Mighty Like A Rose Reviews

All-Music Guide (Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Teaming up with producer Mitchell Froom, Costello created his densest, most difficult album with Mighty Like a Rose. Although the songwriting is patchy, the production -- filled with clattering percussion, off-kilter arrangements, angular dissonant guitar -- is what makes the record impenetrable to all but the most devoted fans. There are still pop hooks, particularly on the sunny Beach Boys-style The Other Side Of Summer, Playboy To A Man and the sighing ballads All Grown Up and So Like Candy, but Costello spends most of the album exploring, which means that the melodies are winding and the lyrics are pompous and cryptic. Froom's self-consciously "challenging" production amplifies the weaknesses of the music, turning the record into a claustrophobic and tedious mess.