"That angry young man" is back with a new release that is sure to make its impression on the world of alternative music.
Elvis Costello's new album Spike is a seeming tongue-in-cheek contribution from our beloved entertainer and a wealth of musicians ranging from Paul McCartney to Crissie Hynde to T-Bone Burnett.
"Costello continues to 'pump it up' in a pop-like style. The album is cool for the most part," affirms sophomore, Caroline Carroll.
In actuality, Spike is a creative endeavor as serious as it is humorous and as complex as it is simple.
Mere rhetoric, right? Well, maybe so, but if you listen to much Elvis Costello you begin to sec a definite musical formula that can only be described as "that type of music that Elvis Costello sings." It is in fact an innovative style of British-influenced rock/country/folk/etc.
After waiting two years from the release of their last album King Of America, many adamant "Elvis" fans feared he would lose that anger that has stood behind many of his more critically acclaimed works. It seems their prayers have been answered.
Spike embraces the depth and breadth of a style that has taken many years to perfect. As of Feb. 24, 1989, Costello's new album has entered the CMJ New Music Report chart at number six. It has been widely acclaimed as an innovative accomplishment worthy of such an artist.
Costello's knack for masking tale of woe with deceptively sweet melodies carries over into such songs as "Let Him Dangle." A tale of blind hatred and inevitable death, this tune moves slowly, languidly in an almost sexy saunter.
On the opposite end of the spectrum lies the first release from Spike entitled "Veronica." It embraces the silly simplicity Costello is often noted for, yet nothing is lost in seeing this work as a sincere descriptive song.
The vocals on this piece, as well as on all of the songs, are distinctly impressive, from the playful bluesy feel of "God's Comic" to the touching ballads which include "Tramp the Dirt Down," a song expressing disgust over the "evils" in the world.
Another tune, "Baby Plays Around," also is a lament over unfaithful lovers and such. Typical Elvis. The harmonizing vocals on "Satellite" are impressively sung by Crissie Hynde. She backs Costello's British sound with that distinctive "Pretenders sound."
Spike expands the already diverse talents of Elvis Costello. With the new album, he pulls together a wide spectrum of rich music and soulful lyrics.