Album of the Week: Elvis Costello and The Imposters, 'Look Now'

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Elvis Costello and The Imposters - Look Now
Elvis Costello and The Imposters - Look Now (Courtesy of Concord)
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Elvis Costello was sidelined earlier in 2018 with health issues, he cancelled a few shows, but this road warrior is back on the road and set to play the Northrop on November 15th. He also has a new album called Look Now with his trusty backing band, The Imposters.

It's been such a pleasure to follow Elvis Costello's musical adventures for the last 40 years. He's been my favorite singer for years. He is a guy who has done it all musically, from a T-Bone Burnett produced roots/country album to a collaboration with the hip-hop aces, The Roots.

His 31st album (give or take a few) Look Now is his first with The Imposters in 10 years. It's his first album in 5 years. Elvis Costello is in great voice at 64, that same age Paul McCartney and The Beatles sang about so many years ago. Speaking of the Fab 4, you can hear hints of them on a few tunes, including the album's lead track, "Under Lime," which features horns straight off Sergeant Pepper with a dash of Motown. It sounds like sophisticated pop tune from 1966.

There are no Paul McCartney co-writes on this one. But, Costello's old friend and collaborator Burt Bacharach's presence is all over Look Now. They made the Painted From Memory album 20 years ago. Bacharach co-wrote 3 songs, including, "Don't Look Now," which I guessed Burt's involvement before checking the liner notes. "Photographs Can Lie," sounds like two masters having fun creating music, both songs feature his lovely piano playing.

Costello enlists another songwriting guest, Carole King, who co-wrote "Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter," which blends 60's rock and that old Brill Building sound into pure pop perfection.

Another highlight is "Unwanted Number," a tune that Costello wrote for the film Grace of My Heart in 1996, which was originally recorded by the band For Real. This song is Elvis Costello's biggest hit in years. Even spending several weeks in the number one slot on the Americana singles chart, though most wonder, including me, if it's Americana at all. I'll just say its good!

My favorite "I Let The Sun Go Down," is a slice of classic pop with an almost a tin pan alley sound, with Elvis Costello smooth as silk vocal sings, "I'm the man who lost the British Empire," could this be inspired by Brexit? It sure isn't a love song!

While we're talking about love songs...Elvis Costello recently stated in an interview with the Independent, "I wish I could write like Lionel Richie - but heartfelt love songs just aren't what I do." I just hope he keeps doing what he does. Look Now is a lovely album. The sound is uncluttered, roomy and warm. It's a sophisticated pop album that's as as comfortable as your favorite lounging slippers.

Resources


Elvis Costello - Official Site

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