New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Pretty self-explanatory
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby sweetest punch » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:49 am

Otis Westinghouse wrote:Sweetest Punch: please note that you only posted half the Guardian review.

Thanks, is fixed now.
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby johnfoyle » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:30 am

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http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music ... -1.1522395

Jim Carroll

Some collaborations are just fated, and here are two powerhouses who were always destined to be tongue and groove. Both Elvis Costello and The Roots have plenty of common currency, including shared pop culture references and encyclopedic music brains. They know about the art of musical reinvention and the kinetic creative boost that a well-timed collaboration can bring.

For many Costello watchers, the depth and the density of the funk on Wise Up Ghost may surprise. But Costello has long shown a fondness for thick, soulful grooves, and he couldn’t be better paired in this regard than with Questlove. The Roots’ leader and drummer measures grooves by the ton and the yard; he’s a musician of rare vintage who can cue the drum rolls between Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and Buddy Miles.

Funky isn’t the only quality in spades here. Wise Up Ghost is greasy, scuzzy, tense, humid, moody and low-slung, the sound of a bunch of musicians swinging in ways new to them. Costello is hopped-up and vital, throwing shapes lifted from his back-catalogue here and there (Stick Out Your Tongue is a superbly shifty superfly take on Pills & Soap). In the hands of The Roots, tracks rock, roll and render between the full stops as the musicians push a barrage of sounds towards the speakers.

Between Walk Us Uptown, the spiky Refuse to Be Saved, the New Orleans-tipping Come the Meantimes and the mesmeric Viceroy’s Row, Costello and The Roots sound vital, urgent and on point. It’s the match of the day – and perhaps even the year. elviscostello.com
Download: Stick Out Your Tongue, Walk Us Uptown, Refuse to Be Saved

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby John » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:36 am

The Telegraph like it

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/musi ... eview.html

Elvis Costello and the Roots, Wise Up Ghost, review
Elvis Costello and the Roots have created a very cool, politically charged collaboration, says Helen Brown.
5 out of 5 stars

“Just to make it clear,” Elvis Costello has been declaring, “this is not my hip-hop record.” That may be so, but his inspired collaboration with Philadelphian group the Roots definitely does use “hip-hop methodology” to fabulous effect, as scratch and splice samples of his old songs turn into funky new forms, giving those trademark densely-packed lyrics space to bounce and swagger with some low-riding grooves.

For all the chatter about an “unlikely pairing”, this genre-fusing union shouldn’t come as a surprise. Costello has in the past bent punk, new wave, country and lounge jazz to his will, while the Roots are the sort of open-minded, playful musicians who aren’t afraid to bring a sousaphone onto the stage. Thoughtful, witty and often fierce, they’ve backed Jay Z, sampled Radiohead and covered U2, while band leader and drummer Amir “Questlove” Thompson has produced everybody from Al Green to Amy Winehouse.

Formed in 1987, the Roots became the house band on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night chat show in 2009 and it was there they first met Costello. Over the next three years, they impressed him with their funky reworking of his songs, like 1980 hit High Fidelity. Eventually, some after-show jams turned into a remarkable record that sees Costello sounding more vital than he has for years, and roughs up some of the noodly, neo-soul tendencies of the Roots.

It crackles to life with the furtive, exciting atmosphere of a pirate radio station and recasts the strings of Costello’s 2003 ballad Can You Be True as a giddy, fairground organ, underpinned by two-tone style brass flourishes. The 59-year-old Brit snarls about flags and killing fields, his complex and tender guerrilla poetry darting about. He’s in turn a fighter, an observer and a victim from line to line: “No matter what the price/ Each crushed in the corner of their own paradise”. Costello’s not exactly rapping, but there’s a great, declamatory rhythm as he rasps about tears and prayers, bloodlust and insurance. He makes the geopolitical feel so personal you can smell its breath.

Tripwire is a crooning lullaby for kids in a world of drones and shoe-bombers. She Might Be (A Grenade) is a portrait of a woman unbuttoning her dress, tearing off her veil and pulling out the pin. Lyrically it works as a tale of infidelity or terrorism: seeking the thrills, tensions and seductions of each. La Marisoul adds some slinky, Spanish vocals to Cinco Minutos Con Vos, while Stick Out Your Tongue revisits 1983’s Pills and Soap. Only the schmaltzy If I Could Believe left me unmoved. Otherwise, this is a very cool, politically charged collaboration which finds the Roots and Costello at their thrilling best.

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Natasha » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:36 am

Jeremy Dylan wrote:My pre-order downloaded this morning. After a few listens, Sugar Won't Work is an early favourite for me. The record to me sounds like a bit of a cross between the When I Was Cruel album and Isaac Hayes doing Walk On By.


I have to say that my only frustration is that he could have sampled some material from When I was Cruel (unless I missed something). Specially "Spooky Girlfriend". I mean, why not let Questlove turn it into the R&B song it was always meant to be?

But don´t get me wrong. I love the album, it´s pure perfection. And I would not mind a "sequel" :roll: :P
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Natasha » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:04 am

[update] Ok... if you heard the deluxe version now you know I am partially wrong. :P

[update 2] Is this classified as "spoiler"? If yes, sorry. :oops:
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby John » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:34 am

Amazon in the US seem only to be selling the deluxe version of the cd and have increased its price in the last couple of days which doesn't seem like clever promotion to me.

In the UK they are selling the standard cd at a fair price (no one is ordering yet) and the deluxe version at a crazy £21.

All a bit of a muddle.

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Yanyna » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:40 am

If I would want buy the deluxe version here in Czech Republic, it could cost even more than I paid for vinyl...
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby jardine » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:53 am

also, amazon.ca has pushed the release date for deluxe to sept. 24th.

hopefully all of this is about extraordinary demand!!

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby invisible Pole » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:41 pm

http://www.spin.com/reviews/elvis-coste ... -up-ghost/

September 13 2013
by Seth Colter Walls


Elvis Costello and the Roots Are Looser Than You Expected (and Not as Stuffy as You Feared) on 'Wise Up Ghost'

SPIN Rating : 8 out of 10

The way you react to news of this pairing says something about your appetite for pretension. Roots drummer/mastermind ?uestlove self-describes as "your favorite Twitterer's favorite music snob," and in recent years has built enough bridges to Indie Town that he now qualifies for government contracts. Meantime, Mr. Costello is the sort to send George Jones a demo tape, in order to demonstrate how the Possum might cover Springsteen. (That's on the deluxe version of Almost Blue, if you care.) Put them together, and things could get a wee bit over-studied, right?

Yet more than half of Wise Up Ghost is faultless: more exciting and hooky than much recent work from either camp. Opener "Walk Us Uptown" is where ?uestlove shows he can best the beats on Elvis' prior R&B testimonies. (Yes, even Get Happy!!) "Sugar Won't Work" offers the kind of keyboard-trill funk that only record-nerd aesthetes know how to execute. (The pacing is smooth, while the textures run gritty.) And the arrangement on "Refuse to Be Saved" is masterful: Between the digi-crunch chordal comping, the ensemble-horn punches, some orchestral accents, and an organ part, things easily could sound cluttered. Yet there's sufficient room left in the mix for the drummer to get some.

Is such joyous record-making always "stark and dark," as Questlove promised in his pre-release gushing? Not compared to the Roots far more overwrought 2011 album undun — and that's a good thing. Nor is Costello much heard going "HAM on some ole Ezra Pound shit," as ?uesto also threatened. (File that under "Whew!" as well.) The most familiar lyrics here are Elvis' own, actually, swiped from songs both recent ("She's Pulling Out the Pin") and ancient (the Thatcher-era "Pills and Soap"). Lyrically, too, Wise Up Ghost puts its pop-historical smarts to good use, improving on the backdrops for our would-be poet's witty abstractions. The Roots' mid-tempo boom-bap turns out to be an even more convincing environment for the world-weary protagonist of "Wake Me Up" than the musical tableau that Costello's band of Imposters cooked up back when the song was an apocalyptic rocker titled "Bedlam."

Elvis' past music is likewise made available for Roots-y reinterpretation, and this also brings benefits, most remarkably, when the "Satellite"-sampling marvel "Tripwire" announces itself as the soulful-with-a-soft-touch ballad that Costello likely couldn't have finessed on his own. (Could Prince maybe give ?uestlove as free a hand with his back catalog, pretty please?) Samples from Costello's least-loved album, 2003's jazz-croony North, crop up as the symphonic fodder in "Sugar Won't Work" and the title track; you can almost hear Elvis boasting, "History knows I'm right. I'll get people to dig these nuggets if it's the last... thing... I… do."

Elsewhere, "She Might Be a Grenade" doesn't sample, but instead subtly quotes Costello's insistent guitar riff from "Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over)." This works also, but directly afterward, somewhat mysteriously, the album's energy flags through its final third: Elvis' torchy sensibility is over-indulged, and ?uestlove's filtering process doesn't feel as active. Still, this is far better than either entity's fanbase had the right to expect from artists who are famous for having too many side projects already. Who will notice if, upon close inspection, they don't seem to say much about our slumbering era? You’ve got to give it to perennial over-achievers: sometimes they even know how to make extra-credit assignments sound like A+ work.
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby invisible Pole » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:52 pm

http://popdose.com/album-review-elvis-c ... urce=pubv1

ALBUM REVIEW: Elvis Costello and the Roots, “Wise Up Ghost”
By Matt Springer - September, 13th 2013

“Now we’re in a hall of mirrors
With my secret fears and terrors”


–from “Come The Meantimes” by Elvis Costello and the Roots

Wise Up Ghost may be the most bleak album Elvis Costello has ever released.

It’s amazing, and the Roots are ideal collaborators, intertwining their sound with the melodic bile Costello spits into the mic. It’s got grooves to spare. But it is dark, and unrelenting.

We live in dark and unrelenting times. Every day brings new revelations about the NSA’s warrantless access into our digital lives. The threat of chemical weapons in Syria has politicians raising war flags and citizens issuing a mildly annoyed shrug. In spite of the near-collapse of our economy and the best efforts of the Occupy movement, the rich still get richer and the poor get…children.

Much of that wasn’t in the cultural landscape as this record was being made, but does it matter? Illegal wiretapping, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, greed running rampant over the American landscape…all of this has happened before. All of this will happen again.

The pre-press for Wise Up Ghost indicates it began as a covers project, which is one explanation for the fact that most of these songs are constructed from bits and pieces of Costello’s past–an audio sample may inform the tune, or a new composition may emerge with the lyrics of an old song, or even cut-up reconstructions of words from several tunes.

These songs feel fresh. They were written yesterday; they could have been written ten minutes ago. They may be written again tomorrow: “Pills and Soap,” a vicious attack on the Thatcher era’s dismissal of the poor; “Invasion Hit Parade,” released in the thick of Bush Sr.’s fetishistic Desert Storm; “National Ransom,” a howl into the roaring wind of unquenchable greed that blows down the middle of Wall Street and Canary Wharf just the same.

Hammer them into new machines around the sinister beats of ?uestlove and the brittle riffs of Captain Kirk, and they may sound more contemporary, but they speak to the darkest corners of our past, present, and inevitable future. This is soul music as poison pill. The tools of inspiration, of the gospel dragged from the church to the roadhouse–horns, strings, that groove–are weaponized. As vicious as Costello is with his words, the Roots match his mood with their music, two musical chameleons disappearing into a common goal. Co-producer Steven Mandel enters the scene like a mad scientist, pouring spooky beakers filled with evil sounds into the cauldron, mixing the concoction just right for maximum devastation.

On his recent records, Costello has tempered his most cutting observations with the occasional softening moment. 2008′s Momofuku opened with a blistering one-two punch, “No Hiding Place” and “American Gangster Time” (“It’s a drag/Saluting that starry rag”), but later revealed “Flutter & Wow,” a tender mid-tempo love song; and “My Three Sons,” a downright sweet tune about the singer’s young twins with wife Diana Krall and his adult son from his first marriage, as direct and autobiographical as Costello has ever been.

On Wise Up Ghost, beauty is just another distortion of fear. “Tripwire” takes a delicate glockenspiel opening from 1989′s “Satellite” (off Costello’s hit album Spike, which also featured “Veronica”) and spins out an aching ballad of terror.

“Don’t open the door cause they’re coming
Don’t open the door cause they’re here
Above there’s an ominous humming
Below there’s a murmur of prayer”


Costello leans close into the mic and whispers the words straight into your ears, intimate and violating at the same time. If you’re not afraid, you should be.

Even Mighty Like A Rose, the 1991 record from which “Invasion Hit Parade” and “Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over)” originate, concluded with “Couldn’t Call It Unexpected,” in which Costello sings over a ticky-tack piano like a broken music box, “Please don’t let me fear anything I cannot explain/I can’t believe/I’ll never believe/In anything again.”

Fast-forward to 2013, and Wise Up Ghost concludes with “If I Could Believe,” a piano-driven ballad of heartbreak that also sums up the bitter, enraged, resigned mood of a singer in trouble times–”Lost in my insolence and sneers/That might sound like prayers/If I could believe.” Hope has flown the coop; the angry young man has only grown older and angrier, leaving nothing but beautiful noise in his wake. When you’ve given the world revenge and guilt, and nothing has changed for the better, what else is left but resignation and regret?
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby invisible Pole » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:02 pm

And another rave review. :)

http://drownedinsound.com/releases/1784 ... ws/4146858

by Dan Lucas

It’s like seeing a psychiatrist. There you are trying to explain your problem with it, trying to locate a solution and present as many alternatives as you possibly can, and sometimes you end up with 'Gee, I think I’m talking to the wrong guy.'

The above quote is from Tom Waits, talking in July 1989 to Elvis Costello for Option Magazine about how working with the same musicians album-on-album, year-on-year, inhibits the writing process. Costello’s best-known work was recorded with his familiar backing band, The Attractions/Imposters, but over 40-odd years of recording he’s never been afraid to look outside his comfort zone – see collaborations with Richard Harvey on Jake’s Progress, Burt Bacharach on Painted from Memory and Allen Toussaint on The River in Reverse. Therefore while no one would honestly claim to have seen an album with The Roots coming, nor was anyone likely to have been that surprised when Wise Up Ghost was announced.

If I’m left to my own devices I will discover various shades of brown. And I’m seeing them of course as red and yellow next to each other. [My wife] says what you’ve just really created here is sludge, dirty water... I juggle with brown and green and blue and red, and green looks brown, brown looks green, purple looks blue, blue looks purple. I don’t see the world in black and white but I’ll never make the Air Force.

Earlier in the same interview, Waits describes his own idiosyncratically murky, sleazy sound. On more than a few occasions on Wise Up Ghost it’s one that Costello emulates. The title track, for example, and ‘Stick Out Your Tongue’ – a reworking of ‘Pills and Soap' from 1983’s Punch the Clock – see London’s finest songwriter head towards New Orleans with funky, bluesy guitars and synths. This is something we certainly shouldn’t be surprised by; in the Eighties Waits spoke regularly of the influence the likes of Prince and Howlin’ Wolf – arguably the most forward thinking purveyors of funk and blues music respectively of their days – had on him, and there can be little doubt that The Roots are 2013’s hip-hop equivalent. Their influence seemed to push Costello to expand on that first real flirtation with black music back on When I Was Cruel back in 2002 (for the record I do appreciate that this isn’t some kind of crossover record given I’m still comparing him to another of rock’s white elder statesmen).

Lyrically speaking, Costello has always been at his best when he’s embraced punk’s anger. He’s always been more in the Paddy McAloon or Morrissey mould than Johnny Rotten or Joe Strummer, but as his decision to play the Thatcher-baiting ‘Tramp the Dirt Down’ on his recent tour suggests, his work remains fuelled by vitriol. It’s evident here too: “Some scoop gold from the dirt in the gutter/Or swallow the earth pouring into your mouth/As they bury us upright/Saying ‘Everything’s alright’” he fires on the album’s opening track ‘Walk Us Uptown’. “As cowards flee and traitors sneer/Keep a red flag flying/Keep a blue flag as well/And a white flag in case it all goes to hell.”

There are also shots at international politics. ‘Cinco Minutos Con Vos’ is apparently (it’s all in Spanish) another Falklands song; ‘Shipbuilding’ told from the perspective of the occupied. ‘Wake Me Up’ delivers devastating but unambiguous lines such as “They dragged that bruised and purple heart along the road to Palestine/Someone went off muttering, he mentioned thirty pieces/Easter saw a slaughtering, each wrapped in bloodstained fleeces” on the ongoing West Bank conflict. Without wanting to engineer any kind of political debate here, it’s great to hear an album with such bite. The closing track sounds immediately like a slightly soppy piano ballad, but lyrics such as “If I could believe two and two is five/Two wrongs make a right/Well then, man alive/Lost in my insolence and sneers/That might sound like prayers/If I could believe” belie disdain and despair.

?uestlove and co. seem to have brought out the best in Costello. Individual track-by-track descriptions can be found in our first-listen piece, but the overall sense is that they have reignited him, the combination of one of England’s great lyricists and production from arguably America’s most forward-thinking band resulting in a crisp, funky, even dangerous sounding album as political and as relevant as anything this year.

Rating : 9 / 10
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Natasha » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:08 pm

I ordered standard CD from Amazon UK (because Amazon US charges me absurd taxes). Yes, the deluxe version is way more expensive and quite unfair, even if those 3 extra tracks are really great. On iTunes the price difference is way smaller.
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Pigalle » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:19 pm

Sainsbury's Entertainment has the deluxe for £15.99

https://www.sainsburysentertainment.co. ... =E11275297

and the standard for £8.99

https://www.sainsburysentertainment.co. ... =E11275298

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby John » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:41 pm

I've ordered from here

http://www.wowhd.co.uk/search?q=wise+up+ghost&t=all

Today £6.95 for standard and £11.30 for deluxe. Just hope it arrives quickly.

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby johnfoyle » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:04 pm

As is usual, releases retail in Ireland from the Friday before their U.K. release date , so I got the album this evening

Image


I only had a quick listen to the extra tracks before going out ( to the excellent Rush film) and I'm too tired now to have a proper listen. My impression was of more sound pictures, surely going to repay may listens , just like the album proper.


Image

I've the vinyl on order with Elastic Witch, a Dublin indie. Tower have it - they'd sold out of the 25 (!) cd copies they'd stocked.

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:20 pm

Sweet!!!!!!! Still waiting on the 17th. :wink:
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby bronxapostle » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:05 pm

John wrote:I've ordered from here

http://www.wowhd.co.uk/search?q=wise+up+ghost&t=all

Today £6.95 for standard and £11.30 for deluxe. Just hope it arrives quickly.


not to rub it in...but more as "HOW COOL OF HIM/THEM???" that $40 gets us into Monday's show in Brooklyn AND a deluxe cd with each ticket purchased!!! :D :D :D can you say "DEAL OF THE YEAR?"

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:54 am

Great deal. Would give a lot to be there...

Spent a while reading all these reviews last night. When was there such a buzz around a Costello album? Can't wait.

Nearly caved in and went for the WOWHD 13% off for Friday 13th and then had a vision of Fopp going out of business and a guilt attack and held out.

Has anyone been checking out The Roots back catalogue? Maybe this is discussed elsewhere... I hadn't, but was listening to a bit of Phrenology, and one of the tracks off the John Legend collaboration and both sounded great. I love their sound overall.
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby martinfoyle » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:16 am

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music ... -1.1525475

Why Elvis won’t go back to his roots
Wise Up Ghost is the latest in a long line of collaborations by Elvis Costello – this time with Questlove and The Roots. Teaming up with others has always been at the heart of his music, says the singer-songwriter



Jim Carroll
Sat, Sep 14, 2013


There’s a hush when Elvis Costello walks into the basement room of the London hotel where we’re waiting to hear Wise Up Ghost, his new collaboration with The Roots. The small talk, gossiping and laughter drop a few notches as Costello, like the teacher of an unruly class, strides in with his hands behind his back. He nods at a few people and heads to the sound desk. When the master is ready, the music starts to play.
As you’d expect from a union of two of pop’s most venerable marquee names, Wise Up Ghost is adventurous, ambitious and audacious. Led from the drum kit by Questlove, The Roots twist and turn and swing and sway the music in an abundance of directions.
Costello spikes the moody, sleazy, greasy funk with dazzling wordplay about power, lust, desire, fear and terror, as well as lyrical samples from his back catalogue. Glance to the back of the room during the playback and you can see Costello’s hat nodding along to the music and swivelling around as he makes sure everyone is paying attention.
The meeting of minds that produced Wise Up Ghost came about via Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, the TV show on which The Roots are the house band. “I made three appearances on the show,” Costello says. “I also went and sang on one of the songs on the album they’ve done of Squeeze songs, which hasn’t appeared yet. Right at the root of it was that we were getting to know one another and our working methods and the process by which they prepared for work on the TV show.
“When we did the last appearance, when we did the Bruce Springsteen song [Brilliant Disguise], we were on mutual ground. It wasn’t my song, it wasn’t their song, it was Bruce’s song, and we were free to go about it in the way we wanted to. That kind of freedom really set us thinking about if we could do something together.
“The next thing, we were exchanging musical fragments and laying down sketches. It’s like Consequences, that game where you fold over the paper to reveal the word. We didn’t talk about it; we just did it.”
Wise Up Ghost is another collaboration from someone who feels he has been collaborating all his life. “My Aim Is True was a collaboration with Nick Lowe, but because I wasn’t known – and because I didn’t have any history – at that time, no one commented on that.
“Working with The Attractions over the initial period was a collaboration, with initial discoveries on the first couple of records followed by some tensions which created a work like Blood & Chocolate. Of course, there are more obvious cases, like the work with T-Bone Burnett and working with other musicians for King of America or Spike.
“It’s different when you enter a collaboration with another songwriter, be it a star in their own right, like Burt Bacharach – someone I wouldn’t even have associated myself with – or a move into areas of music where the performance aspect is different, like The Brodsky Quartet.
“But I’ve always carried the belief that it’s all a form of collaboration from the very start. It’s not my fault if I get all the credit. I always try to make sure people know Clive Langer wrote the music for Shipbuilding, for example. I don’t say it every night, but it is important to say it, because I’d be up there reciting something if it wasn’t for that great tune.”

Musical nerds?
Costello and The Roots’ paths were probably always destined to cross. Both parties are musical scholars of encyclopedic knowledge, and many have called them musical nerds, although Costello bristles at the description.
“I know Questlove and The Roots are quite self-deprecating about it, but I think ‘nerd’ is such a reductive word. Did they say Duke Ellington was a music nerd because of the range of music that he played? I don’t think you would have said that of him.
“In a world where we have collective mentality and we have a history of every music, from hip hop to rock’n’roll to classical, things have significances that are extramusical in a cultural way, and I think that’s why it’s remarked upon.”
Wise Up Ghost fits neatly into Costello’s back pages, because it’s another record you never expected him to make. He likes the element of surprise – “I think this sounds like me a lot, in fact” – and he particularly likes the idea of not repeating himself.
“The one record I’ve steered away from doing, and have no intention of doing self-consciously, is the dreaded back-to-basics one. It’s a terrible idea. Go into a garage and go back to real values? What are the real values? We were trying to make the best record we could when we did This Year’s Model. If we couldn’t play like the London Philharmonic Orchestra, that was because that was as good as we could play. And it was pretty f***ing good.”
As always with Costello, Wise Up Ghost is just one plate spinning in the air. Plans are afoot to revisit Painted from Memory, his 1998 album with Bacharach. The American producer Chuck Lorre “has had a 10-year long ambition to turn Painted from Memory into a stage musical. I said to him, ‘Really? That’s fairly intense, melancholic stuff. What’s it going to be like? Is it going to be Virginia Woolf?’ Steven Sater, who wrote Spring Awakening, is collaborating,” he says, referring to the lyricist who adapted Frank Wedekind’s play for the stage, “and there’s a very noble director we’re hoping to work with.”
A book is also in the works. “I started it because my dad got sick, and it came out of conversations I had with him as I watched him disappearing. Some of it felt therapeutic for him to talk about the past, because when people’s memories start to go they can gather their wits about old events. We had some wonderful conversations. We didn’t live together for large portions of my youth, so it was good to talk about a lot of things. There wasn’t any psychological stuff to sort out, just talk.
“I started to write and discovered after he passed away that there were lots more documents about my grandfather, who was also a musician. I thought there was a good story in examining why do we travel like this and our views of music. It’s funny doing the record with Quest and realising that both of our fathers were involved in music. It does give you a slightly different view of things. It takes away some of the mystery, but you can also see how it can be turned into a magical thing in a split second.”
All those plates keep spinning. “It’s difficult when you’re balancing all these things,” Costello says. “You’ve got the shows with the wheel, you’ve got this record, you’ve got Burt calling at night, looking for lyrics for the musical, and I think The Imposters are playing the best shows of their career.”
The work ethic that drives him, he says, comes back to family. “My mother’s father was a solid Protestant working-class man from Liverpool. If you looked at ‘Protestant work ethic’ in the dictionary, Jim Ablett’s picture is there. So I’ve a little bit of that in there. It’s in the blood. I can’t do anything about it.”

taramasalata
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby taramasalata » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:26 am

I have to say that my only frustration is that he could have sampled some material from When I was Cruel (unless I missed something). Specially "Spooky Girlfriend". I mean, why not let Questlove turn it into the R&B song it was always meant to be?


Fully agree with you, Nathasha, I always thought the same of "Spooky Girlfriend" and loved WIWC, albeit some weaker parts, for its bass-laden, rhythmic R&B backbone. Actually I also imagined "Spooky Girlfriend" being covered and reworked in a Salsa version, rather in the style of Salsa romantica. The contrast of the sarcastic story being sung in a bit tacky way à la Jerry Rivera also appealed to me, at least the idea of it.
Don't get me wrong, I DEFINITELY do not think EC of being the salsero himself! But Questlove and he demonstrate with the formely rather unthinkable WISE UP GHOST in an impressive way what rhythmic potential lies in his songs and his vocals.
But what's most surprising to me regarding their sampling technique and to what you also hint at, Natasha, is the stunning fact that, except maybe for "Pills and soap", they didn't sample the rather obvious sounds but the ones you would have never thought of! Just to think of two samples of NORTH! And what they made out of it in the fantastic odd "Wise up ghost" title song is just amazing: Mixing the string part of "Can you be true" with that, like some of you labelled it precisely, "Brian May" guitar part is pure genius!
And already at first listen one knows that "Tripwire" definitely has already become a new all time EC classic.

I do hope that the label "Number one" on the record sleeve is a promise to become true in the times to come.

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Otis Westinghouse
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:28 am

PFM The musical! have we had mention of that before. I can just see Anne Hathaway doing a killer The House Is Empty Now, etc.
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jardine
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby jardine » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:00 am

Ok, finally had a chance to sit down and listen end to end. Short answer: brilliant, consistent, coherent, and as some have said, like listening to one long, dark, cultural lament, disturbing, evocative lyrics full of a sense of menace and regret, great, unstrained vocals (such that when those strains come in "If I Could Believe," they are heartbreaking). I love this thing, and I'm so glad that he seems to have shaken off or incorporated the last couple of years of hesitation, disappointment and mourning and produced something quite beautiful.

Top shelf. Part of me doesn't want to hear the remaining three songs. the way it is set up now with the title song and then IICB...amazing.

Oh, and can anyone hear what is whispered right at the end of If I Could Believe, right after the orchestral skidding to as halt...?

cwr
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby cwr » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:21 am

It sounds like "THAT was the take."

And I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it might be the voice of co-producer Steven Mandel.

I could be wrong about both of these things.

Neil.
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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby Neil. » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:59 am

Aha, I think you're right. I thought at first he said "that was the tape" - but I think your guess is probably right.

Regarding the extra tracks on the deluxe edition - yeah, I think the flow of the album is perfect. They should've had the extra tracks as download only. But I guess we'll find out when the deluxe version arrives.

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Re: New album for 2013: "Wise Up Ghost" (with The Roots!)

Postby frank » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:15 am

If I could believe... all this useless beauty....


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