For the Stars

For the Stars

by Anne Sofie von Otter


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For the Stars

Continuing his fascinating streak of collaborations -- a list that already includes Paul McCartney, the Brodsky Quartet, and Burt Bacharach -- Elvis Costello joins forces with a truly surprising muse: the magnificent Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. The sophisticated result, For the Stars, is an otherworldly affair -- call it rarified chamber pop -- that focuses on von Otter's soaring, swooning voice and Costello's stately arrangements. The duo embrace songs written by some of pop's finest acts, including the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and ABBA, as well as the work of songwriters Tom Waits, Ron Sexsmith, and Costello himself, who contributes two new pieces: the gorgeous "No Wonder" and the twinkling title track. While some may be distracted by von Otter's diva-esque diction, her crystalline interpretations bring the powerful melodies here front and center. At her best on jazzy numbers -- the vibraphone-enhanced "The Other Woman" and "Shamed into Love" (which Costello originally did with Rubén Blades) -- von Otter also serves as a graceful counterpoint during duets with Costello and his endearingly ragged pipes. Together they work wonders wrapping their voices around Waits's "Broken Bicycles" and the Brian Wilson/Tony Asher Pet Sounds classic, "You Still Believe in Me." For the Stars may shock Costello fans who pine for early Elvis's high-energy days -- not to mention opera purists who think Anne Sofie sings best in Italian -- but the album ranks among the new wave bard's most successful side projects. It not only showcases the elegance and versatility of von Otter's voice but also provides further evidence that Costello is one of pop's most daring talents -- a deft arranger, sensitive producer, and a songwriter whose compositions are starting to sound a lot like standards.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/10/2001
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028946953020
catalogNumber: 469530
Rank: 103768

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Anne Sofie von Otter   Primary Artist,Vocals
Elvis Costello   Organ,Vocals,Guitar (Baritone)
Mattias Hellden   Electric Cello
Sebastian Öberg   Electric Cello
Örjan Högberg   Electric Violin,Viola
Steve Nieve   Organ,Piano,Celeste
Benny Andersson   Piano,Accordion,Synclavier
Michael Blair   Percussion,Bass Drums,Vibraphone
Billy Bremner   Acoustic Guitar
Svante Henryson   Cello,Double Bass
Magnus Persson   Percussion,Bass Drums,Marimbas,Vibraphone
Paul Pritchard   Horn
Pat White   Flugelhorn
Bebe Risenfors   Clarinet,Accordion,Tenor Saxophone
Kalle Moraeus   Violin
Johan Lindström   Acoustic Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Elvis Costello   Producer
Anne Sofie von Otter   Liner Notes
Fred Munzmaier   Art Direction
Janne Hansson   Engineer
Fleshquartet   Arranger

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For the Stars 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anne-Sophie von Otter is not well-known in the United States, but her fame elsewhere is effortlessly justified on ''For the Stars''. For those who appreciate a refreshing, clear soprano voice and insightful, melodious songs, this CD is a must. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another class act from Elvis. Smooth, heartfelt arrangements. Interesting selection of terrific songs. Deserves to be heard by all music lovers - something here for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago