We're lucky to have this album in so many ways.
Elvis Costello canceled a handful of tour dates in July to deal with a potentially serious health scare (the problem was eradicated with a simple surgical procedure). In 2010, he declared that he didn't plan to make any more studio albums (he made one, Wise Up Ghost, three years later).
But mostly because Look Now finds the eternally progressive Rock and Roll Hall of Fame songwriter looking back on two of his finest recordings for inspiration — 1982's Imperial Bedroom and 1998's joint release with Burt Bacharach, Painted From Memory.
The result is a sumptuous, soulful set of songs that captures Costello, 64, revitalized: the slyly funky "Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter," which was co-authored with Carole King; the elegiac "Photographs Can Lie," one of two new Bacharach collaborations; and the shimmering ballad "Stripping Paper," which manages to bring fresh poetry to an age-old tale of heartbreak.
Even with a handful of mid-tempo misfires, it feels like a gift from an old friend.