High Fidelity, March 1986

From The Elvis Costello Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
... Bibliography ...
7475761977787980
8182838485868788
8990919293949596
9798990001020304
0506070809101112
13141516171819 20


High Fidelity

US music magazines

-

The Best Of Elvis Costello & The Attractions


Ken Tucker

Twenty-two videos for about a buck apiece, and as the ads say, "Many never before seen on MTV." When you combine this with the fact that the featured artist is probably the most interesting rock star of the past decade, The Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions is a bargain, a must-have, a major event. Or maybe I feel this way only because the music is so damn great. You could play "Oliver's Army" behind Duran Duran's "Girls on Film" video and it would still be a moving experience. (Actually, I suppose "Pump It Up" would make better accompaniment for "Girls on Film.")

Over the course of these chronologically shuffled videos, Costello shifts back and forth between his early-period, pigeon-toed Avenging Dork persona and his latter-day, intellectual Smoothie Crooner image. Apparently it's hard to find a visual equivalent to his knotty language. In fact, the best-known directors — Chuck Staler, Allen Arkush — fare worst, coming up with literal-minded stuff that attempts to locate plot lines in Costello's convoluted, punning scenarios. Pop music is supposed to be so primitive, so simple-minded, yet this cassette proves you can't reduce it to High Concept.

Only once do form and content coincide. In 1983's "I Wanna Be Loved" (director's credit to "The Rich Kids"), Costello stares glumly at the camera as a tape of the song is played. Very occasionally, he half-heartedly sings along with himself for a line or two; it's as if we've caught him listening to an unseen radio. But as he stares at us balefully, various people enter the frame to give him quick kisses on the cheek. Costello never turns to look at them — all sorts of men, women, and children — as they peck and vanish. He just groans "I wanna be loved" once in a while. I never liked the song until I saw this clip. Its effect is extraordinary: desolating, scary, and witty all at the same time, precisely what Costello achieves on his best records. Too bad he never made a video for "Alison."

-

High Fidelity, March 1986


Ken Tucker reviews The Best Of Elvis Costello & The Attractions.

Images

1986-03-00 High Fidelity page 72.jpg
Page scan.

1986-03-00 High Fidelity cover.jpg 1986-03-00 High Fidelity page 03.jpg
Cover and contents page.

-



Back to top

External links