After a short absence from the music scene, Elvis Costello is back with King of America, a musically appealing and lyrically fascinating album that should cause fans to say "knew it all the time" and new listeners to say "hey, this guy's good."
Coming after his last hit "I Write the Book" and some work as a producer, Costello, sporting a new look of full beard and mustache gives King many sounds from Americana and is appealing, but the music is seconded by the lyrics.
These lyrics tell the story of an Englishman looking at slices of American life through honest eyes. They range from biting and satiric to melancholic and haunting. I asked recently where all the songwriters went. Well, I have found at least one.
From "Brilliant Mistake" ("She said that she was working for the ABC news / It was all of the alphabet she knew how to use"), to "Indoor Fireworks" ("I'll build a bonfire of my dreams / And burn a broken effigy of me and you") to "Little Palaces" ("So you knock the kids around a bit / Because they have your name") to his cover of Eric Burdon and the Animals' classic "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," this is the Costello album everyone should take a listen to.