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Rock - Paru le 22 juillet 1977 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Elvis Costello was as much a pub rocker as he was a punk rocker and nowhere is that more evident than on his debut, My Aim Is True. It's not just that Clover, a San Franciscan rock outfit led by Huey Lewis (absent here), back him here, not the Attractions; it's that his sensibility is borrowed from the pile-driving rock & roll and folksy introspection of pub rockers like Brinsley Schwarz, adding touches of cult singer/songwriters like Randy Newman and David Ackles. Then, there's the infusion of pure nastiness and cynical humor, which is pure Costello. That blend of classicist sensibilities and cleverness make this collection of shiny roots rock a punk record -- it informs his nervy performances and his prickly songs. Of all classic punk debuts, this remains perhaps the most idiosyncratic because it's not cathartic in sound, only in spirit. Which, of course, meant that it could play to a broader audience, and Linda Ronstadt did indeed cover the standout ballad "Alison." Still, there's no mistaking this for anything other than a punk record, and it's a terrific one at that, since even if he buries his singer/songwriter inclinations, they shine through as brightly as his cheerfully mean humor and immense musical skill; he sounds as comfortable with a '50s knockoff like "No Dancing" as he does on the reggae-inflected "Less Than Zero." Costello went on to more ambitious territory fairly quickly, but My Aim Is True is a phenomenal debut, capturing a songwriter and musician whose words were as rich and clever as his music. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 12 octobre 2018 | Concord Records

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Dès son premier album publié en 1977, My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello affichait sa gloutonnerie musicale en mêlant déflagrations pub rock, bifurcations reggae, ballades quasi country et pop songs sculptées avec arpèges cristallins. Un éclectisme qui le fera travailler avec des gens aussi divers que le pape de la country George Jones, le maître de la pop lounge Burt Bacharach, la mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, le guitariste de jazz Bill Frisell ou bien encore les rappeurs de The Roots, pour n’en citer que quelques-uns. Quarante ans plus tard, l’insaisissable Britannique binoclard, friand d’albums-concepts, signe Look Now avec les Imposters, composés de Steve Nieve aux claviers, Davey Faragher à la basse et Pete Thomas, déjà batteur de ses Attractions. Ce groupe avec lequel il avait enregistré Momofuku en 2008 lui permet de mettre une fois de plus en exergue sa plume, aiguisée comme jamais. Plume qu’il partage avec la grande Carole King sur Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter, coécrit un quart de siècle plus tôt, et avec Bacharach sur Photographs Can Lie et Don’t Look Now. On sent surtout un Costello visant une fois de plus la pop song parfaite. Une démarche faisant résonner une approche 60's. Mais l’intemporalité de l’exercice ancre bien le songwriter dans son temps, en 2018. Et Costello réussit à implanter dans le cerveau des mélodies et des paroles faites pour durer. Une bonne chanson, c’est bien connu, n’a pas d’âge et Elvis Costello le rappelle ici brillamment… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 2007 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Rock - Paru le 22 juillet 1977 | UMe - Elvis Costello

Distinctions Discothèque Idéale Qobuz
Elvis Costello was as much a pub rocker as he was a punk rocker and nowhere is that more evident than on his debut, My Aim Is True. It's not just that Clover, a San Franciscan rock outfit led by Huey Lewis (absent here), back him here, not the Attractions; it's that his sensibility is borrowed from the pile-driving rock & roll and folksy introspection of pub rockers like Brinsley Schwarz, adding touches of cult singer/songwriters like Randy Newman and David Ackles. Then, there's the infusion of pure nastiness and cynical humor, which is pure Costello. That blend of classicist sensibilities and cleverness make this collection of shiny roots rock a punk record -- it informs his nervy performances and his prickly songs. Of all classic punk debuts, this remains perhaps the most idiosyncratic because it's not cathartic in sound, only in spirit. Which, of course, meant that it could play to a broader audience, and Linda Ronstadt did indeed cover the standout ballad "Alison." Still, there's no mistaking this for anything other than a punk record, and it's a terrific one at that, since even if he buries his singer/songwriter inclinations, they shine through as brightly as his cheerfully mean humor and immense musical skill; he sounds as comfortable with a '50s knockoff like "No Dancing" as he does on the reggae-inflected "Less Than Zero." Costello went on to more ambitious territory fairly quickly, but My Aim Is True is a phenomenal debut, capturing a songwriter and musician whose words were as rich and clever as his music. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Paru le 1 janvier 1981 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Following the frenzied pop-soul of Get Happy!!, Elvis Costello & the Attractions quickly returned to the studio and recorded Trust, their most ambitious and eclectic album to date. As if he were proving his stylistic diversity and sophistication after the concentrated genre experiment of Get Happy!!, Costello assembled Trust as a stylistic tour de force, packing the record with a wild array of material. "Clubland" has jazzy flourishes, "Lovers' Walk" rolls to a Bo Diddley beat, "Luxembourg" is rockabilly redux, "Watch Your Step" is soul-pop, "From a Whisper to a Scream" rocks as hard as anything since This Year's Model, "Shot with His Own Gun" is Tin Pan Alley pop, "Different Finger" is the first country song he put on an official album, and that's not even counting highlights like "New Lace Sleeves" and "White Knuckles," which essentially stick to Costello's signature pop, but offer more complex arrangements and musicianship than before. In fact, both "complexity" and "sophistication" are keywords to the success of Trust -- without delving into the minutely textured arrangements that would dominate his next pop album, Imperial Bedroom -- Costello & the Attractions demonstrate their musical skill and savvy by essentially sticking to the direct sound of their four-piece band. In the process, they recorded, arguably, their most impressive album, one that demonstrates all sides of Costello's songwriting and performing personality without succumbing to pretentiousness. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 30 octobre 2020 | Concord Records

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Vingt-cinq albums personnels après ses débuts tonitruants, qui aurait pensé que le jeune homme en colère de 1977 serait devenu un auteur-compositeur respecté au possible et fort d'une discographie des plus variées ? Ses galons hautement gagnés, le musicien qui a publié ses mémoires en 2015 sous le titre Musique infidèle et encre invisible ressort cinq ans plus tard des studios avec l'album solo Hey Clockface, après un opus en groupe avec The Imposters couronné par un Grammy Award, Look Now (2018).Après l'entrée en matière la plus déroutante et originale de sa carrière, « Revolution #49 », se présentant sous la forme d'une harmonie orientale couverte de flûtes, de cordes et agrémentée d'un message pacifique, le titre « No Flag » remet les pendules à l'heure du rock alternatif, tandis que son auteur retrouve les accès de nervosité qui ont établi sa réputation. Si la suite se révèle d'une veine tout aussi identifiable, c'est sur le terrain de la ballade que se jouent « They're Not Laughing at Me Now », « Newspaper Pane » et « I Do (Zula's Song) ». Durant ce qui forme le cœur de Hey Clockface, l'interprète de « She » sort sa plus belle voix fragile, accompagnée par un petit orchestre traditionnel (guitare, piano, trompette, violoncelle), dans une tonalité des plus mélancoliques. Alors que la sélection de quatorze pistes semble jouée dans cet esprit classique, c'est un détour vers le jazz rétro enjoué que le morceau-titre « Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me? » propose. Sur sa lancée, le bonimenteur sort de son chapeau d'autres facettes : celle du pianiste saisi dans son intimité nocturne (« The Whirlwind » et le magnifique « The Last Confession of Vivian Ship »), celle du déclamateur sur fond de beatbox (« Hetty O'Hara Confidential »), ou la casquette du conteur radiophonique (« Radio Is Everything »). En musicien aguerri, Elvis Costello rassemble les pièces de son puzzle sous un angle nostalgique et rétro et parvient à surprendre sans ajouter d'autres atouts que son expérience. L'exercice contentera surtout son public le plus assidu. © ©Copyright Music Story 2021
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Pop - Paru le 17 mars 1978 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Where My Aim Is True implied punk rock with its lyrics and stripped-down production, This Year's Model sounds like punk. Not that Elvis Costello's songwriting has changed -- This Year's Model is comprised largely of leftovers from My Aim Is True and songs written on the road. It's the music that changed. After releasing My Aim Is True, Costello assembled a backing band called the Attractions, which were considerably tougher and wilder than Clover, who played on his debut. The Attractions were a rock & roll band, which gives This Year's Model a reckless, careening feel. It's nervous, amphetamine-fueled, nearly paranoid music -- the group sounds like they're spinning out of control as soon as they crash in on the brief opener, "No Action," and they never get completely back on track, even on the slower numbers. Costello and the Attractions speed through This Year's Model at a blinding pace, which gives his songs -- which were already meaner than the set on My Aim Is True -- a nastier edge. "Lipstick Vogue," "Pump It Up," and "(I Don't Want to Go To) Chelsea" are all underscored with sexual menace, while "Night Rally" touches on a bizarre fascination with fascism that would blossom on his next album, Armed Forces. Even the songs that sound relatively lighthearted -- "Hand in Hand," "Little Triggers," "Lip Service," "Living in Paradise" -- are all edgy, thanks to Costello's breathless vocals, Steve Nieve's carnival-esque organ riffs, and Nick Lowe's bare-bones production. Of course, the songs on This Year's Model are typically catchy and help the vicious sentiments sink into your skin, but the most remarkable thing about the album is the sound -- Costello and the Attractions never rocked this hard, or this vengefully, ever again. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Musiques du monde - Paru le 10 septembre 2021 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Pop - Paru le 2 juillet 1982 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Having gotten country out of his system with Almost Blue, Elvis Costello returned to pop music with Imperial Bedroom -- and it was pop in the classic, Tin Pan Alley sense. Costello chose to hire Geoff Emerick, who engineered all of the Beatles' most ambitious records, to produce Imperial Bedroom, which indicates what it sounds like -- it's traditional pop with a post-Sgt. Pepper production. Essentially, the songs on Imperial Bedroom are an extension of Costello's jazz and pop infatuations on Trust. Costello's music is complex and intricate, yet it flows so smoothly, it's easy to miss the bitter, brutal lyrics. The interweaving layers of "Beyond Belief" and the whirlwind intro are the most overtly dark sounds on the record, with most of the album given over to the orchestrated, melancholy torch songs and pop singles. Never once do Costello & the Attractions deliver a rock & roll song -- the album is all about sonic detail, from the accordion on "The Long Honeymoon" to the lilting strings on "Town Cryer." Of course, the detail and the ornate arrangements immediately peg Imperial Bedroom as Costello's most ambitious album, but that doesn't mean it's his absolute masterpiece. Imperial Bedroom remains one of Costello's essential records because it is the culmination of his ambitions and desires -- it's where he proves that he can play with the big boys, both as a songwriter and a record-maker. It may not have been a commercial blockbuster, but it certainly earned the respect of legions of musicians and critics who would have previously disdained such a punk rocker. And, perhaps, that's also the reason that he abandoned this immaculately crafted style of work on his next album, Punch the Clock. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Paru le 1 janvier 1998 | Island Mercury

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Pop - Paru le 15 février 1980 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Get Happy!! was born as much from sincere love for soul as it was for Elvis Costello's desire to distance himself from an unfortunate verbal faux pas where he insulted Ray Charles in an attempt to get Stephen Stills' goat. Either way, it resulted in a 20-song blue-eyed soul tour de force, where Costello doesn't just want to prove his love, he wants to prove his knowledge. So, he tries everything, starting with Motown and Northern soul, then touching on smooth uptown ballads and gritty Southern soul, even finding common ground between the two by recasting Sam & Dave's "I Can't Stand Up (For Falling Down)" as a careening stomper. What's remarkable is that this approach dovetails with the pop carnival essayed by Armed Forces, standing as a full-fledged Costello record instead of a genre exercise. As it furiously flits through 20 songs, Costello's cynicisms, rage, humor, and misanthropic sensibility gel remarkably well. Some songs may not quite hit their targets, but that's part of the album's charm -- it moves so fast that its lesser songs rush by on the way to such full-fledged masterpieces as "New Amsterdam," "High Fidelity," and "Riot Act." Get Happy!! bursts with energy and invention, standing as a testament to how Costello, the pop encyclopedia, can reinvent the past in his own image. [The Japanese edition includes bonus material.] © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 2012 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 2007 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Rock - Paru le 21 février 1986 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Stripping away much of the excess that cluttered Punch the Clock and Goodbye Cruel World, Elvis Costello returned to his folk-rock and pub rock roots with King of America, creating one of his most affecting and personal records. Costello literally took on the album as a return to roots, billing himself by his given name Declan MacManus and replacing the Attractions with a bunch of L.A. session men (although his old band appears on one cut), who give the album a rootsy but sleek veneer that sounds remarkably charged after the polished affectations of his Langer/Winstanley productions. And not only does the music sound alive, but so do his songs, arguably his best overall set since Trust. Working inside the limits of country, folk, and blues, Costello writes literate, introspective tales of loss, heartbreak, and America that are surprisingly moving -- he rarely got better than "Brilliant Mistake," "Glitter Gulch," "American Without Tears," "Big Light," and "Indoor Fireworks." What separates King of America from the underrated Almost Blue is that Costello's country now sounds lived-in and worn, bringing a new emotional depth to the music, and that helps make it one of his masterpieces. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Paru le 1 janvier 1981 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Following the frenzied pop-soul of Get Happy!!, Elvis Costello & the Attractions quickly returned to the studio and recorded Trust, their most ambitious and eclectic album to date. As if he were proving his stylistic diversity and sophistication after the concentrated genre experiment of Get Happy!!, Costello assembled Trust as a stylistic tour de force, packing the record with a wild array of material. "Clubland" has jazzy flourishes, "Lovers' Walk" rolls to a Bo Diddley beat, "Luxembourg" is rockabilly redux, "Watch Your Step" is soul-pop, "From a Whisper to a Scream" rocks as hard as anything since This Year's Model, "Shot with His Own Gun" is Tin Pan Alley pop, "Different Finger" is the first country song he put on an official album, and that's not even counting highlights like "New Lace Sleeves" and "White Knuckles," which essentially stick to Costello's signature pop, but offer more complex arrangements and musicianship than before. In fact, both "complexity" and "sophistication" are keywords to the success of Trust -- without delving into the minutely textured arrangements that would dominate his next pop album, Imperial Bedroom -- Costello & the Attractions demonstrate their musical skill and savvy by essentially sticking to the direct sound of their four-piece band. In the process, they recorded, arguably, their most impressive album, one that demonstrates all sides of Costello's songwriting and performing personality without succumbing to pretentiousness. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 5 août 1983 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Perhaps frustrated by the lack of commercial success Imperial Bedroom encountered, Elvis Costello enlisted British hitmakers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley to produce its follow-up, Punch the Clock. The difference between the two records is immediately noticeable. Punch the Clock has a slick, glossy surface, complete with layered synthesizers, horns, studio effects, and the backup vocals of Afrodiziak. The approach isn't necessarily a misguided one, since Costello is as much a pop musician as he is a singer/songwriter and many of the best moments on the record -- "Everyday I Write the Book," "Let Them All Talk" -- work well as shiny pop singles. However, the problem with Punch the Clock is that Costello is entering a fallow songwriting period; it is his least consistent set of original songs to date. The best moments, the antiwar ballad "Shipbuilding" and the eerie pseudo-rap "Pills and Soap," are as articulate and effective as any of his past work, but frequently Costello falls short of meeting his standards, particularly when he's trying to write a song in the style of his older songs. Nevertheless, the sheen of the Langer and Winstanley production makes Punch the Clock a pleasurable listen. Costello's uneven writing means that only portions of the album are memorable. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 17 mars 1978 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Pop - Paru le 23 octobre 1981 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Elvis Costello's "country record" is usually written off as a vanity project, but Almost Blue is quite a bit more than that. It's one of the most entertaining cover records in rock & roll, simply because of its enthusiasm. The album begins with a roaring version of Hank Williams' "Why Don't You Love Me" and doesn't stop. Costello sings with conviction on the tear-jerking ballads, as well as on barn burners like "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down." It's clear that Costello knows this music, and it's also clear who he learned it from: Gram Parsons. Costello covers Parsons' "Hot Burrito No. 1" and "How Much I Lied," and all of the music on Almost Blue recalls Parsons' taste for hardcore honky tonk and weepy ballads. It's to Costello's credit that he made a record relying on emotion to pay tribute. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Paru le 15 septembre 1986 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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Elvis Costello returned to the Attractions as quickly as he abandoned them, hiring the band and old producer Nick Lowe to record Blood & Chocolate, his second record in the span of one year. Where King of America was a stripped-down roots rock affair, Blood & Chocolate is a return to the harder rock of This Year's Model. Occasionally, there are hints of country and folk, but the majority of the album is straight-ahead rock & roll: the opener, "Uncomplicated," only has two chords. The main difference between the reunion and the Attractions' earlier work is the tone -- This Year's Model was tense and out of control, whereas Blood & Chocolate is controlled viciousness. "Tokyo Storm Warning," "I Hope You're Happy Now," and "I Want You" are the nastiest songs he has ever recorded, both lyrically and musically -- Costello snarls the lyrics and the Attractions bash out the chords. Blood & Chocolate doesn't retain that high level of energy throughout the record, however, and loses momentum toward the end of the album. Still, it's a lively and frequently compelling reunion, even if it is a rather mean-spirited one. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 5 janvier 1979 | UMe - Elvis Costello

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L'interprète

Elvis Costello dans le magazine