.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/a7bd2825b8526d90f4f357e88aa75cef14a94f70.jpg All This Useless Beauty

Elvis Costello

All This Useless Beauty

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
May 30, 1996

Writing songs for other performers brings out the best in Elvis Costello. On his latest work, Costello "covers" tunes he's penned for other artists, including the British folk singer June Tabor and ex-Byrd Roger McGuinn. Surprisingly, what could have wound up a hodgepodge or an intellectual exercise ends up the most likable and organic Costello album in years.

Perhaps because the songs, in order to be interpreted by others, had to transcend Costello's idiosyncrasies, he was free to devise some of the easiest and sturdiest melodies of his career. While Costello's last few albums chafed with self-conscious writing, these tunes come trippingly to the tongue. Likewise, they feature spare arrangements that emphasize their melodic elegance.

And Costello's singing has never been prettier. Axing all affectations, he lets the songs speak for themselves. In the process, these tracks arise as modern standards — the '90s answer to the brilliance of the old Brill Building catalog.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Stillness Is the Move”

    Dirty Projectors | 2009

    A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com