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

Brutal Youth

Elvis Costello

1994

Brutal Youth
Album Summary

Brutal Youth is an album by Elvis Costello, released in 1994. This album contains the first recordings Costello made with his band the Attractions since Blood and Chocolate (1986). About half the album features a band consisting of Costello (guitar), Steve Nieve (keyboards) and Pete Thomas (drums) with Nick Lowe (not a member of the Attractions) on bass. Costello himself plays bass on two tracks (2 and 8), and the complete Attractions line-up (Nieve, Pete Thomas and Bruce Thomas on bass) appears with Costello on tracks 3, 4, 6, 9 and 10. Brutal Youth was the third, and most recent of Costello's albums, to peak at number two in the UK Albums Chart, following on from Armed Forces (1979) and Get Happy!! (1980).It was among the six Costello albums featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.87

Votes

11311

Genres

  • Rock
  • New Wave
  • Pop
  • Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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Tue May 18 2021
2

Everything about Elvis Costello, from the name to the glasses to the sneer in his voice to the nonsensical pop culture references, is aped from another artist in a cynical attempt to separate Boomers from their nostalgia dollars. He's Springsteen for people who bristle at the thought of even pretending that they're working class. That may not be fair to him, but he was just unfair to my ears for an hour, so we can call it even. This album feels like it was specifically engineered to be bland and unremarkable, and contemporary reviews were middling. Why is it on the list? Best track: Kinder Murder

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

Every song on this album sounds like it should be the soundtrack underneath a montage of a complicated character in an indie film walking through the streets of their city at night as dawn breaks while figuring out their purpose/finding peace.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
1

I can't. I just can't with that voice. All that uppy downy on every syllable thing he does makes me want to hurt not just him but anyone I can get hold of. It's an instant rage maker. I get that he's very popular, but no, you can't make me listen to this, no amount of persuasion will work. Ick, I heard half a song, I want to scrub myself clean.

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Sun Dec 25 2022
2

I've come to the conclusion that Elvis Costello is annoying.

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Wed Oct 07 2020
4

I've never really been much of a fan of Elvis Costello. I generally find his tracks to be bubble-gum, pop-sugar imitations of punk songs. The opening track, "Pony Street" did nothing to change that impression. Things picked up with the second track, though. "Kinder Murder" is fun and approachable while keeping with a more punk lyrical ethos. That carries through the remainder of the album. While some of the tracks are definitely dated and haven't necessarily aged well, the guitar tones on this entire album are outstanding, the engineering/mixing is impeccable, and the lyrics are generally compelling and thought-provoking, at times reminiscent of The Beatles and, at other times, bringing to mind classic funk/soul masters like James Brown and Aretha Franklin. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this album.

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Sun Sep 19 2021
1

80 albums in, reluctantly my first 1 star… but it was so boring and bland, at least musically, and the lyrics also didn’t do anything for me.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

Idk what the fuck I thought Elvis Costello sounded like but I was very wrong. Enjoyed

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Wed Mar 24 2021
4

Elvis is the man! My only knock is Elvis’s vocals are so distinct that you instantly know it’s him as soon as you hear it. On this album, he didn’t vary up his vocal styles enough and towards the end it dragged a little. Definitely excited to check out some of his earlier work with The Attractions now though.

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Fri Apr 16 2021
2

Although this album is pretty inoffensive, nothing much on it grabbed me.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
2

Uncommon upbeat album in 90s Costello discography. Still boring though

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Fri Dec 23 2022
2

I like Elvis Costello and his unmistakably unique sound, sneer and quirky cadence...but I found this album unremarkable. Yes, it's clearly Elvis and you'll get your fix of him...but nothing stands out for repeated listens. If you want the best Elvis you'll need to go to his first three albums (My Aim is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces). Now THOSE are truly special! 2.7/5.0

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Sat May 01 2021
4

I enjoyed the slightly slower pace of this album because I think he stood out more as a songwriter and the music varied more between songs. Another 8

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

An interesting mix of genres and styles here. I really haven't given Elvis Costello as much of a chance as I should've. This album is fun and consistently upbeat even when it gets a bit more edge on some songs.

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Fri Dec 15 2023
1

Otro más de este pelado? Ya son 3 discos y ninguno es bueno.

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Thu Feb 29 2024
1

weezer ass nerd,que diablos es pub rock

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

A very strong effort from Elvis Costello. I prefer rocking Elvis to balladeer Elvis and this record has a bunch of those. My favorites are Just About Glad, All the Rage, Rocking Horse Road, but this is excellent all the way through. I’d give this a 4.5 if possible but I’ll round up because it’s one of my favorite Elvis albums

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Thu Dec 15 2022
5

The voice it's like Jonathan Larson in "Rent" the movie, ando it's very good! Thx!

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Wed Jan 18 2023
5

A lesser known of EC's albums, but still full of great songs

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Wed Mar 15 2023
5

Once in a blue suede moon, an album comes along that not only defies expectations but gleefully shatters them with an almost impish delight. 'Brutal Youth' sees Elvis Costello, the bespectacled punk poet laureate, leap back into the fray with an album that oozes sardonic charm and a mischievous smirk. From the very first note, Costello and his trusty band of musical mercenaries take us on a rollicking rock and roll joyride. It's as if the snarling spirit of the Attractions has possessed a tight-knit garage band, with Costello's biting wit and lyrical genius orchestrating the chaos like a punk-rock puppet master. Some standout songs for me start with 'Kinder Murder'. 'This is Hell' serves as the perfect soundtrack for an infernal mosh pit, while 'Clown Strike' lets the listener know that this carnival is not for the faint of heart. 'You Tripped at Every Step' offers a slightly mellower reprieve, with Costello demonstrating his penchant for blending sweet melodies with biting lyrics. 'Sulky Girl' sees our protagonist donning his best sneer, as he channels the essence of 70s punk into a potent and infectious tune. As we venture further into the album, 'My Science Fiction Twin' blasts us into orbit with its otherworldly tale of doppelgangers and identity crises, while the ironically-titled 'Just About Glad' sends us off with a delightfully sardonic farewell. In a world where many aging rockers settle into complacency or fade into obscurity, Elvis Costello has not only defied the odds but done so with a triumphant, tongue-in-cheek swagger. 'Brutal Youth' is a testament to his enduring talent and a delightful reminder that sometimes, old punks never die—they just rock harder. So, if you're in the mood to relive the rebellious spirit of yesteryear, strap yourself in and brace for impact. Elvis Costello's 'Brutal Youth' is a wild and witty joyride that'll leave you grinning from ear to ear, and just about glad to be alive.

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Sun Apr 02 2023
5

A return to form for Costello and an album I absolutely love. This is singer songwriting at its finest - a fascinating glimpse into boyhood and other times. The band are in absolute sync, Costello fires his witty, intelligent and snappy lyrics throughout, frequently finding moments of loathing, passion and compassion. An artist evolved, mature and confident in his music.

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Fri Oct 20 2023
5

Elvis Costello is a treasure. Truly unique. Didn't appreciate his music as a kid (dumb kid) but have since learned to be better.

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Sun Mar 10 2024
5

Before listening: I know a handful of Elvis Costello songs and I do like them. Mind you, other than She, the songs I know are from the 70s and 80s. I don't know what they sound like in 1994. After listening: I absolutely loved it! Some of these melodies are the best I've heard and even though the album goes for nearly an hour I enjoyed the whole thing.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
4

Pretty good, that guy does know what he's doing, just didn't like it that much. Favorite song probably was 20% amnesia

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

Really good album that I've never listened to start to finish.

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Wed Feb 10 2021
4

I should listen to the lyrics. I do like it though.

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Mon Apr 12 2021
4

I want to compare this to other Elvis Costello albums, and it's far from my favorite. But it's a great album overall.

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Sat May 01 2021
4

8/10, pretty enjoyable, another good Elvis Costello album

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Sat May 01 2021
4

lots of really weird but funny songs on here. fun listen but i found it a little long. 8/10

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

Pretty good, will definitely revisit Elvis Costello. I had heard a few albums when I was in middle school, but hadn't listened to it since. I can tell he was influence for a lot of other bands I've heard, namely Wilco.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
4

une excellence prestation de Gerard de Palmas

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Sat Jun 26 2021
4

I love this man's voice. A pleasure to listen to, and one I'm likely to revisit, despite not having an individual track stick in my head.

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Sun Mar 28 2021
4

Liked this a lot better than the last one, songs were catchy

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Wed May 19 2021
4

overall thoughts: woww i enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I was gonna. really like his voice. would definitely have to give another listen for the lyrics. sounded like it was good writing. not sure how to describe the genre, like a rock, pop type vibe. not 1 bad song on here, tho a couple of tracks I'd have to relisten. 4/5. fave tracks: my science fic twin, pony st, kinder murder, 13 steps lead down, 20% amnesia, sulky girl, all the rage, favorite hour

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Sun Aug 15 2021
4

I like me some Elvis Costello. It's weird and eclectic in a way that works for me as opposed to weird and off-putting.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
4

Good album. I really liked This is Hell. I enjoy Elvis Costello, but his voice gets a little annoying to me after a whole album.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
4

Favs: This Is Hell, You Tripped At Every Step Mehs: Pony St. Always enjoyed Elvis Costello. I think his voice works better on slow, coffeehouse stuff. When the songs get fast and tinkle-y, like "Pony St.," his voice grates on me. But some of his stuff like "This Is Hell" and "Everyday I Write the Book" (not on this album, but my favorite) is excellent.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
4

Didnt expect to enjoy this as much as I did.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

I liked it. I'm a Costello fan.

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Thu Oct 21 2021
4

Bursting out with all the classic Costello trademarks- pounding drums, lyrical piano flourishes (always a suggestion of Abba in there), Bruce Thomas octave flourishes on the bass (on some tracks - on the rest it is either Nick Lowe or Elvis himself stepping through the smoke. pink Precision at the ready, saying "Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be Bruce Thomas out the Attractions"). As always with Elvis, he spits out lyrics packed with tension, about women who are out of reach, of frustration and exclusion, and adds McCartney-esque flourishes to sweeten the rage. Clever-clever, as always "but its by Julie Andrew not by John Coltrane" - you need to join the dots yourself to get "My Favourite Things". Often the protagonists in the songs have a misogynistic outlook similar to the Stones on Aftermath. "Sulky Girl" - "You're talking like a Duchess but you're still a waitress". Great lyrical specificity, such as the use of Hungerford Bridge in London's Brilliant Parade. I think my issue with Elvis is that he had made quite a lot of quite good albums, which can end up sounding much of a muchness - that's probably on me rather than on him! 4 stars

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Wed Feb 02 2022
4

I think Elvis Costello is great, and this is a really strong album. My only minor complaint is sometimes his songs veer into maudlin, Broadway musical sounding affairs, but mostly it's great. 4 stars.

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Sun Feb 13 2022
4

The album didn’t grab me at first. However, once it got going I began to enjoy it more. Elvis Costello’s mix of rock, pop, punk, and a bit of jazz makes his music stand out. His use of melody is very interesting and he is clearly not afraid to genre hop. There is some filler on this album, but when it’s good, it’s really good

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Thu Mar 03 2022
4

Good stuff!!!! Costello’s songwriting is proven here. Amazing melodies and song structure. The execution instrumentally was also top notch. The Attractions are tight as hell. The sounds weren’t great though :( Costello was way to far up front. I couldn’t hear super precisely what the rest of the band was doing. I got used to it pretty quick so it wasn’t distracting past the first few songs. It’s still a shame though because the instrumentals were clearly great. I wish I could really focus on them. I do really enjoy Costello’s voice but his accent is THICK on this one. With the vocals so far front in the mix, I’d like to at least sing along to the words. With his enunciation (or lack there of) I wasn’t sure what he was saying a good chunk of the time. That might just be a me thing, though. I’m sure his lyrics were good, too. Make me listen to them, or don’t. Don’t make me swim up stream. Either way, I didn’t feel like the album dragged at all (UNLIKE LEILA APPARENTLY). Everything felt appropriate and worth while. Only complaint is the mixing and some of the sonics.

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Fri Mar 11 2022
4

Straight forward rock record. In typical Elvis Costello fashion the songs are sarcastic, bitter, vitriolic, and with just a little bit of regret thrown in. Costello once said something like he only knew two emotions, anger and embarrassment. His songs can be so specific but relatable.

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Mon Mar 14 2022
4

This is the best of the many Elvia Costello albums I’ve heard on here so far. No hits, just great songwriting!

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Wed Mar 16 2022
4

I've not seen much reason to go out of my way to listen to Elvis Costello in the past but this one hit me just right today with its fun tunes and cheeky lyrics. I had a great time and want to keep it around.

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Thu Mar 31 2022
4

Great easy listening album. Has a unique voice with an alternative sound. I like all the sounds created in the album. The pony street is awesome.

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Fri Apr 08 2022
4

Elvis Costello nearly always works for me. I've never actually listened to this one before though, as I don't usually go past the 80's with him. This sounds like a nice return to form. His best work is always with The Attractions.

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Fri Apr 08 2022
4

I like some of these songs. I want to like him more than I do, because he seems smart and funny and charming, but there seems to be an irony there that's not letting me in. Or he's just much smarter than me and I don't get it. I particularly liked "This is Hell" and am hearing what I interpret as a Beatles, or similar influence, in the use of background vocals which I find amusing.

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Thu Apr 14 2022
4

I listened to this one twice in a row. I've always been a fan of Costello's early stuff but hadn't heard much of anything beyond the 80s. These are really strong, am I crazy? I'm surprised I've never heard a single one of these. This is Hell was a real stand out for me. I like it.

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Thu Apr 28 2022
4

I consider myself an Elvis Costello fan, however I started to lose interest around the time of Imperial Bedroom and King of America. I came back for Blood and Chocolate which I thought was very good. The rest of the post Get Happy was either ignored or disliked. This album was ignored and it shouldn't have been. From the opening song I could see Elvis was ready to rock. I started to wonder...did he bring back the Attractions? Then the 3rd song starts; 13 Steps and that unmistakable organ sound of Steve Nieve. Yes The Attractions are back! Lots of strong songs with the unmistakable EC wit in the lyrics. Particularly strong is Sulky Girl. I'm glad I found this album. Not sure it belongs on this list but it does belong in my collection. 4 🌟

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Fri Jun 03 2022
4

Has some fun pep to it at times

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Thu Jul 07 2022
4

I dig it. I like Costello's sound, I love his unconventional and quirky vocal stylings, and I love his lyricism. You never get a predictable love song or rock and roll dirge; there's always rich layers of complexity and nuance in the songwriting that give the listener so much to mull over. Especially if you're a lyrics first listener like myself. This isn't the best possible iteration of Costello though. This is someone who knows himself, knows what he's capable of and delivers it expertly. But it isn't Costello at his most powerful and impressive magnitude.

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Wed Jul 13 2022
4

First time listening. I dig it....but I'm a huge fan

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Fri Aug 05 2022
4

First eight songs were great. I'm not a big fan of his singing, but I really like the melodies. I didn't like many of the tracks after Sulky Girl. I think the album would've been much better if the number of tracks was cut in half. 15 songs was a bit much. I didn't think it had much more to say. I still have to give it a few more spins before deciding if I want to add this to my library. Highlights: Pony St, Kinder Murder, 13 Steps Lead Down, This Is Hell, You Tripped At Every Step, Still Too Soon to Know

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Wed Aug 17 2022
4

It's a fresh sounding album chock full of well crafted pop songs with catchy musical hooks. I struggled to hear a lot of the lyrics but there are some great song titles. Probably a little bit too long (or maybe a tad too many songs) but the quality remains high and the production has warmth and a bit of bite. It was well worth a listen (and close to getting 5)

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

Good, some stand out tracks.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
4

Iloinen yllätys! Mitä enemmän kuuntelin tätä albumia, sitä enemmän tykästyin siihen. Lisäsin muutamia kappaleita soittolistalle.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
4

Elvis Costello is the coolest Elvis.

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Sun Nov 06 2022
4

Another type of rock and roll sound. I enjoyed it.

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Thu Nov 17 2022
4

Definitely a songwriter album. Lyrics and attitude are on full display and nearly everything is pretty engaging though not always melodic. Though the energy/shift is nice on 20% Amnesia, that is pretty much the only song that doesn't work for me. Love Sulky Girl.

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Thu Dec 01 2022
4

Pick zawierajacy potezna jojowa referencje w tym samym dniu w ktorym dropuje ostatnia czesc szostego parta, przypadek, nie sadze, ale jestem nim pozytywnie zaskoczony, bo jestem prawie pewny ze przed dzisiejszym pickiem nie slyszalem nic od pana Costello, a ma on prawdziwie potezna dyskografie, gdzie Brutal Youth z 94 plasuje sie gdzies w srodku stawki jesli patrzec na roczniki wydan, gatunkowo slychac ze jest to granie rokowe z mocno popowym spinem, bo jest to muzyka mocno przystepna dla ucha, ale jednak nie nazwalbym jej w zadnym wypadku radiowa, a to za sprawa tego jak pisane sa kawalki, ktore przepelnione sa subtelnym sarkazmem, roznorodna tematyka, ciekawym prowadzeniem opowiesci i barwnym jej kreowaniem, dodajac do tego charyzme i to cos w wokalu jakim operuje Elvis, ktory z poczatku wydawal mi sie dosc generycznie brzmiacym glosem i dziwna maniera wymawiania niektorych zwrotow, no ale to przeciez brytyjski angielski, ktory jednak jest przystepny, jednak po godzinnym przesluchaniu plyty, a potem jej riplejowaniu jakos mi on siadl, co do instrumentali sam Costello gra glownie gitarowo, choc na jednym traku chwyta rowniez za bas czy pianino, a banda ktora go wspiera sa The Attractions z ktorymi juz gral wczesniej oraz pan Nick Lowe na basie, nie wiem czemu ale mialem wrazenie, ze material brzmi zbyt hamerykansko jak na rokowe popowanie z wysp, glownie za sprawa gitarki i klawiszy, ktore robia robote, zwlaszcza na takich utworach jak this is hell, ktory jest zdecydowanie hajlajtowym fragmentem plyty, ktorego nie moglo zabraknac na plejce, razem z kinder murder i just about glad, ktore daja wiecej spotlajtu dla gitarowania Costellowego

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Wed Dec 07 2022
4

"Brutal Youth" is the 14th studio album from Elvis Costello with either the Attractions, the Imposters or the Costello Show. This is the first one with the Attractions since 1986's "Blood and Chocolate" and a few songs sound like they could have been on that album. Nick Lowe actually appears on about half the songs playing bass. Most of this album is vintage Costello: great lyrics, storytelling and a rockin' solid band. The keyboards open "Pony St." and the band kicks in hard. Drummer Pete Thomas is just killin' it. A daughter with wild parents. Costello tells a grim story in "Kinder Murder." Great off-key guitar. A guy in the army impregnates a woman, forces an abortion and then kills himself. No light-heartedness here. The third song "13 Steps Lead Down" continues the rock. A searing guitar. Pounding drums. I think about falling off the 12th-step addiction program with the 13th step being the falling off. "You Tripped at Every Step" is a slower, sadder song. Piano led. A story about an alcoholic girlfriend possibly his then wife Cait O'Riordan. Back to rockin' and even angry Costello in "20% Amnesia." Costello screaming. People forgetting the small things, the 20%, including what and who to vote for. "My Science Fiction Twin" is more classic Costello. Organ/piano led. Driving rhythm section. Nice guitar placement. A division between private and public persona. A piano ballad in "Favourite Hour" concludes the album. Costello crooning. Time passing by and death. We finally get the "Brutal Youth" lyric. I honestly kind of gave up on any new Elvis Costello after 1989's "Spike." My loss as this is an outstanding album and stands up with his 80's best.

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Fri Dec 09 2022
4

I assume his first two albums are on here and those will get 5s. This one is not quite there for me but maybe it’s just because I never heard any of these songs before. My favorite was “You Tripped At Every Step”.

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Sun Dec 25 2022
4

An aged Costello is a bit tastier than the rest, methinks.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
4

I like Elvis Costello. I think I have one album and one compilation album of his. Brutal Youth was all new music for me. I enjoyed the album in general. "Pony St.", "This is Hell", and "My Science Fiction Twin" were the tracks I rated highest. These tracks are good examples of the unconvential lyrics from Costello which can keep my interest and a cleverness that can make me smile. I would listen to this album again.

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

I enjoyed this well enough, but I gotta question its inclusion on the list, given there are 5 other Elvis Costello albums on there already. It's not like this album represents him going off in a whole new direction, is it? Fave track - "Sulky Girl"

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

I quite enjoyed this one but also learnt this is one of 6 in the list! Wow. Anyway, enjoyed 13 Steps Lead down, 20% Amnesia, and Sulky Girl.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
4

This is definitely Elvis' "middle-age" record. The songs are safe and pretty. His voice sounds incredible. Not much that resembles the earlier post-punk masterpieces. Ok, it started to show up there about halfway through, but I stand by my earlier assessment.

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Fri Jan 27 2023
4

undeniably enjoyable, but definitely a bit weaker than a lot of Costello’s other work -8/10

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Sun Jan 29 2023
4

Back to his ‘70s best. Sharp, cynical lyrics and catchy music. Very good.

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Thu Feb 02 2023
4

The first song, Pony Street, sounds like something off Born to Run, both in the vocals and the twinkly music as well. In fact, much of this album sounds like a poor man's Bruce Springsteen. I enjoyed Brutal Youth.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
4

I feel like this album demonstrated how influential Costello is in modern music. Really enjoyed it.

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Wed Feb 15 2023
4

He's had an enormous output, and is still going! Really enjoyed hearing this album of not-the-big-singles.

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Thu Feb 16 2023
4

the more i listen the more i dig elvis c, he’s consistently inventive and creative but he doesn’t lose the thread of hook and melody

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Thu Feb 23 2023
4

Classic Elvis Costello Really good Pop/Rock Sounds like Pop/Punk at times Excellent musical arrangements Good Album

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Sun Feb 26 2023
4

All the Rage and Sulky Girl are stars.

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Wed Apr 19 2023
4

I’m a big Costello fan. I’ve rarely missed seeing him when he tours here, going back to the 1978 Regent concert. He’s always terrific live, whether solo or with a band. But his recorded work over that 45 year period hasn’t always done it for me. This has not been an album I’ve revisited much since it’s release, But after a couple of plays I have found a few diamonds. 13 Steps Lead Down is the only song here that I remember staying in his live repertoire for quite a while. It’s like several tracks on this album that are reminiscent of earlier Costello songs. My Science Fiction Twin begins a lot like Pump It Up. Just About Glad is very much like an early song of his that I just can’t nail. And as usual, he borrows from the classics - he claimed London’s Brilliant Parade was a Kinks tribute, but the opening line is straight from Cream’s World Of Pain. I do like the ballads, Still To Soon To Know, All The Rage & the epic concluding track, Favourite Hour, which spawns the album’s title, & is reminiscent of the mid-80’s singles he put out as The Imposter. So in the end, this album grew on me after all these years.

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Fri Apr 28 2023
4

Really good album, if not one of his best. Problem with artists as prolific as the 'other Elvis' is that unless you've been in on him since early it's tough to get a grip on the back catalogue. But I've always liked him and the sooner I see him in concert the better.

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