Review of Painted From Memory
   Jam!, 1998-10-03

Burt, Elvis in tune

By MIKE ROSS -- Express Writer
4.5 out of 5

 Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach
 Buy this for your mom.
 Now that's usually considered a put-down for music too schmaltzy for the tastes of today's youth. But you love your mom, don't you? Sure you do. And if you have a weakness for lush romantic ballads, you can't go wrong. These ones are masterfully created.
 So a British new wave icon meets the writer of Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head?! The pairing isn't as odd as you might think. Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello first collaborated on a heartbreaker called God Give Me Strength, the undisputed highlight of the Grace of My Heart soundtrack album. Elvis figured it would be a swell idea to do a whole album together. He was right. What you (or your mom) will get are 12 beautiful, meticulously orchestrated songs on the subject of love - or more accurately, the lamented loss of same. Vivid lyrics explore every imaginable horror of romance with bracing honesty and sensitivity. What really makes the songs come to life is the interplay between Burt's dramatic, nearly flawless arrangements and Elvis's expressive vocals, vulnerable and raunchy enough to lend a soulful blemish to the perfection.
 Although some moments approach the upper limit of sappiness, there are no weak links. To my ears, this gets better with every spin.