And then there’s Elvis Costello, for whom there’s no such thing as predictable. Given the day, I like him or not, depending on variables… if it’s an off day, maybe it’s just not what I want that day, or perhaps it’s whatever weird angle he took at the time didn’t hit me right, or maybe his voice grates on my nerves (it often does)… But there are other times it’s all great and I’m riveted. This is (mostly) one of the latter occasions.
Inspired by an Italian professor’s letters to Shakespeare’s Juliet, Costello goes way out into the field yet again, and returns with gold. Along for the ride is the Brodsky Quartet, and it’s a moody, atmospheric, romantic excursion. It’s contemporary classical music, chamber music, even. It has pop sensibilities, though. It plays like a stage performance. It’s not trying to be perfect, and it is never boring.
I still cringe at his voice, at spots, but the playing is stellar, the arrangements are engaging, and the overall vision is worth it.
Being adventurous pays off, this time.