Whittier College Quaker Campus, April 25, 2002

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Whittier Coll. Quaker Campus
  • 2002 April 25

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When I Was Cruel

Elvis Costello

Eric Dzinski

For most artists the development of style is a one-way street. Once an artist has turned in a new direction on an album, we usually just accept that they will never be their good old selves again. But Elvis Costello, as he often does, bucked the trend of mellowing out with age with the release of his new album When I Was Cruel. In fact, Elvis' ability to switch back to old-school punk after dabbling in genres like pop/jazz and even string quartet borders on creepy. Reminiscent of his mid-eighties albums for its eccentric rhythms and poppy irony, When I Was Cruel has an added element of poignantly contemplative disgust found in his departure albums like Juliet Letters and Painted From Memory. While not as tightly knit as some previous albums, When I Was Cruel keeps things lively by interspersing new pop classics like "Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)" with oddly enjoyable off-tempo ballads like "Soul for Hire." As is often the case with Costello albums, the most interesting songs are not the somewhat predictable radio singles like "45" but the innovative tracks like "Spooky Girlfriend" and intense songs like "15 Petals." In short, fans of the old, loud Elvis Costello won't be disappointed, but neither will those who have followed him through his mellow years.

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Quaker Campus, April 25, 2002


Eric Dzinski reviews When I Was Cruel.

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2002-04-25 Whittier College Quaker Campus page 12 clipping 01.jpg
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2002-04-25 Whittier College Quaker Campus page 12.jpg
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