home is Anywhere You Hang Your Head." You want to be left breathless with wonder? Sit close to the speakers for "I Want You." Get it, listen to it, tell your friends. You'll thank yourself and they'll thank you.
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Format: MP3 Music
I've been an Elvis fan since Day One, no matter what format he decided to take. I pull out Elvis once a day at minimum, but if I were asked to take only one of his works with me, I wouldn't hesitate to name Blood & Chocolate.

Here's a clue how much I enjoy it, my 38 yr old (as of 2007) Golden Crown Amazon parrot can sing every word of this album. Alice's favorite artists are Elvis, Jimi and INXS. But she only sings the words to the songs of Blood & Chocolate. Otherwise she's the opera diva with a loud voice, but no words.

I can't place my finger on what exactly it is about this album that hits me so, but it might be the deep lyrics and their meaning. Or it just might be that it's a great beat to belt out as you paint your blue chair.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As an EC fan...this is possibly the most punk album by the punk/new wave pioneer. True, it came out in 1986, but it's a raw, live-in-the-studio (mostly) rock band playing songs...
It works, better than he thinks it does.
Hard driving, desperate rock and roll from EC and the Attractions. Steve Nieve's organ punctuates madly and cascades it's way over Bruce Thomas's bass lines, creating a melody like a disastrous waterfall that pours over Pete Thomas's rock solid drumming.
The result is a discordant, spartan proceeding that has some of EC's best songs and the Attractions' best playing. Words: : Well, here's a boy if ever there was/Who's gonna do great things/I guess that's what they all say/And that's how the trouble begins/I've seen them rise and fall and through their big deals and smalls/And he better have a dream that goes beyond 4 walls."
Lyric brilliance, vocal emotiveness unrivaled by a damn good soul singer, and awesome musicality..buy it or die trying...fantastic album.
And the bonus CD... WELL! Great stuff, alternate takes of album tracks (that make me trust EC's judgement) and some demos, and some B-sides...WELL! A non-fan doesn't need any of it, but for someone who has followed a career, it's invaluable...luckily, RHINO is not charging for the second CD..buy them, realize them, enjoy them...this is songwriting at it's best!
Trust me....this is worth your time.
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Format: Audio CD
I will defer to all the laudatory comments listed here. I had one observation, however, regarding this new version by Rhino vs. the previous, also-excellent version by Rykodisc.

The final track on the Ryko CD was "A Town Called Big Nothing (Really Big Nothing)", a wonderful, 5-minute+ little gem originally writen for a Alex Cox film that featured Costello's father on trumpet.

However, it is NOT included on the new Rhino CD. This is a curious and unfortunate omission, so FYI to all who are considering replacing the Ryko's. Perhaps Rhino will include it on one of the future Costello releases.

(UPDATE: The track never made it to any of the Rhino releases. It now only appears on The Singles Volume 3 set.)
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Format: Audio CD
Welcome to "the place where they take your spine & turn it into soap flakes"...

Costello has always been angry, he built his reputation on it. But on Blood & Chocolate, all kid gloves are off. Those great pop hooks & bitter turns of phrase are there, but here he deliberately keeps things as ugly and brutal as possible. Playing almost in mockery of stuff like "Oliver's Army". It's the sonic equivalent of elegantly burning oneself in effigy with a bloody hammer. Smothered in decidedly claustrophobic production, it feels like a drunken brawl in a broom closet. One gets the sense Costello is hell bent on nailing The Attractions kicking & screaming down into his own coffin.

"Uncomplicated" clangs in like a ringside bell. One immediately gets the sense that everyone's playing in the dark, pissed as hell, determined to beat any semblance of melody into a pulp. Steve Neive hits the Wulitzer like a drunken carny. Pete Thomas seems to be pounding on the decapitated heads of those he hates. As if in spiteful opposition, Bruce Thomas plays as if he's creeping up to push the shiv in. As for Costello, he gleefully lives up to the self-deprecating nickname "little hands of concrete", spitting out his lyrics as if he couldn't stand the taste of them.

In short, everyone seems to be hell bent on playing their instruments as if they were billy clubs, flogging the same damn horse. This is particularly evident on the likes of "Tokyo Storm Warning" and "Honey Are You Straight Or Are You Blind?" Elsewhere, the atmosphere could only be described as perverse. "Poor Napolean" reeks of a 10 day bender & "Anywhere You Hang Your Head" is the sonic equivalent of a suicidal hangover.

A major highlight is "I Want You". Easily one of the creepiest & most powerful songs Costello & Co.
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