People, September 27, 2004

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The Delivery Man / Il Sogno

Elvis Costello

Picks and Pans

Warning: This review maybe outdated by the time you finish it. In that time span, Elvis could drop three more albums and an opera. This summer, he appeared in one film (De-Lovely), perhaps inspired the title of another (Napoleon Dynamite, an alias he once used in liner notes) and reissued three old discs, each of them with a sparkling trove of bonus material longer than the original record. Oh, and he's going strong on these two unrelated, indeed opposite, new CDs.

The Delivery Man breaks Costello's string of theme albums to race through a mad decathlon of genres, including a smoking country rocker (the Lucinda Williams duet "There's a Story in Your Voice," his coolest track in years), a soulful torch song ("Either Side of the Same Town"), New Wave ("Bedlam"), country ballads and spare Celtic folk. Costello showed disturbing symptoms of emotion on his last disc, North, but it's touching to hear him return to the vicious smackdowns of his brutal youth: "Liars like you are ten a penny / Women would slap you, if you knew any."

Just to prove he can do anything, Costello lays a carpet of petals with his beautiful orchestral album Il Sogno (The Dream), originally written for a ballet adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The mood alternates between childlike wonder set to strings and strutting, brassy triumph, recalling the work of film composer John Williams. Somebody shoot a movie around this.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "There's a Story in Your Voice"

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People, September 27, 2004

Picks and Pans reviews The Delivery Man and Il Sogno.


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