Judging from his recent solo tour, Elvis Costello has been writing some of the strongest material of his career. Costello's next LP — Goodbye Cruel World, due out in June — will include the strongly syncopated "Inch by Inch"; a countryish tune called "The Only Flame in Town," which features backup vocals from Daryl Hall and "Worthless Thing." a barbed assault on MTV (and, seemingly, rockabilly revivalists).
But the tour de force is "Peace in Our Time," wherein Costello ties in everything from Neville Chamberlain to Kraftwerk in a ringing indictment of Ronald Reagan's nuclear policy.
"It's just a song I wanted out right now," he said of his decision to issue it immediately in England (where it's backed by a version of Richard and Linda Thompson's heartbreak classic "Wither and Die"). Costello has also produced a track for Special AKA called "Nelson Mandela" — a tribute to the 65-year-o1d revolutionary of the African National Congress, now in his 22nd year of imprisonment in South Africa.