Review of North
- Dave Simpson
Elvis Costello, North
4 stars (Deutsche Grammophon)
Friday September 12, 2003
Long-time Costello watchers who welcomed the return of the old bile-spewing
Elvis with last year's When I Was Cruel will be spitting with rage at
It's an album of crooned love songs in a similar orchestrated style
to Nat King Cole. However, from 1981's country Almost Blue to 1999's
Burt Bacharach collaboration, Painted From Memory, Elvis has constantly
confounded his own followers' expectations.
These 11 songs loosely document the breakup of his marriage to ex-punk
Cait O'Riordan and engagement to jazz sophisticate Diana Krall, from
dark despondency towards what initially sounds like cloying sentimentality.
The 48-year-old singer seems as alarmed as anybody, lacing the particularly
gooey Let Me Tell You About Her with hilarious lines that debunk the
notion of Costello as lover, not fighter. However, with every play the
album becomes, like love itself, impossible to fight off - an irony
that must amuse the lingering subversive in Costello no end.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers