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Friday, February 28, 2014

438 of 1001 Albums: Elvis Costello's Brutal Youth

I know there are a lot of Elvis Costello fans out there, and I can see the appeal, but honestly the more I listen to Costello the more I don't enjoy hearing it. With Brutal Youth Costello is veering out of the sounds from the 70's and 80's, and taking his talent into the 90's, and while it may not be my thing the guy is good about finding a style that he sticks with and carrying it over decades.

History: The last album I listened to was Blood and Chocolate, and well since that last time I listened to it, it was also the last album that Costello recorded with the band The Attractions until this one, in 1994. The albums reviews though would be very mixed though. Some would give it a positive review, while others would give it a mix one. The album would do well with the public, but it would't quite achieve the billboard success others had.


Vocals: I'm not really getting into his voicing. Mostly because I never felt it matched the tone of music, and I felt his voicing duck like? It made songs that were more serious sound not so serious like "Favorite Hour". It's not that he doesn't have vocal talent I just felt it wasn't placed right, and the emotions of the song were a bit diminished. Sometimes the pitch went a bit nasally. It was a lot more prominent than I had heard in other albums I had listened to. I'm sorry to say, but Costello's vocals were the weak part.

Instrumentals: I think it's great that The Attractions are back, because they are a group of talented people. I felt they leveled out the talent pretty well, and they are worth listening to. I just find it odd that unlike Blood and Chocolate they weren't credited on the cover art. A couple of the instrumentalist were also multi-talented and on several instruments as well through the duration of the album. I think the touch that is lost for me though is the 50's style rock that was way more prominent on Costello's first album.

Recording: The album does sound timeless, and I will give it that. While listening I couldn't place the year it was made, but I think the recording lacks some sort of depth. The vocals of Costello just need some sort of touch with it to make it sound cleaner. Raw can be a good thing, but for this album I just wasn't sure what to think. At times the songs worked and others no.

You might have to be a Costello fan to enjoy this one, but if you're looking to listen to him then I recommend liking some of his earlier work. There are some unique traits about the album, and trust me if you're listening you'll recognize that it is him. I just felt the instrumentals and the vocals were on two different playing patterns that just didn't come together.


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