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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Blood And Chocolate

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

1986

Blood And Chocolate
Album Summary

Blood & Chocolate is the eleventh studio album by the British rock singer and songwriter Elvis Costello, released in the United Kingdom as Demon Records XFIEND 80, and in the United States as Columbia 40518. It is his ninth album with his long-standing backing band known as 'The Attractions'. After his previous album King of America with producer T-Bone Burnett and different musicians, this album reunited him with producer Nick Lowe and his usual backing group the Attractions. It peaked at No. 16 on the UK Albums Chart, and No. 84 on the Billboard 200. In The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for the year's best albums, Blood & Chocolate finished at number 9. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2000 it was voted number 475 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.The recording of Blood & Chocolate was troubled, as the relationship between Costello and the Attractions had deteriorated during sessions for King of America. The album was recorded at concert-level volume in a way Costello felt suited the material.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.98

Votes

10890

Genres

  • Rock
  • New Wave
  • Pop

Reviews

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Sat Jul 10 2021
1

I hate Elvis Costello. I pray to everything holy I never get another one of his albums.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
2

My favorite part of this album was when Spotify played a Replacements song in the queue after it was over and I didn't notice it was a different artist for 30 seconds. || Nothing was awful about this album, but nothing felt special. I spent more time digging into lyrics and story behind it, and still didn't spark excitement. Meh.

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Sun Feb 04 2024
3

After 900 and 80 something albums I finally figured it out. This list was designed so we would have to listen to every Elvis Costello album. All of which were the same. You won this round Elvis!

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Wed Apr 19 2023
4

This immediately grabbed me with unexpected cacophony and whallop: That’s how you begin an album, nerds! Drums sound great, making my head do a Wilko Johnson dance. The Boss brought to mind, another midlife discovery with a gift for narrative, anthem and soaring. Surprised by how much I like Costello’s voice. The garage band guitar sometimes verges on no wave chaos, which is magnificent, as if the songs are barely able to hold together. The record is well paced, rockers, laments, introspective bits all feel like they’re in the right place on this first lesson. Yeah, I’ll get this. I think this is a record I’ll find more to like on further goes.

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Tue Jun 15 2021
2

There were a couple of songs that I thought were fine but this one failed to hold my attention. I see lots of folks complaining about his monotonous voice and I can’t disagree

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

I had no clue this album existed. So jangly and grungy. Love Elvis Costello.

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Wed Apr 19 2023
3

I seem to prefer Elvis Costello in small chunks, the albums never hold my full attention. His voice is far more idiosyncratic than Dylan's ever was, and the songs can be a bit unimaginative. Nonetheless, there are a good few bangers on here; a stingy 3*

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Mon Aug 01 2022
2

Does Elvis Costello get paid by the word? He crams a lot of words into these songs and I’m not sure most of them are needed. In that spirit, a quick and to-the-point track by track review: Uncomplicated - No. I Hope Your Happy Now - Solid power pop, this would’ve made a better opener than Uncomplicated. Tokyo Storm Warning- Six minutes is way too long for this. Home is Anywhere You Hang Your Head - That got awfully pretty towards the end. I Want You - This is basically a Summerteeth-era Wilco track, no? Never really made the connection between Jeff Tweedy/Wilco and Elvis Costello, but holy shit, this had to be an influence on his vocals. Honey Are You Straight or Are You Blind? - Thank god this was only two minutes. What an obnoxious riff. Blue Chair - I can not unhear the similarities in the vocal stylings of Costello and Jeff Tweedy now. Battered Old Bird - “he’s a battered old bird and he’s alivadupalellwerlllll.” This song sucks. Crimes of Paris - This is what I was expecting from an Elvis Costello record. Relatively straight forward power pop. Poor Napoleon- “She called you her magic fingers”. This is what happens when you get paid by the word. You come up with terrible metaphors…ones that should still haunt their author 36 years after being forced upon the world. Next Time Around - another pretty standard power pop number, REM’s “Stand” bears a striking resemblance to the chorus of this song.

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Wed Nov 29 2023
1

I’m so sick of Elvis fucking Costello

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Wed Feb 10 2021
5

I want you gave me goosebumps. This album has a Beatleslike feel but there’s some tracks in there that are just amazing. I’m gonna listen to this again

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Tue Aug 03 2021
5

Always on … Raw … live feeling … dark and darkly funny … desperate in places … I want you … (which is amazing -when I’ve seen it played live) Blue Chair … the pop songs are great with more dark bits …Crimes of Paris … Massive fan of his writing … and WHAT A BAND … Steve and Pete and Bruce are tremendous

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Sun Aug 29 2021
5

I always forget how great this album is. Probably his best sounding album after Imperial Bedroom. Certainly the loudest. Also the last great album of The Attractions era. “I Want You” is such a great song, definitely one of his best.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
5

I have been simultaneously waiting for and dreading my first Elvis Costello album. He is absolutely one of my favorite artists, but I feel like it’s impossible to talk about him without sounding like a bit of an idiot. I haven’t really given this album as much time over the years as I have for other EC albums, which was an incredible mistake on my part. This album is fantastic. I want to go off and spend a week with it and then listen to it all the time for the rest of my life. This the last of that first (best) series of albums Costello made with the Attractions in the 80s. Elvis Costello has done so much interesting work over the years, but musically, it never got better than when he was with the Attractions. It’s the end of an era, and a pretty damn good send-off. This is Costello & the Attractions at their best - smart, punchy, witty, seething. There are some really melodic, gorgeously arranged songs, offset by pointed, frequently dark songwriting. Lyrically Costello is clever as ever, with a flair for vivid imagery. It’s a very specific, bitter pill brand of pop that not everyone likes, and no one in the world can do like Elvis Costello. I also don’t know if the Attractions ever sounded better than this. What a pleasure to listen to. And Nick Lowe producing again? *Chef’s Kiss* This album was way too smart for the likes of 1986 (or 2022, for that matter). Maybe it could be a song or two shorter, but who cares? More Elvis Costello is not a bad thing. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): I Want You, Tokyo Storm Warning, Battered Old Bird, Crimes of Paris, Next Time Round, Home is Anywhere You Hang Your Head, Uncomplicated, I Hope You're Happy, Poor Napoleon, Blue Chair, Honey Are You Straight or Are You Blind

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Thu Aug 11 2022
5

Well that worked out well, I was probably going to listen to this today anyway. Y’all one star wankers need to grow up.

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Thu May 13 2021
4

7/10. The singing started out more annoying than usual, but seemed fine later on.

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Thu Feb 22 2024
4

I own this record at home, and obviously, its main selling point is the song *I Want You*, one of the best tunes Elvis Costello has ever written: it's raw but melodic, it's disturbingly blunt and disarmingly honest... yet it's also catchy, simple, and frankly endearing--and this, as painful and even *ugly* as the feelings expressed in the song are. It's quite refreshing that Costello, always mired in all sorts of sophisticated, borderline-"literary" posturing, could find it in him to pen something so direct instead in 1986. In the album reissue's liner notes, Costello claims that the melody in the verse of the song was inspired by a Japanese folk tune, which is kind of hard to believe. But whatever the case may be, there is something truly universal in this tale about jealousy and unrequited love. Which is why it hits the intended mark. About the rest of the album, I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty good. A bit rough around the edges, a bit messy--but that's actually an asset after the stifling dynamics and hackneyed production values of the records that preceded it. Not to mention the annoying verbose mannerisms of *Imperial Bedroom*--where you simply want Costello to buckle up after the third song. Costello fans would probably cry foul play after reading my words, but most people and their mothers outside that circle of fans know that including *This Year's Model* and *Armed Forces* in such a list is more than enough to give Elvis Costello the place he deserves there. Robert Dimery thought very differently, unfortunately--how many Elvis Costello albums are in his damn list? 6? 7? Honestly, I've lost count... Now does that mean there's no room for *Blood And Chocolate* in my *own* list? Well, the jury's still out on this one... On the "Pros" section, there's Nick Lowe's "loud" and very "live" production, which honestly aged better than the one on the albums before, as I said earlier. Hiring Lowe, the man responsible for the aesthetics of *This Year's Model* and *Armed Forces*, was all that the Attractions needed to sound good again. And there are still some interesting studio tidbits sprinkled here and there (some reversed tapes, some *subtle* echoes, some quick off-kilter effects adding to those already "noisy" sessions). Yet as off-kilter as those tidbits are, they never ruin the overall dynamics. Even better, those details even give a sixties near-psychedelic subtext to those tracks. Which is good. Especially for a record released in 1986. Another thing for the "Pros" section is the sheer quaity of most of the songs. Opener "Uncomplicated" is exactly what its title suggests, "I Hope You're Happy Now" is textbook Costello (in a good way), but the album really hits its stride with the long postmodern epic "Tokyo Storm Warning", near-Dylanesque in both its musical and lyrical flourishes. Closing side A, there's "I Want You", but I don't need to say more about it than what I have already stated at the start of this tentative review. And closing side B (along with the album), you have four great cuts that go in interesting, less forceful directions: there is the strange-yet-fascinating "Old Battered Bird", quite hard to describe, but very ominous and evocative, as when Costello lets out those chill-inducing yelps over a rather atmospheric bakckground. You also have the sardonic-yet-subdued "ballad" "Crimes Of Paris", the more textured "Poor Napoleon", and the merseybeat-inspired last track and catchy earworm "Next Time Round". In the "Cons" section, however, all the tracks I haven't quoted are more akin to the "automatic mode" version of Elvis Costello and the Attractions after the release of *Armed Forces*, with a lot of words sung by the man, and a lot of chords played as well. And consequently, those other songs don't have much in them that could make them memorable. Costello, as often, is too damn *chatty* on those cuts. Truth be told, he's chatty in the good songs as well, but if the music doesn't have the right hooks to make that aspect bearable, it becomes a bit of a chore to go through those other tunes. Reading what I've just written, I reallize my "Pros" section is bigger that the one for my "Cons". This record is also the last one of the "classic" tenure of Costello's collaboration with The Attractions (in 1986, his relationship with the band had soured to the point that it was better for everyone involved to go their own way for a while). So in a sense, *Blood And Chocolate* is also a "historical" album. Giving it the benefit of the doubt, then. 3.5 for the purposes of this list gathering "essential" LPs (rounded up to 4). Which translates to a 8.5/10 grade for more general purposes (5 + 3.5). A quick note about my ranking of Elvis Costello's albums in Dimery's list. To this day, the man is still far from being my favourite artist of all time, but since I've started this project, I've warmed up to his music somehow. My grades (and reviews) for *This Year's Model* and *Armed Forces* were quite harsh, I know it now. Today, I would rate both those albums with a 4/5 grade. Which, coincidentally or not, is the grade I will also give to this later album. Won't change my 1/5 "protest" grade for debut *My Aim Is True", though, *That* record was dull, no question, and you can bet your boots that if Costello had not had the career he had afterwards, everyone would have forgotten about it... Number of albums left to review: 278 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 319 Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 176 (including this one) Albums from the list I won't include in mine (many other records are more important to me): 232

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Mon Apr 26 2021
2

* Didn't listen to whole album* Bored

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Thu May 02 2024
2

My blood, it boils, this chocolate’s too bitter; Elvis Costello, I don’t like you much, mister.

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Wed Dec 06 2023
1

Please don’t recommend this band to me anymore

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Wed May 12 2021
5

One of my fav albums of the mid-80s.

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Tue Jul 06 2021
5

Can't really go wrong with Elvis Costello, can you? This is pretty great. A little bit grittier than some of his other stuff. I really like this album.

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Sun May 09 2021
5

classic Elvis, great melodic songwriting seems to mark the end of his pre-Spike era, with albums like Oliver’s Army, etc

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

Another incredible EC record.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

Saved Prior: None Cutting Edge: 11. Home Is Anywhere You Hang Your Head Off Rip: 10. Poor Napoleon 9. Crimes of Paris 8. Battered Old Bird 7. Uncomplicated 6. Tokyo Storm Warning 5. Honey, Are You Straight or Are You Blind? 4. Next Time Round 3. Blue Chair 2. I Hope You're Happy Now 1. I Want You Off Rip: Uncomplicated, I Hope You're Happy Now, Tokyo Storm Warning, I Want You, Blue Chair, Battered Old Bird, Crimes of Paris, Cutting Edge: Overall Notes: I've been skeptical of Mr. Elvis Costello for a while. I've liked some of his songs (chiefly Alison, Veronica, and Pump It Up), but his status as one of the greatest songwriters ever seemed kind of silly. I get it now. I didn't adore all of these songs, but his voice shines through every single one of these tracks. They're all simultaneously catchy yet resentful. The album jumps between genres but not so forcefully that he loses his voice in the process. I like the somewhat simple production of the album as well. Low 5.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
5

I want you I want to hear he pleases you more than I do

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Wed Jul 27 2022
5

Great EC album from his classic period. Check out his list of "500 Must-Have Albums" on Vanity Fair.

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

PREFS : TOUT MOINS PREF : RIEN

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Mon Sep 12 2022
5

not as good as Imperial Bedroom imo but still pretty fuckin great 9/10

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Mon Nov 07 2022
5

a perfect alloy of lyrical inventiveness and pop skills

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

I'm pro-Elvis but didn't know this record or any of its songs. Happy and slightly surprises that it's an absolute treat. Someone used the word infectious, whicj is a great description. Best song, I Hope You're happy now.

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Thu Jan 26 2023
5

Blood and chocolate is my favourite meal. I eat it every Thursday afternoon after I just fucked your mum in the ass.

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Sun Feb 26 2023
5

5/5 I know EC's albums through King of America but missed this one the first time around. I was surprised by how gritty and aggressive it was - a lot like This Years Model but with even better vocals. Great songwriting as always.

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Thu May 11 2023
5

BL: Elvis Costello's solo work I am familiar with but not with his work with the Attractions. Will see how it turns out AL: Liked this a lot. Very well orchestrated and composed. a mixture of simple and more complex tracks all playing into one of the best heartbreak albums of all time in my eyes FT: "I Hope You're Happy Now" "Home is Anywhere you Hang you're Head" "Battered Old Bird" "Crimes of Paris" 5/5

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Fri May 19 2023
5

The last great Elvis Costello album. It's his only 80s album that I think holds up with the energy of his late 70s output. "I Want You" is stunning.

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Fri Jun 02 2023
5

The last album in the 11 albums in 10 years run Elvis put together during the late 70s/80s with the Attractions. This one sounds a little less dated than some of the albums in that span. I also followed his catalogue chronologically, so one of the last I dove into from that period (alright I never dove in Goodbye Cruel World). There are some outstanding tracks on this one - the first 5 songs or so are some of his best and the back half is also very strong. This one is almost a culmination as well of all the genre hopping Elvis did during the period. A classic among many classics in his catalogue.

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Fri Jul 14 2023
5

Never listened to Costello before, but this was damn fine

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Thu Sep 14 2023
5

Great record by one of my favourite songwriters! Such a cohesive album that shows many of his strengths. It’s an album I’ve listened countless times yet still discover new tidbits, that’s what I love about music. These songs got you humming along in no time! 9 out of 10

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Fri Sep 29 2023
5

New one to me, really enjoyed it

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Sun Nov 05 2023
5

I love Elvis Costello because he sings crooner songs, but is not a crooner. I'll never not love Elvis!

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Sun Dec 31 2023
5

Currently the average rating for this album is 2.97. So I enjoy this WAAAAY more than the average. I think this is the perfect rock record. It has great songs and doesn’t overstay its welcome. There are different kinds of tunes so there’s a good flow to the whole thing. I’m a fan of Elvis Costello generally. I’d never listened to this before but so glad I did as I’ve just found a new favourite. 5/5

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Sun Feb 11 2024
5

Brilliant - Elvis is a genius

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Tue Apr 09 2024
5

I had only recognized one song on this; it’s a good find and I thought I knew all the Elvis albums

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

Oh you mean Bob Dylan if he carried a tune? Oh you mean sounds like church hall dance music from before the Beatles became popular? Yeah of course I loved it. He’s king of the easy listening genre.

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Sun Apr 25 2021
4

Creo que no reconocía la voz de Elvis Costello, pero está buena. Disfruté este disco, creo que tiene de repente momentos tristones o muy llegadores que son efectivos, además no llegan a la miseria absoluta. Quizá sí, puse poca atención a las letras por privilegiar escuchar la música que me gustó mucho. Mis favs: "Tokyo Storm Warning", "I Want You" y "Battered Old Bird". 9/10

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Sun Apr 25 2021
4

Vibritas divertidas y relax. Nada supermemorable, pero tiene por ahí algunas partes contagiosas. He de confesar que sí hice algunos skips de cancioncillas que me parecieron muy genéricas, por decirlo de algún modo. La que más me gustó fue Tokyo Storm Warning por el ritmo y la onda atmosférica de Poor Napoleon. Mood: de cuál parroquia robaron su órgano?

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Thu May 13 2021
4

this is definitely darker than the other ones but i think it works. 8/10

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Sun Jun 27 2021
4

Another solid release from Elvis Costello and his last proper release with The Attractions (in the 80's anyways).

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Thu May 27 2021
4

I want to explore more, as he is well respected artist. Seems unique sounding.

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Thu May 20 2021
4

great album, costello is good

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Sat Jun 05 2021
4

What a great record! Listened to it back to back 3 or 4 times.

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Mon May 24 2021
4

Liked this though the album was probably a bit on the long side which made it repetitive. Keeping it condensed would've probably added a star but it's really good nonetheless.

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Tue Aug 31 2021
4

I hummed and hawed over giving this 5 stars but after 3 listens it hasn't quite grabbed me hard enough. "Tokyo Storm Warning" has long been one of my fave tracks by any artist after I heard it on a Best Of album. Fave track - this time around, "I Want You" really, really sank its claws into me. That is one hell of a song! The version with Fiona Apple on vocals is well worth a listen too...

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Mon Sep 20 2021
4

I Want You and Battered Old Bird are amazing. The album from start to finish is lyrically engaging and exudes a passion and hard edge from Elvis Costello.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

Хороший рок и кантри и рок

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

Big elvis fan....dunno b&c that well tho... After shaky start..(tracks 1 & 2)...like. I want you?of course ..a classic

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Mon Oct 11 2021
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: I want you

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Wed Oct 20 2021
4

pleasant surprise after only knowing his cover of Charles Aznavour.

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Thu Oct 28 2021
4

I am a HUGE EC fan, but I never would have thought that this album would make the list. Don't get me wrong this is a great album, underrated and perhaps forgotten in is catalogue. I lost touch with Elvis after this album, for whatever reason I had no need for anymore EC...for me this album was the perfect farewell. I actually like almost every song and it might be his greatest vocal performance up to this point. 4.5 stars

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Fri Nov 12 2021
4

I loved it, great background music

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Mon Dec 06 2021
4

Quite an ahead-of-it's-time grungy album. Less poppy, fewer hits, quite pleasant.

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Thu Dec 16 2021
4

I love it when an album takes its title from lyrics of a song instead of a song title. And this one comes right out uses the first three words from the first song ("Uncomplicated") for its title. This is usually a pretty good indication that I'm going to dig the album (See also: Nirvana, "Nevermind"). It's quite possible this ends up being my favorite Elvis Costello album. That's not to say it's his best, but it might be the one I listen to the most. Coming into this little exercise, I was only familiar with the first part of Costello's career. I knew nothing about this album and assumed this would give me a reason to ramble on about how Elvis Costello has too many albums on this list. Oh, how great it feels to be wrong!

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Wed Dec 22 2021
4

Didn't listen to more than a few songs, but liked what I did listen to.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
4

I really loved “This Years Model” in part because it had such a consistent sound - I was a little hesitant on this album but overall I liked it for a lot of the same reasons. “I want you” and “Blue Chair” are highlights

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Sun Feb 13 2022
4

Schmissig, nerdy und selbstoffenbarend. I like Elvis. 3.6

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Sun Mar 13 2022
4

Never listened to this one before, I should listen to more of his stuff, it's always good.

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Thu Apr 07 2022
4

Costello in fine form, comfortable with himself and in total synch with his band. Tokyo Storm Warning and Crimes of Paris are entertaining, searing ditties and the imperious I Want You are highlights. Surely no more sinister, twisted song than I Want You was ever committed to wax?

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Fri Apr 22 2022
4

Listened to on 4/21/22 3.5/5 Favorite song: I hope you’re happy now, blue chair, crimes of paris The rock vibes were lovely and the band did a great job of capturing emotional grunge but the vibes were conflicting in some songs. I liked the loud studio volume recording and how it made you feel like you were front row at their concert. This album was pretty much only about sex and sad relationships but all in all pretty good

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Thu Apr 28 2022
4

I love Elvis when he is just rockin' out. The band were barely talking to each other, but were a well honed live unit. They got into the studio and recorded quickly, loudly, and with verve. The album is concerned with sexual obsession and betrayal, which reflects the band's vibe. The reality comes across. Muscular, immediate, honest and loud. Love it.

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Fri May 06 2022
4

This has held up extremely well. I remembered it seeming a bit forced and over involved back in the day, but it sounds great today, raw and driving and engaging. Opens strong – first 4-5 cuts are all very good. And ends strong, too – “Next Time Round,” which I don’t recall hearing before is a new BFF track for me.

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Fri Jun 24 2022
4

Cool to hear something I had no idea existed. There's also no way the movie wasn't inspired by his pseudonym on this album.

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Wed Jul 06 2022
4

I like this more than the last Costello album I got from this site (“My Aim is True”), but seeing this is his 11th album (!!) of course his songwriting would strengthen over time

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Thu Jul 21 2022
4

Really good album. Enjoyed this a lot

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Fri Jul 29 2022
4

Elvis Costello is always good for a enjoyable album. One of the biggest surprises in this experiment, I have yet to listen to a bad album of his. While his albums are not revolutionary or groundbreaking but they are consistently filed with good songs

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Fri Jul 29 2022
4

I’m not sure that all his albums included on the list are worthy on an individual basis to be included, from the basis of being influential or musically innovative. But every single album of his, including this one, are great music. Great rock music with cool guitar parts, melodies, chorus harmonies and a raw live sound.

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Wed Aug 03 2022
4

Rock & roll y new wave. Me ha gustado. Un 4.

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Mon Aug 15 2022
4

Really enjoyed it. Good music and lyrics. Best Costello album I have heard so far in this list

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Fri Sep 02 2022
4

Wasn't bad but it was kind of boring

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Sun Sep 18 2022
4

It’s good, but a little bit longer. Often feel a bit to earn and. Cover art 2/5. What on earth is going on here. Trying too hard. Too pretentious

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Wed Sep 21 2022
4

You'll never have to twist my arm to sit down and listen to an Elvis Costello album. This one is solid. I don't think I've ever sat down and listened to this album from start to finish, as most of the songs were new to me. I've found a few new favourites here.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
4

Good album. Not many that stood out over the rest but still.

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Wed Oct 19 2022
4

Never not a good time for Elvis Costello

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Wed Oct 19 2022
4

Enjoyed this immensely, especially "Uncomplicated," "Tokyo Storm Warning," and "Blue Chair" (but I wish I knew WTF the blue chair is).

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Mon Oct 24 2022
4

Good but not anything mindblowing.

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Thu Nov 10 2022
4

I've always heard a lot about Elvis Costello. So far, first couple of tracks are solid. Catchy songwriting and interesting voice. Voice reminds me of Bob Dylan's kid from The Wallflowers. Jacob? I Want You is a solid track for sure. I also really enjoyed Battered Old Bird. One thing I'm getting from this album is Elvis Costello was way ahead of his time.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
4

A direct, gritty and highly mature record, B&C has held up extremely well, perhaps because it seems less overtly angry (more resigned) and the sarcasm more understated than the previous records. Still there's plenty of vinegar, this being EC. The no-produciont-is-the-best-production vibe is great, especially for this era and gives a very warm sound. On the downside it's also slightly less fun and tuneful. Best cuts are "Home is Where ...," the vintage "Hope You're Happy Now," "Blue Chair" and the rousing closer "Next Time Round." And one's always had a soft spot for the powerfully unenjoyable "I Want You." The depth and substance are powerful throughout and sustain interest across a full listen. A strong outing from top to bottom, with remarkable consistency across every cut, and quite underrated in the end, it must be said.

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