Dallas Morning News, September 22, 2003

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North

Elvis Costello

Teresa Gubbins

Grade D

Elvis Costello is practically 50, and boy does it ever show on North, a collection of listless piano ballads sufficiently dreary to induce narcolepsy.

Ditching guitar in favor of piano, Mr. Costello moans like a dog, with an occasional segment of horns or strings to "jazz" things up. Minimal arrangements seem intended to make songs such as "You Left Me in the Dark" feel spare and atmospheric; but instead, they're just excruciatingly boring. His arrangement is lousy: He hits the exact same notes as the piano and it comes off as simplistic and deadly dull. And baby, there ain't no tunes here. The tracks, they meander aimlessly. Oh, how painful it all is.

Still, this direction doesn't come as a complete surprise. Forget not that he's engaged to singer-pianist Diana Krall, and also that he recorded "My Funny Valentine" way back in 1979. He's been an old fart at heart forever.

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Dallas Morning News, September 22, 2003


Teresa Gubbins reviews North.


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