Costello Country

This face has started popping up about the place again. It can only mean one thing; Elvis Costello has a new album out. True enough National Ransom came out this week and, as a long-standing fan, that makes me happy. I haven’t even bought the album yet but have listened to the first eight or so tracks on Spotify.

I pretty much love everything that this man does so I was never going to be the harshest critic. Having said that, I don’t think I’m typical of Costello fans in that I actually prefer it when he goes off on his legendary tangents into various musical genres such as classical, punk, opera, jazz and soul. Currently he’s in country… country. This album, as was the previous one, is firmly rooted in the country tradition. I’m not at all into country music but that doesn’t matter because everything EC does is always intelligent, thoughtful and sort of… a bit spiky. Because he brings this tinge of rawness to everything, he can work in any genre without it seeming cheap or cheesy. Like when he did that easy listening album with Burt Bacharach (Painted From Memory); those songs could have veered dangerously close to being elevator music if it weren’t for Elvis‘s acidic addendum.

Its too soon to form an opinion on this latest album (I haven’t even listened to it right through yet!) but so far I would have to say; yay its an EC record so its automatically superior to much of the other stuff out there; bah its not sounding like one of my favourites yet; yay there’s a couple of possible growers amongst the tracks I’ve heard so far; yay its an Elvis Costello album!! National Ransom touches on some issues of crisis and chaos that are very relevant in the world at the moment so in that sense it is very timely. But I just think its always the right time for an EC record.


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