Tulsa World, October 31, 1997

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Extreme Honey:

The Very Best of the Warner Bros. Years

Thomas Conner

I knew this day would come. I've been feeling it coming for a few years. When Costello finally let go of the Attractions and recorded the vaudeville caricature Spike, I felt the first stirrings of fear. When the awful Mighty Like a Rose showed up, I knew it was only a matter of time before I gave up on Costello and resigned myself to his golden past. The arrival of this collection — a forced retrospective of a seminal artist's decline — seals the deal. Costello is officially inconsequential.

Watching Costello's career during the last decade has been like watching the slow, tragic demise of someone with Alzheimer's disease — his mannerisms and occasional quirks still identify him as the same incorrigible popster we grew up with, but he doesn't remember who or where he is most of the time. He produced Brutal Youth, showing that even grumpy old masters can still visit old haunts without being sucked in by nostalgia, but that glimmer of hope was swiftly erased by a reunion with the Attractions for the lifeless and lunk-headed All This Useless Beauty. This collection follows the bumpy road down the other side of the mountain, complete with painful bumps ("Hurry Down Doomsday," "I Want to Vanish") and occasional straightaways ("Kinder Murder"). The one new track — a bitter reaction to a tiff with The Artist/Prince — is a tuneless, disorganized bomb. Would someone just wheel him back to his room, please?

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Tulsa World, October 31, 1997


Thomas Conner reviews Extreme Honey: The Very Best Of The Warner Bros. Years.


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