What does it sound like?:
This is Costello doing what he does best, creating classic pop music filtered through the sixties with lyrics full of wounded characters, lost souls and unrequited love. At various points this album recalls Brutal Youth, Painted From Memory and Imperial Bedroom, which is no bad thing.
Kicking off with Under Lime, a great pop tune with the Imposters in full flow, Costello is suddenly back, not revisiting old glories but showing that his craft is intact, the gift for melody as sure as ever. Three songs here are collaborations with Burt Bacharach and while not quite up to the standards of Painted From Memory it’s great to hear the two of them together again.
But the real meat of the album is Costello’s own songs. Stripping Paper, Unwanted Number, Suspect My Tears and He’s Given Me things are all superb with Costello in fine voice. In fact, to my ears, there isn’t a duff track here. I’ve played this album more times in the last week than I have his last three in the past five years. It’s that good. The sound is full and rich, the songs as good as anything he’s ever written. Look past the abysmal cover art and discover the delights within.
I got the deluxe edition which comes with the four track “Regardez Maintenant” EP (see what he did there?). Costello shows off his French on Adieu Paris. The last two songs, The Final Mrs Curtain and You Shouldn’t Look At Me That Way are as good as anything on the album.
What does it all *mean*?
For those worried that Costello had given up the ghost, lost his mojo and his voice, Look Now is proof positive that he’s still at the top of his game. Yes he may miss a few of the top notes but this is his best album since Painted From Memory. If this does prove to be his last album (and given recent health scares who can say) it’s a hell of a way to go out.
Goes well with…
His entire back catalogue….
Might suit people who like…
Brill Building pop, Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello….