Lincoln Journal Star, November 8, 2010

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Lincoln Journal Star

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National Ransom

Elvis Costello

L. Kent Wolgamott

This sprawling, 16-song grab-bag of songs from the prolific Costello lacks anything resembling focus.

Bouncing from buzzing soft psychedelia to country, ballads to jazz, the disc encapsulates Costello's wide-ranging approach — he's made whole records in each of those forms. Because it goes in every direction, National Ransom doesn't connect like his best work. T-Bone Burnett's fuzzy production doesn't help matters, either.

There are some great songs on the disc, including the economic protest song that provides the title and the jazz ballad "A Slow Drag with Josephine," and Costello's literary lyrics remain compelling. But National Ransom, like last year's Secret, Profane and Sugarcane, falls short of his best.

Grade: B-

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Lincoln Journal Star, November 8, 2010


L. Kent Wolgamott reviews National Ransom


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