Mojo: "How to buy EC..." Vote Now!

Pretty self-explanatory
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Mojo: "How to buy EC..." Vote Now!

Postby DrJ » Sun Oct 02, 2005 12:53 am

An upcoming Mojo will have a "How to buy..." article on EC soon. Submit your opinions here: ... 65&fpart=1

Can we all make an effort to get Brutal Youth onto the list?

Tlentifini Maarhaysu


Postby selfmademug » Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:56 am

Tlentifini Maarhaysu


The comments on there seem bland and/or inane... sad. But if I were gonna plug a non-obvious one, it'd be North.

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Postby Chrille » Sun Oct 02, 2005 8:56 am

Can't register because they won't send me a verification e-mail.

Personally I wouldn't suggest anyone to start by getting Brutal Youth because although it's very good it has terrible production and took me a while to get into because of that.

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Postby Masterpiece? » Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:20 am

Just reg'd and posted:

1. My Aim Is True - I don't think this is the universal classic others do, but it's worth it for Blame It on Cain, Watching the Detectives and Red Shoes alone. Not bad considering he didn't even have the Attracitons yet...

2. Get Happy!! - So many songs, enough of them will stick to the wall to impress, especially with the RHino reissue that offers 30 (!) extra tracks.

3. When I Was Cruel - Many would say that The Delivery Man is a better album, and in some ways it is, but you have to love the country thing to completely embrace TDM. I love WIWC just as much, and consider it to be a way to offer Elvis more "in his element". (He would hate that description himself, but not everyone has his far-reaching taste in music).

They can then gravitate to Trust and Spike to experience albums that start out simply enough but then take you to unexpected places, and from there let them roam free.
Everybody's hiding under covers... who's making Lover's Lane safe again for lovers?"

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Postby so lacklustre » Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:21 am

Why Brutal Youth? Decent but hardly essential. My outside pick would be MLAR.
signed with love and vicious kisses

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Postby villaininnermillion » Sun Oct 02, 2005 5:49 pm

Blood and Chocolate
The Delivery Man
This Year's Model

forget the rest

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Postby alexv » Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:51 pm

early EC: TYM
middle EC: IB
"mature" EC: KOA
late EC(with help): PFM

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Postby johnfoyle » Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:51 am


Mojo , Jan. 06


Elvis Costello -

Just don't buy Spike. No, really.


I'll paste in the text over the weekend .

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Postby pip_52 » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:00 pm

Spike was the first Elvis I ever bought and the reason Im (sometimes) here today! Well, the first half of Spike anyway ...

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Postby johnfoyle » Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:37 pm

Mojo , Jan. '06
( scanned from print edition)


Elvis Costello


BACK IN 1977, naturally, someone asked him “Why ‘Elvis’?” and he said, “It’s like wearing a crown, because people expect something of you. I don’t mind that. I’m prepared to give them all I can.” Remarkably, he kept his word.

Hence his productivity — more than an album a year counting collaborations — and his diversity — pop, jazz, classical. Even when his wordplay’s so pumped up it’s muscle-bound and his music so tightly wound it’s a tangle, his determination to improve has proved boundless. Consider: invited to compose for an Italian ballet company, he studied orchestration from scratch so that he could handwrite the 200 pages of charts which eventually comprised II Sogno.

An alert self-critic, Costello does know he can be entirely too much, as he acknowledged to MOJO in 1998: “I’ve tended to put so much into records that sometimes to enjoy it requires you to become me. Believe me, you don’t want to.”

That would be because of all the frustration, mutual betrayal, jealousy, disappointment, loneliness and general malfunctioning of human relationships he dwells on in his songwriting. There again, this well-travelled man (not just as the ultimate label tourist) and profoundly experienced artist can be relied on to show us what ails us most, scour it with irony and scrub off the self-pity so that maybe we can just get on.

Perhaps the “Elvis” was to make it, ultimately, not about him, to help him step away from ego towards objectivity despite all the whingeing, finger-pointing lyrics. As Jon Savage wrote way back, reviewing My Aim Is True for Sounds, “Personally, these ears find Elvis less than loveable, let alone likeable, but that’s not what he deals in.” Which is to say he doesn’t care for look-at-me, his whole concern is listen-to-this.

10. Elvis Costello And The Attractions Armed Forces

You say: “The culmination of the early Costello’s pop dynamism.” Panama, mojo4music

While part of the late-’70s Rock Against Racism ethos, Armed Forces is no period piece thanks to Costello’s strenuously subtle way with a theme. Oliver’s Army and Goon Squad are tales of burgeoning fascism among militaristic buffers, old and young, but with Senior Service or Chemistry Class, Costello examines Fuehrer-and-follower tendencies in work, sex, life generally — as he sings in Two Little Hitlers, “She’s my soft touch typewriter/And I’m the great dictator”. But the band’s bustle began to feel limited, and his punning suggested a stint in Lit. rehab beckoned.

9. Elvis Costello And the Attractions Get Happy!!

You say: “A very Stax/soul influenced album. Grab the recent 2-disc reissue.” Bazza, mojo4music

Fed up with himself and the bristling, sneery sound of his first three albums, Costello bought 50 quid’s worth of soul singles and recalibrated. Every track grew from “failed” attempts to imitate Booker T , Al Green and other immortals. But no soulster ever cranked it up to frantic like him — as on hits I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down and High Fidelity — nor poured such wild energy into bitter, cryptic wordplay. His harangues re money, love, and their corruptive interaction can be a bit like having a street-corner crackpot grasp your lapels, but it’s compulsive listening.

8. Elvis Costello North

You say: “Am I going Out on a limb with this one. Like
Reprise-era Sinatra. I love it.”
Hearts&minds37, via e-mail

Costello fulfilled his Sinatra, Bacharach (and maybe Weill) dream with the cast-iron slowest album of his career. Piano chords adrift in time, the barstool singer romancing or lamenting from past bust-up to present love and back — and in the corner an orchestra which, post- Il Sogno, he can arrange and conduct. A spikily bracing job he makes of it too, with the consequent musical formalities acting as Lomotil to his excessive tendencies, just as they had on Painted From Memory . ln place of agitation and aggro, he delivers measured reflection, quiet passion. North is a triumph of the heartfelt musicianliness he always sought.

7. The Costello Show King Of America

You say: “In the front rank. A wonderfully lush racket.” Twangfreak, mojo4music

What Elvis means to Costello remains oddly unexplored, but here he took the allusion to teasing lengths by playing several tracks with Presley band members including guitarist James Burton. This turned out fine, viz blistering rock’n’roll satire Glitter Gulch and Lovable’s slapalong jive. But that year’s feud with The Attractions also seems to have freed his singing — given more time and space he finds new shades of mercy and kindness — and his writing — Brilliant Mistake, Indoor Fireworks and, above all, ‘40s-style torch song Poisoned Rose combine emotional insight and beauty as never before. He just couldn’t stop moving on.

6. Elvis Costello With Burt Bacharach Painted From Memory

You say:
“With two schools of Costello fans (strings and guitars) this is top of the strings pile.” Bobzombie, via e-mail

No doubt which way the ‘influence” flowed, since every bar of creamy melancholia declares Bacharach’s presence. Costello was the explorer, he wanted the partnership and the ‘60s orchestrations’ lush restraint. He wanted to find his inner Dusty. Precise, spacious melodies demand he edit his stories, pare his language, honour the discipline of silky syncopated piano chords. Confined-liberated, he sings out simple lines like, “I still have that other girl in my head” or “Still I can’t believe this is happening”. Not rock’n’roll, but heart and soul.

5. Elvis Costello And The Attractions Imperial Bedroom

You say:
“Lyrical urgency and The Attractions at their most creative.” Fillapillowg, mojo4music

Costello’s new habit of writing mostly on piano must have been crucial — take his after-midnight Sinatra re-creation Almost Blue or how a more typical piece, Boy With A Problem, ignores standard structures to follow where the melody leads. His sleevenote recalls he was struggling outof”a defeated and exhausted frame of mind to something more glorious”. So he hired an orchestra for some tracks, specifically seeking a touch of The Beatles’ range. Fresh and fluent compositions — Beyond Belief, Shabby Doll, The Long Honeymoon — hauled him out of the mire.

4. Elvis Costello My Aim Is True

You say:
“The Elvis album I sing along to more than any other.” OZeroO, mojo4music

Steeped in soul, R&B and beat groups and, pre-Attractions, backed by Californian craftsmen Clover, Costello burst on ‘77 as a punk-compatible “extraordinarily bitter person” —but way too sophisticated for safety pins. While less coherently written than its successor, this debut is rich in sour, sullied treasures, including Miracle Man, Sneaky Feelings, I’m Not Angry and (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes (“Oh I said, ‘I’m so happy, I could die/She said, ‘Drop dead”). Of course, Alison wears the thorny crown —a perfectly apt switch to balladry because it sees distance and a degree of empathy dilute bilious self-obsession.

3. Elvis Costello When I Was Cruel

You say:
“I love it so much. Elvis in his element.” MrMisery, mojo4music

After years of intriguing collaborations, genre experiments and learning new skills, suddenly a whole lifetime of what inspired Costello erupted into visceral rock’n’roll again. He applied his latest passions hip hop’s sleek technologies and Ethiopian pop’s coarse earthiness — to some of his best melodies and torrential narrative imaginings fortified by relentlessly hard rhythm tracks to produce such please-don’t-stop epics as When I Was Cruel No.2, Alibi, Dust and Episode Of Blonde. Costello was approaching his fifties with a level of vinegar in the blood comparable only to Tom Waits or Lucinda Williams. Then he got even better...

2. Elvis Costello & The Imposters The Delivery Man

You say:
“His best, if not better, since This Year’s Mode!. True!” Jon McGlone, via e-mail

Twenty-eight years in, the latest is the best. That’s songwriting and performance both. Why not, given such unflagging ambition to move and improve? Immersed in steamy Deep South imaginings, Costello switchbacks between heartache ballads and voodoo rockers. The Imposters sweat their souls — pianist Steve Nieve at a lifetime peak — and Costello sings with more range, depth and heart than ever before. In the crunching Button My Lip, he hollers “I’ve seen those clowns vacant and insolent... I am the mighty and magnificent”; in character or not, that’s Costello in imperial mid life.

1. Elvis Costello This Year’s Model

You say:
“ I can’t imagine a self-respecting record collection without the taut snarl of .“ Geoffcowgill, mojo4music

Apart from the anti-Nazi Night Rally, every track seethes with love unrealised, longing frustrated, decent human qualities twisted by rejection and jealousy. Whether the object of this pent-up humiliation is a distant beauty (This Year’s Girl and (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea) or a former lover (No Action, Little Triggers and others), Costello’s relentless consistency of tone enthrals like a snake. Sure, he’s got tunes, pumped-up ‘6Os sounds from across the spectrum, performances slick and sharp as you like — but it’s all at the service of writing and singing that turn pop music into an acid bath.


Avoid THESE!

Health-warning to-output ratio is low. The TV soundtracks and ballet Il Sogno are a shade bereft without their visual accompaniments. But Costello’s classical collaborations, The Juliet Letters (with the Brodsky string quartet) and For The Stars (pop sung by soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter) in no way deserve the eye-rolling they tend to attract. Occasionally, though, one of his 20-plus mainstream albums fails to spark — Mighty Like A Rote and covers collection Kojak Variety are too much like hard work, while Costello’s own sleevenote to Goodbye Cruel World Snorted, “Congratulations! You’ve just bought our worst record!” He knew whereof he spoke.
Last edited by johnfoyle on Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby johnfoyle » Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:44 pm

That word in the North comment - ... tilfaq.htm

What is Lomotil?

Lomotil (atropine and diphenoxylate) is a mixture of two drugs that together form an antidiarrheal medication. It prevents spasms in the muscles of the gut and bladder by relaxing them, and can slow the function of the bowel to treat diarrhea.

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Postby sweetest punch » Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:25 am

Except for a few minor songs on WIWC, I can totally agree with this list.

His first four albums are - of course- absolute top and also among my favourites. IB and KOA have great songs, great singing and great production.

And I prefer the Universal albums above the Warner Bros. albums (although I have listened to BY almost every evening for a whole year back there in 1994).

I agree that EC is now on a creative peak (listen also to the forthcoming My Flame Burns Blue) and that means (very) high expectations for the Costello/Toussaint collaboration.

Another interesting question could be: what would EC think of this list? Would he agree? (We know that he ranks North and PFM among his best albums.)
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Postby Otis Westinghouse » Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:12 pm

johnfoyle wrote:3. Elvis Costello When I Was Cruel

You say:
“I love it so much. Elvis in his element.” MrMisery, mojo4music

Our very own?

Bizarre to place this as 3, from most of our perspectives, I do believe. Nice to see North in there.
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Postby verbal gymnastics » Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:59 am

Otis Westinghouse wrote:
johnfoyle wrote:3. Elvis Costello When I Was Cruel

You say:
“I love it so much. Elvis in his element.” MrMisery, mojo4music

Our very own?

Looks like Mr Misery found a place for his mouth to shoot :wink:
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Postby Otis Westinghouse » Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:15 pm

Looked at the article today. Seems to suffer from the problem of people voting for the most recent CDs and the really early classics. No B&C, BY, Trust or ATUB just seems odd to me.
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