Lakeland Ledger, December 4, 1981

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Lakeland Ledger

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Almost Blue

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Anne Hurley

You read right — new wave's cranky prankster makes a country album. But, with the very notable exception of Side 1's opener, a frenzied cover of Hank Williams' "Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used to Do." Costello's finally bitten off far more than he can chew. His past successes have relied on acidic lyrics and quirky guitar licks, with vocals something of an afterthought. Here Costello tries to make it as a crooner, and his voice doesn't have the strength or quality to pull it off. His cracking voice sounds like so much lounge-lizardry ("A Good Year for the Roses," "Success"), eclipsing the valiant efforts of his band. Several Gram Parsons tunes, such as "Sweet Dreams" and "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down," echo the quavering vulnerability of the late Burrito Brother, but Costello's hard-bitten overtones shut out any sympathy a listener might lend. On the other hand, "Why Don't You Love Me" is desperately dynamic — which is what Elvis Costello does best.

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The Ledger, December 4, 1981


Anne Hurley reviews Almost Blue.

Images

1981-12-04 Lakeland Ledger clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

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