First off, this is not really a new album. It is a collection of B-sides, English releases, and some previously unreleased cuts. Costello will have an album of new songs around January and a U.S. tour.
Many times compilation records are only for die hard fans who would kill their own mother for a recording of their idol spitting in a toilet. However, this album is more than that.
Two things make Taking Liberties worthwhile. One is the number of cuts, 20 on a single record. The other is the variety, some go all the way back to when he started. So with that many different types of songs there's got to be at least one good album's worth of material.
Elvis puts on a number of faces through the disc. In "Radio Sweetheart" we find Costello convincingly playing the country boy (This track has been getting good exposure on some local stations). Then switching to the rhythm & blues of "Getting Mighty Crowded" Elvis earns a pair of ray-ban sunglasses (Ask Jake and Elwood). Turning again we find him doing a cover of "My Funny Valentine," a tender insult song.
The other cuts are more typical Costello music. My favorite is the previously unreleased "Hoover Factory" in which he contemplates life and a vacuum factory, "Five miles out of London on the Western Avenue / Must of been a wonder when it was brand new / Talking 'bout the splendor of the Hoover factory / Know that you'd agree if you' d seen it too / It's not a matter of life or death / But what is? / It doesn't matter if I take another breath Who cares?, Who cares?"
Also deserving of mention are the rockers, "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea" and "Tiny Steps." In the latter song Costello sings about a playboy's useless conquest, "Tiny steps / Almost real,/ Tiny fingers / You almost feel / Make her kneel / Oh she's almost human beneath it."