Elvis Costello is back, ladies and gentlemen, and he's ready to grab you with his sarcastic lyrics and his uncanny talent for putting together an array of musical pieces.
Costello is a cryptic lyricist and musical genius whose style has withstood the test of time. His extraordinary approach to music encompasses jazz, folk and pop.
Spike, Costello's newest album, contains the above facets and more, with the help of the entourage of musicians who accompany him. Without these fine musicians, the album wouldn't have the tenacity that it does.
Appearing on the album. to name a few, are: Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), T Bone Burnett, Cait O'Riordan (bassist and singer for the Pogues and beloved wife to Costello), The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Chrissy Hynde (The Pretenders), Paul McCartney and Pete Thomas (The Attractions).
"Veronica," composed in part by Paul McCartney, made its debut on MTV. It is one of the album's pop-type beat songs. The song on the album differs from the video's version in that Costello's voice has been dubbed in on the video, overlapping the album's.
For those who liked the Punch the Clock album for its upbeat tempo, it will be easy to recognize similarities, not only in 'Veronica." but also in "Miss Macbeth: Both songs carry a heavy lyrical meaning which contradicts the tempo.
Costello is famous for this style and, unfortunately, it might cause some to overlook his brilliance as a songwriter.
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band accentuates the jazz undertones on several other tracks on the album, including "Stalin Malone." This is the album's only instrumental, and, oddly enough, contains lyrics on the CD sleeve.
The album is, lyrically speaking, as ambiguous as ever, and Costello, as usual, doesn't hold back his religious, philosophical and political innuendos. He has combined powerful lyrics with a wide assortment of instruments to produce a compelling and complete album. Spike is definitely one of Elvis Costello's finest creations.