Customer Review

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From heartbreak to hope, 19 Sep 2003
By 
This review is from: North (Audio CD)
I've long been a fan of Elvis Costello so I'd have bought this album no matter what the reviews where. From what I've read so far its very much a mixed reaction that has greeted this latest offering from arguably one of our greatest living songwriters. I think people struggle to understand that Costello is a writer who has constantly evolved throughout his career, from early angry young man, through country and western, past string quartet and close harmony vocals to present day. He isn't a writer who has a 'type' of music, but it is his voice and emotion that gives all of his work that unique touch. Whatever he produces you can be sure that it will be no casually written song, but carefully constructed and presented. And in many ways that is what I like about this latest recording.
'North' is very much a story, following the sequence of the tracks is essential to getting the feel of the whole piece. Its the story of losing love and finding someone new and for me captures the subtle stages we all go through brilliantly. The pain of separation, the uncertainty of new partners, the admiration of lovers and the overwhelming optimism being with someone give you. The whole rollercoaster in fact. The titles of the tracks almost give away how the tale unfolds, but it is only in listening to the lyrics that you get the full effect of Costellos mastery of songwriting.
The musical settings for these songs is a obviously influenced by his works with Bacharach, but they have been given the quirky chord changes that make them stand out as original and wonderful Costello. Piano and strings dominate the music, and at times almost have an air of Noel Coward about them. Not that the album is perfect. I found the opening 3 songs a little uninspiring even though the lyrics are well crafted. In particular the second song 'Someone Took The Words Away' is the best description of being tongue tied and uncertain I've ever heard. Tracks 5 to 8 are most definitely the strongest musically, but then we are beginning to fall back in love along with the narrator so the music reflects this. 'Still' is quite simply breathtaking, sounding wonderful yet written with such beautiful phrases that it is humbling to hear. 'Let Me Tell You about Her' is funny and far too close to the truth. For anyone who has bored their friends to tears talking about their latest amour they will love this song.
In short the album is the best piece of lyricism I've heard for a long time. A true and simple depiction of falling out of and into love. Whether the musical setting is to everyones tastes I'm unsure. If you enjoyed the work Costello did with Bacharrach or the Brodsky Quartet then musically you will love this. It has much more in common with 'The Juliet Letters' than 'When I Was Cruel' or 'Armed Forces'. But then who wants to stand still? Elvis Costello more than any living 'pop' artist continually tries to explore and develop his abilities. This album is a breath of fresh air and in my opinion is a quite beautiful and brilliant piece of work. Again Costello has developed as a writer and I can only hope this continues for a long, long time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.8 out of 5 stars (17 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer

Mark H
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 278