Rome News-Tribune, October 11, 2003

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Costello releases quiet album
about falling out of, then in love


David Bauder

NEW YORK — After recording rock and country, soul and pop. punk and classical over the course of a dizzying 25-year career, it's a wonder Elvis Costello could find a musical style he hasn't delved into before.

Yet here comes North, a quiet album of jazz-inflected ballads that marry some of Costello's most heartfelt, direct lyrics with harmonically complex music.

It's a song cycle about falling out of love, then in again — a disc to take you from late at night into the dawn. It may reflect his own life; he recently split with his wife and became engaged to singer Diana Krall. Or it may not; Costello dislikes talking about it.

Costello, a favorite of David Letterman's, talked about his music backstage while awaiting an appearance on the Late Show.


How was writing this album different from any other one that you've experienced?

Some records you accumulate songs over a period of time. With this, I was just writing songs that came to me and demanded my attention. The odd thing about this record is it was so different from the music I was currently playing. I was on the road with the Imposters doing a rock 'n' roll show, doing the When I Was Cruel songs. I came off the stage and sometimes found a piano in the dress room or had an electronic keyboard in my hotel room.

It's inevitable that many people will listen to this and believe you're writing about your own romantic life. To what extent is that true?

I know that all the ideas of the songs are grounded in reality, or my view of it. But they're not a literal recitation of life. That would be tedious. There are details on these things, there are no distortions or evasions, [but] I don't think it does any good or makes the record sound any better to know if it's my life or not. It's as good as the record is, which I think is very good. Somebody on the other side of the world that doesn't have such a morbid fascination with people's lives who happen to be musicians will hear the record and it will either move them or it won't.

What I took from this album, ultimately, is the renewing and rejuvenating power of life. Is that a feeling you hope listeners take with them?

I think it's a very positive record. It begins in a very bleak mood and fairly rapidly it changes from that. The first half of the record is more doleful and full of bewilderment and that is all about love coming to you, and it's not being necessarily easy for you to accept or even to recognize it. There are moments of humor, even in the first couple of songs.

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Rome News-Tribune, October 11, 2003


David Bauder interviews Elvis Costello about North.

Images

2003-10-11 Rome News-Tribune page 8B clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

2003-10-11 Rome News-Tribune page 8B.jpg
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