Top critical review
on 27 March 2001
For Costello fans looking for new product, this is not really an Elvis Costello album. He produces and writes some of the songs, but doesn't sing much. Ms Van Otter sings lead on all the tracks. I've followed Elvis through many changes of style ever since he confounded expectations with Get Happy but really didn't know what to expect from this offering. Although the new songs are generally of a high standard and the covers well chosen, the whole thing leaves me cold: there is little or no emotion in the vocal performance of Ms Van Otter. She over sings, if you know what I mean. Perfect diction, breath control, timing etc., but devoid of feeling and emotional depth. A few tracks transcend this and are outstanding, such as the Tom Waits covers, and Ron Sexsmiths April After All. Maybe it will grow on me but...3 stars cos some of the new songs are great, if only Elvis was singing them.