London Guardian, September 12, 2003

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London Guardian

UK & Irish newspapers



Elvis Costello

Dave Simpson


Long-time Costello watchers who welcomed the return of the old bile-spewing Elvis with last year's When I Was Cruel will be spitting with rage at North.

It's an album of crooned love songs in a similar orchestrated style to Nat King Cole. However, from 1981's country Almost Blue to 1999's Burt Bacharach collaboration, Painted From Memory, Elvis has constantly confounded his own followers' expectations.

These 11 songs loosely document the breakup of his marriage to ex-punk Cait O'Riordan and engagement to jazz sophisticate Diana Krall, from dark despondency towards what initially sounds like cloying sentimentality.

The 48-year-old singer seems as alarmed as anybody, lacing the particularly gooey "Let Me Tell You About Her" with hilarious lines that debunk the notion of Costello as lover, not fighter. However, with every play the album becomes, like love itself, impossible to fight off — an irony that must amuse the lingering subversive in Costello no end.


The Guardian, September 12, 2003

Dave Simpson reviews North.


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