Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
Good, but nowhere near his best
on 27 June 2007
I always think of this album as being a bit like David Bowie's 'Let's Dance' - there are some good (in places excellent) songs on it, but about half of it is filler, with the TKO Horns really intruding on some tracks. 'Shipbuilding' and 'Let Them All Talk' are some of Costello's best, 'TKO (Boxing Day)' 'Everyday I Write the Book' are pretty decent numbers, 'Pills and Soap' is an ominous near-masterpiece, while 'the World and His Wife' provides a nice chirpy, up-tempo and somewhat fitting closer for the album. The rest of the songs are fairly tedious ('the Greatest Thing' and 'the Element Within Her' are easily two of the worst song's EC has ever written!)
It's worth buying for the highlights of the album, not to mention the in-depth second disc. God only knows why 'Heathen Town' and 'Baby Pictures' never made the final album, and the demoes make for fascinating listening too (some of them, ie 'Let Them All Talk', 'the King Of Thieves' and 'Love Went Mad' are actually pretty good songs in their own right!). Finally, while sounding nowhere near as brilliant as the studio cuts on the albums from which they originate, the live versions of 'Watch Your Step', 'Secondary Modern' and 'Possession' also provide excellent listening
In short, get it for the undisputed highlights and the second disc!