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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class
I have got loads of Elvis albums but somehow missed this one. I was looking to find out where the excellent anti-Thatcher song "Tramp the dirt down " came from and discovered Spike.
It is Mr Costello at his best. I would highly recommend it. A real treasure.
Published on 30 Nov 2010 by Mr. W. S. Cunningham

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just not up to scratch...
Don't want to upset anyone who really likes this album (which its first two reviewers clearly do...), but this really isn't EC's finest. It sorely lacks the pithy lyrical economy of his earlier work, and it's horribly, horribly over-produced. There *are* some killer moments (Tramp The Dirt Down, Veronica), but I'd challenge anyone to hum more than 3 of the album's tunes -...
Published on 9 Oct 2009 by Lutz Svensson


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 30 Nov 2010
By 
Mr. W. S. Cunningham "Slybacon" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spike (Audio CD)
I have got loads of Elvis albums but somehow missed this one. I was looking to find out where the excellent anti-Thatcher song "Tramp the dirt down " came from and discovered Spike.
It is Mr Costello at his best. I would highly recommend it. A real treasure.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just not up to scratch..., 9 Oct 2009
By 
Lutz Svensson (Deptford, London, UK.) - See all my reviews
Don't want to upset anyone who really likes this album (which its first two reviewers clearly do...), but this really isn't EC's finest. It sorely lacks the pithy lyrical economy of his earlier work, and it's horribly, horribly over-produced. There *are* some killer moments (Tramp The Dirt Down, Veronica), but I'd challenge anyone to hum more than 3 of the album's tunes - or remember more than a dozen lines of lyrics - even after three or four listens. Any EC virgins, go back a few years and try out Punch The Clock or My Aim Is True first... and if you develop a taste for what you hear, come back and pick up Spike to finish your collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Took me back to when I first owned it on Vinyl, 16 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Spike (Audio CD)
I bought this when it first came out, and loved it then. Being a car crooner, I need good songs to sing badly to where nobody can hear me. Now I have it on CD, I can let myself go to Let Him Dangle, and Miss MacBeth just like the old days. I'd forgotten what I was missing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Re-visiting Costello, 29 Nov 2010
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I have been updating my old vinyl collection and have finally got around to Costello. I'd forgotten what a significant artist he had become up to and including 'Spike'. I really enjoyed listening to this album again and it has not lost it's potency.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning re-issue of Costello�s 1989 masterpiece...!, 7 Feb 2004
Contrary to popular belief, this is not Costello's first self-indulgent implosion as a recording artist, in the same way that it is also NOT a diversion into mediocrity that would continue throughout the albums that followed. This is the next step for a man whose two previous records had demonstrated both a deft understanding of the conventions of country music and pared down instrumentation (King of America) as well as purging himself of inner-torment and marital frustration with an intense sound that fused punk-rock aggression with post-punk noise (Blood & Chocolate). Every Costello album had had, up to this point, some kind of central theme or ideology, but SPIKE (his first album for Warner bros.) was the first time that we we're able to see Costello's eclectic sense of musical experimentation in full swing... as he tries to make five different albums at once, whilst in the process, creating a record that has something for everyone. The depth of Costello's song-writing ability is in full tilt here, as he creates a schizophrenic fusion of all his previous works - giving us varying elements that would suggest a split personality that is equally mirrored in the wonderful cover art - as we see elements of Elvis the pop star, Elvis the bandleader, Elvis the rocker, Elvis the protest singer and finally, Elvis the record producer given equal moments to shine.
The album was recorded in both Dublin and New Orleans, a factor that gives SPIKE an even more schizophrenic sound, with celebrated instrumentalists the Dirty Dozen Brass Band found playing along side segregated members of the Dubliners and the Chieftains; whilst there are also guest appearances from Christy Moore, Chrissie Hind and Paul McCartney, who co-wrote the biggest hit to stem from the record, the infectious and affecting Veronica. This track is just one example of Costello's newly developed sense of lyrical extremity, as he shifts his attention from social causes (Let him Dangle is about the famous wrongful execution of alleged murderer Derek Bentley), to political concerns (lamenting Margaret Thatcher on the honest and deeply controversial Tramp the Dirt Down) whilst also crafting a few diverse variations on the theme of love (Satellite is a very-80's style pop song/duet with the aforementioned Pretender, whilst Baby Plays Around is a heartbreaking, folk-infused number penned by Elvis and his then-wife Cait O'Riordan of the Pogues). There are also attempts to create a more music-hall style that mixes elements of rock opera with baroque-pop, as Costello first parodies Andrew Lloyd Webber on the excellent God's Comic (some of his best lyrics!) before taking things a step further with the more experimental and conceptually rounded Miss Mac Beth.
It is this fusion of pop & rock influences pared alongside more classical, or leftfield observations that would point the way forward to 1993's stunning experiment with the Brodsky Quartet, the Juliet Letters (still one of the most underrated records of the last decade) as well as the more immediate pop follow up, Mighty Like a Rose. The instrumentation is layered in a way that only Imperial Bedroom could match in terms of Costello's back catalogue, with the added session musicians/guest stars bringing a wonderful atmosphere to the already superbly written compositions... the demons of which can be found on the bonus disk to this stunning re-issue. The linear notes of the CD booklet are once again penned by Costello himself, who reflects upon the issues caused with the move to a new record label, and the benefits of working with not one, but two of the most skilful producers of the last twenty years (now-regular collaborators T-Bone Burnett and Kevin Killen). The quality of the re-production of the music, the rarities of the bonus disk and the Costello's always fascinating notes make this an essential update if you've only experienced the original Warner's release from 1989.
SPIKE is without a doubt one of the true original rock records of the 1980's, up there with the likes of Don't Stand Me Down, Second Edition, Rum Sodomy & the Lash, and Costello's own must-have Imperial Bedroom... this should be an essential purchase for every true lover of music!
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets to the point, 19 Mar 2002
By 
Dr. D. C. Davies "deadlyvices" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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Those of us familiar with Costello's later oeuvre might be forgiven for thinking that he'd shot his bolt a long time ago. Even back in '89, when 'Spike' was first released, he'd already gained an unenviable reputation for bitter rants made up of overwrought lyrics coupled with disaffecting tunes. This album was therefore greeted on its release with a mixture of trepidation and indifference.
I'd formed much the same impression myself, until I heard 'Spike'. On this album, probably his best ever, he hardly puts a foot wrong. For once, lyrics and music mesh to lasting effect: from the chimingly tuneful rabble-rousing of 'This Town', through the bittersweet lament for lost youth that is 'Veronica', to the sugared vitriol of 'Tramp the Dirt Down', no word is wasted, no tune seems knocked together as an afterthought.
A glimpse of the old Costello, who would have picked a fight with the whole of Oliver's Army (and won), 'Spike' drives the point home.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good to hear it, 27 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Spike (Audio CD)
re purchased on CD, good to hear it again
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easily his most ambitious album to date., 7 Nov 2009
By 
T.K "Tom" (Stoke,England) - See all my reviews
1989-Elvis Costello released his first album in 3 years and his first with new label Warner Bros, what was the outcome 15 tracks that combines all the classic Costello eras, the angry young man(My aim is true),the abstract years(Imperial Bedroom), and the dark years(Pills and Soap,Shipbuilding etc. This album features angry moments of hatred(Tramp the dirt down) and miscarriage of justice(Let him dangle) moments of balladry and brilliant lyrics (satelitte and Deep Dark Truthful mirror) and classic Costello moments(Veronica and This Town). But that's not all apart from the odd filler this album is one of Costello's most ambitious and adventurous and its hard to remember the great reviews it got when it was first release, 5/5 bu Q Magazine and 10/10 from the NME, yet still many see this as the starting point of Costello inconsistent Warner Bros years, which is unfair because there isn't really a stinker on this album and it definitely better than the decent Brutal Youth. Despite the odd filler Chewing Gum and Stalin malone,this album is one of my personal favourites because of the difference between the tracks, most albums have a sort of concept like Sgt pepper had the Psychedelia, Paranoid has the heavy rock and Nevermind the Bollocks has the angry anti monarchy theme, yet Spike doesn't have a style it isn't a punk album it isn't a pop album and it isn't really a rock album, one thing is for certain though, it is a brilliant album.

Key Tracks:This Town,Veronica,God's Comic,Satelitte,Miss Macbeth
Also Buy:'Southern Accents' Tom Petty and the heartbreakers
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of His Best, 9 July 2012
This review is from: Spike (Audio CD)
Elvis has made a lot of good albums, but this is one of the best. From Tramp the Dirt Down to lesser known song such as Satellites, it is full of gems. Brilliant.
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3 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very jarring note, 17 Nov 2009
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This is an excellent album musically, with a truly stellar cast of supporting players, but it is frankly a disgrace that an obvious "leftie" like Costello can merrily pen a song like "tramp the dirt down" about Margaret - guess who's - grave. Why don't this endless and tedious parade of liberal fascists write something in this style to describe the last 12 years of cultural marxism which has finally finished off what was left of England?
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Spike by Elvis Costello (Audio CD - 2006)
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