Last year we were all put a back when it was reported that Elvis Costello was diagnosed with cancer. Costello, one of the greatest songwriters of almost any generation postponed a tour, and much more. However, with a clean bill of health, he’s back with a stellar new album, Look Now. On it, Costello sounds like a mix of his old self and the balladeer that’s always lived inside of him. Backed by The Imposters, Costello is back in full force, and it’s wonderful to hear.
The album’s opener, “Under Lime” mixes in that traditional sneer induced Costello with more of his softer side in a way that’s simply masterful. Costello sounds timeless here, almost defying convention in his approach. The lyrics on “Don’t Look Now” are some of his strongest, while the piano plays and Costello swoons us with his voice, the track just works on multiple levels. The compositions on the following track are worth the five year wait between releases, and when “Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter” plays, you realize that Costello can’t be stopped. The stride of the song is lush with melody and plenty of disco notations that don’t sound dated at all.
“Unwanted Number” contains Motown influences, “Mr. & Mrs. Hush” have a Warren Zevon-esque style, and “Dishonor The Stars” evokes Costello’s nineties releases, though it all clicks with the listener. This is Elvis Costello taking all he’s become known for, including two tracks with Burt Bacharach, and composing at his highest level. “The Final Mrs. Curtain” offers up that signature broken vocal that’s made Costello irresistible, while he slowly drips into our conscious. Look Now proves that Elvis Costello can still hold our attention, even if it’s calling to us from the title.
You can stream Look Now as well as all of Elvis Costello’s catalog on all streaming platforms, and you can purchase it in various formats directly from his web store. The magic of Elvis Costello live will take to the road starting on November 2 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at The Sands Bethlehem Event Center until December 4 in Vancouver at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. A complete list of tour dates can be found here.
Image Credits: Photo by James O'Mara.