- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Canongate U.S.; Reprint edition (April 5, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841957968
- ISBN-13: 978-1841957968
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,343,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello Paperback – April 5, 2006
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On the downside, I found the very detailed set lists from performances over the years took up too much space in the book. It's interesting to a point, but by late in his career what he chose to play in Pasadena in the 30th year of his career out of hundreds and hundreds of songs just isn't that interesting. I felt like it was used to pad the book some.
I found it surprising just how quickly he turned into a real talent very quickly around 1976-77. Previously his work and performances had been pretty uninspired. The guy just had immense latent talent that blossomed at just the right time.
Also, after reading the book, I have to conclude that while he became a very talented songwriter and singer, his success probably stunted him emotionally (rock stars are allowed to be nasty and get away with it) and facilitated his continued bad behavior as a human being. At times nasty, vain, selfish, unprincipled, disloyal, and even cruel, he is not a "good man", but neither is he completely without his positive qualities.
Reading this book and other items over the years I do find it a turnoff to enjoying the songs sometimes. Previously I saw him as a put-upon underdog "voice of truth" righteously disgusted by the ways of the world and how he had been treated. Turns out he was just another cheating jerk whose wife probably nagged him about his cheating and he got in a lot of fights about it which became great songs. Worse still, it seems that anyone who might stand up to him and even return some of the teasing/cruelty becomes persona-non-grata. The wife, the second wife, and Bruce Thomas come to mind. I found Bruce's loyalty to Steve Nieve more admirable than any of the ostentatious "good deeds" EC has done over the years. Because he stood up for Steve when it wasn't in front of crowds, knowing he'd pay the price for it.
Enjoyed the book. Definitely worth a read. It drags in the last couple of decades, as has EC's career and quality of output, unfortunately.
Thank You, Jim Carroll
Most recent customer reviews
The book helped explain and provide context for the triumphs (This Years Model, Get Happy, Etc) as well as others many have questioned O