Alternative Press, August 1996

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Alternative Press

US music magazines


All This Useless Beauty

Elvis Costello

Chris Nickson

Once upon a time, long ago, over the big blue sea, there lived an angry young man who eased his pain by writing songs. All the venom that was inside him came out through his pen. The people loved his wordy, acerbic wit and lauded his talent, calling him Emperor Costello. But after a while, when the angry young man found fame and fortune, he discovered he wasn't angry anymore, and that his muse had deserted him for someone who was really pissed off. Rather than giving up, he continued to make records, becoming a "mature talent," not to mention paunchy. There were the occasional flashes of brilliance, but more often than not, the formerly angry young man couldn't grasp any focus in his work. In 1996 he released yet another album, hoping that this might be the one to return him to attention. But it wasn't. It had plenty of words but very little melody (except for the one he liberally borrowed from the Byrds for "You Bowed Down"), and not much in the way of choruses and hooks. Still, the emperor paraded his record in the streets, and a number of scribes bowed down in praise. Until one little boy, who was no better than he should have been, said, "The Emperor's record is a load of crap." And the scribes stood and stared, and proceeded to write scathing reviews.

Rated 1 finger


Alternative Press, No. 97, August 1996

Chris Nickson reviews All This Useless Beauty. (Page 72.)


1996-08-00 Alternative Press cover.jpg


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