Da League - When I Was Cruel


Format: CD
Label: Island
Catalog: 586775
Rel. Date: 04/23/2002
UPC: 731458677529

When I Was Cruel
Artist: Da League
Format: CD
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''When I Was Cruel'' is Elvis Costello's 20th album, recorded in 2001 and 2002 and released in the US by Island Records on 23 April 2002. Although officially a solo Costello album, this was the first album to feature Elvis' new band, The Imposters, whose only difference from his previous band, the Attractions, was the replacement of bassist Bruce Thomas, with whom Costello has feuded, with Davey Faragher (formerly of Cracker). The album includes the major hits "45' and "15 Petals". - Wikipedia

"The flavor is tart/ Is that something you crave?" It probably isif you're an Elvis Costello fan, and the unapologetically idiosyncraticBritish muso has spent much of the 25 years since My Aim Is True deliveringto those acidic appetites. When I Was Cruel is his first "proper"album in six years—since 1996's All This Useless Beauty—butit's not the return of ‘77's angry young bespectacled man oreven This Year's Model, and it's not quite a lounge in theImperial Bedroom. Rather, the 15-song, 63-minute set is an ambitioushodgepodge of chippy rockers and atmospheric noir arrangements, delivered withan appealing rawness that is nevertheless centered by Costello's tunefuland inventive craftsmanship. After spending the past few years with collaboratorssuch as Burt Bacharach, the Brodsky Quartet and soprano Anne Sofie von Otter,Costello has come back with plenty of burrs under his saddle and a new batchof characters to drag through the muck as he vents about the music industry("45," "Tear Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)"),trophy relationships ("Episode of Blonde") and the general state ofthe world ("Dust 2...," "Dust," "Radio Silence").

With Attractions keyboardist Steve Nieve and drummer Pete Thomas on board, hecranks it up on "45," "Tear Your Own Head," "Dissolve"and "Daddy Can I Turn This?," while tracks such as "Spooky Girlfriend,"the pair of "…Dust" tracks and the epic "When I Was CruelNo. 2" dress up spare constructs with a kind of echoey lushness that nicelyframes the urgency of Costello's vocals and the bite of his occasionalguitar breaks. There are moments of real sweetness here, too; if the love song"15 Petals" seems a bit aimless, "My Little Blue Window"is a melodic pop gem whose light touch belies the dour lyrical observation that"Nothing in this ugly world comes easy." Of course, if it did, a tarttongue like Costello's probably wouldn't know what to sing about it,anyway.
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