CD Review: Elvis Costello


Elvis Costello
Best of: The First Ten Years
Rock and Roll Music
Hip-O/UME
By David Chiu

Although these days Elvis Costello has matured into a sophisticated songwriter and crooner, it was thirty years ago that this bespectacled musician defined the typical angry young DIY rocker. With a superb backing band in the Attractions, Costello wrote magnificent power pop ditties such as “Radio Radio,” “Allison,” “Watching the Detectives,” and “Pump it Up,” which has since become part of the New Wave lexicon—Costello was the ‘it’ boy of that era. In honor of his 30 years in music comes the release of two compilations. The First Ten Years span his peak period from 1977 to 1987, which has already been chronicled before—this is strictly for those who has NEVER owned an Elvis Costello album. Rock and Roll Music is a collection obviously focusing on Costello’s rocking side and consists of mainly album tracks, B-sides and rarities from his late ‘70s and early ‘80s hey day (“Lipstick Vogue,” “Miracle Man,” “Big Tears” and the original version of “Girls Talk,” later recorded by Dave Edmunds). Die-hard Costello-philes will probably look to the previously unreleased demo version of “Welcome to the Working Week” on Rock and Roll Music.

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