Review Revue: Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Goodbye Cruel World


Yes, yes, we all love to delve into those obscure bands that twelve people knew about when they were around and now nobody remembers, but sometimes it’s fun to check in with an old favorite – a legend, even. It is in that spirit that this week I bring you 1984’s Goodbye Cruel World, the eighth album by Elvis Costello & the Attractions (and Elvis’s ninth album overall). While it seems many Elvis purists regard this as one of his worst albums, it holds a special place in my heart, as I vividly remember sitting in front of the TV watching Elvis and Daryl Hall in the video for “The Only Flame in Town” (as well as “Everyday I Write the Book,” from the previous album Punch the Clock). Ahhhh, memories. Anyway, it seems that even the super-cool-dudes at KCMU had room in their hearts for this oddball of an album:

“Elvis takes the change of direction he began on Punch the Clock one step further, reveling in subtlety, with soft musical touches & lyrical twists. ‘Peace in our Time’ was originally released as an import 45, under the name of the ‘Imposter.’ OH! Daryl Hall is on ‘The Only Flame in Town.'”

“Elvis is king!”

“This guy speaks truth.”

“This is fucking awesome. For rockers, try ‘Sour Milk-Cow Blues’ or ‘The Deportees Club.’ Yow! PS — Where’s Steve Nieve? Huh?” [Keyboardist Steve Nieve is on this album, he’s just credited as “Maurice Worm” — that’s him on the keys in the video.]

“‘Green’ from Scritti Politti sings on ‘I Wanna Be Loved.'”

“Elvis certainly is King, and has been ever since he first recorded “Hound Dog” back in the fifties. Why you chose to make that comment on this album is something we can only wonder about.”

“I can only wonder about you, Neil…”

“How come EC always surprises you every album?”

“Damn nice.”

“In answer to JS’s question: Because E.C. is a true artist.”

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