Elvis Costello, When I was Cruel

By Dave Heaton

Being the socially pre-fabricated guy I am, it would be a flat-out lie to say I appreciate music before the so-called alternative era. So when I heard that Elvis Costello put out a new album, my lack of enthusiasm was more than apparent.

However, When I Was Cruel ended up in my stereo and I was more than shocked to find myself absolutely loving what I heard. I couldn’t help but to groove along with his decidedly rock-pop sounding, jazz-sprinkled instrumentals and attempting to sing along to his sharp-edged lyrics, which seemingly touch on everything from love to lawyers to breaking from social mores. Costello’s first single from the disc, “Tear Off Your Own Head,” paints a vivid image with lyrics like “You can twist his body ’til it faces backwards/those plastic features.” With a little well placed radio play, Elvis Costello may just open my generation to this sweetened new sound.

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