USC Daily Trojan, August 28, 1984

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Goodbye Cruel World

Elvis Costello

Chris Willman

Don't be so sure Elvis isn't angry anymore; he's just cloaked that bitterness in an ever-increasing curtain of wordplay and thick arrangements. But the thickness has become downright impenetrable on most of his tenth and most disappointing LP. The horns that gave the punch to Punch the Clock are mostly absent, and the absence of former pianist Steve Nieve has left its toll. The lyrical obscurity that used to be tantalizing is now just maddening, though the sketches of desperate domestic life — "The Comedians," "Joe Porterhouse," "Home Truth" and "Room Without a Number" — still pack a clever wallop. Even Costello's weakest stuff, it should be pointed out, beats the best that almost anyone else in pop has to offer.

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The Daily Trojan, August 28, 1984


Chris Willman reviews Goodbye Cruel World.


Willman also reports on the Elvis Costello and T Bone Burnett concert, Tuesday, May 1, 1984, Universal Amphitheatre, Universal City, CA.

Images

1984-08-28 USC Daily Trojan clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.


Elvis Costello and T-Bone Burnett


Chris Willman

Extract:

1984-08-28 USC Daily Trojan clipping 02.jpg

So maybe it was technically spring, but the early May appearance of Elvis Costello and T-Bone Burnett, both solo and acoustic, at the Amphitheatre was an unbeatable way to start the summer for students during finals week. Costello's lone renditions of such new songs as "The Only Flame in Town" and "Inch by Inch" preceded — and ultimately overshadowed — their fully-arranged versions on the new album, and the duets with John Hiatt (on his "She Loves the Jerk") and the wry-as-always Burnett were moments to treasure (and bootleg — thank heaven for tiny tape recorders).

Costello's cover versions of such country standards as "Ragged But Right" and "She Thinks I Still Care" went over particularly well here in L.A., the cow-punk capital of the country.


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