Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Goodbye Cruel World

This week (June 18th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Goodbye Cruel World, the ninth studio album from Elvis Costello (the eighth with the Attractions). This 1984 release hit number 53 in Australia, number 52 in Japan, number 32 in New Zealand, number 20 in Sweden and number 10 in the UK. In the US, it spent twenty-one weeks on the Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 35.

Side one opens with "The Only Flame in Town". This single went to number 71 in the UK, number 56 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 44 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. It is fitting that Daryl Hall provides guest vocals on the track as it has a bit of that Philadelphia soul sound to it.

The gently swaying "Home Truth" is next. Costello is a master at the bitter-sweet songs, tempering the pain with a pop accompaniment.

"Room With No Number" is a bouncy number about a secret love affair conducted behind hotel room doors.

I like the seductive jazz feel of "Inch By Inch".

With "Worthless Thing", Costello shows he can wear a smile while he cuts someone down to size.

"Love Field" closes the first half on a melancholy note.

Side two starts with "I Wanna Be Loved"; as a single it hit number 25 in the UK and number 11 in Ireland. Green Gartside of Scritti Politti provides guest vocals on the track.

Part of the chorus of "The Comedians" was quoted at the end of chapter two of the 1987 DC Comics graphic novel The Watchmen.

"Joe Porterhouse" wrestles with the lingering feelings for a former lover.

"Sour Milk Cow Blues" has a catchy musical hook to it that I found fun. It was a nice change up by this point in the album.

A venture into "The Great Unknown" follows.

"The Deportees Club" is a rousing rocker which I enjoyed. Of the deep cuts, this would definitely rank as my favorite from the record.

The album closes with "Peace In Our Time", brief historical look at the world post-World War II.

This was my first spin through most of Goodbye Cruel World and I liked it well enough. One issue I have had with Elvis Costello's albums is they tended to have a few too many tracks; I would have trimmed the fat a bit and cut this one back by at least three.

For more of my reviews featuring Elvis Costello, click here.

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