When I Was Cruel [Bonus CD]

When I Was Cruel [Bonus CD]

by Elvis Costello

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When I Was Cruel [Bonus CD]

Given the flurry of activity from Elvis Costello at the turn of the century -- concerts, guest appearances, reissues, a movie role that was barely seen outside of off-hours on BET -- it's hard to believe that he spent four years without releasing an album of new compositions...and if you don't count the Bacharach collaboration, it's been a full six years since his last album. Either way, it was the longest stretch of time between albums in Costello's career, capping off a decade of records where he seemed to determine to flaunt his versatility, range, and ambition, which may be the reason why the focused, stripped-down artiness and resurgent acerbic wit sounds particularly fresh on When I Was Cruel. As such, it's easy to be tempted to call the record a return to form, but it's not an accurate assessment, not least because it's not as strong as Painted From Memory. It is accurate to call it the most Costello Costello record since probably Blood & Chocolate -- one that maintains a consistent tone, bristles with nasty humor, and is filled with carefully written lyrics (some could call them labored) and knowing, clever musicality. Since it's a post-Froom, post-Ribot production, it's murky and hazy, with muffled drums, shoebox guitars, obscured loops, and angled arrangements all signifying that while this is his first pop album in years, it's still a serious experience (but fortunately much livelier than the Froom productions, and not nearly as mannered or affected). In other words, it's exactly what it was supposed to be and it's successful on those terms, but that shouldn't be mistaken as a creative rebirth along the lines of, say, Love & Theft, or a record that will play outside of the cult, since the sound and approach is pretty insular. Given all the care that was put in the production, the variety of the music, and the craft of the lyrics, it's no surprise that there are memorable moments -- whether it's the horns on "Episode of Blonde" or the dynamite guitar on "Tear off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)," -- but they're moments in songs, not songs themselves. Each song is so tightly wound, only those who automatically listen to new Costello records obsessively upon release will unravel their mysteries. Those listeners will find plenty to obsess over and will be satisfied, since, outside of the Bacharach album, it's his best in a long time. But in order to know that, you will have to have diligently listened to everything from Spike on -- and if you got off the bus around then, it's harder than ever to get back on. A double CD was issued in the UK with one extra track, "Oh Well" on the first disc and nine tracks on the second disc including live versions of "Dust," "15 Petals," "Uncomplicated,"

Product Details

Release Date: 01/07/2003
Label: Universal Import
UPC: 0044006389424
catalogNumber: 063894

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elvis Costello   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Electric Bass,Cymbals,Electric Guitar,Harmonium,Harpsichord,Vocals,Background Vocals,Melodica,Kalimba,spanish guitar,fender rhodes,Piano (Grand),Fender Jazz Bass,Fender Telecaster,Guitar Loops,Guitar (Rickenbacker),Guitar (Baritone)
Marc Ribot   Guitar
Steve Nieve   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Clavinet,Melodica,Vibes,Piano (Grand),Pianette,Vox Continental
Joey Baron   Drums
Anthony Coleman   Piano
Elena Barere   Strings,Concert Master
Greg Cohen   Bass
Davey Faragher   Bass,Bass Guitar,Hand Clapping,Fender Jazz Bass
Barry Finclair   Violin
Curtis Fowlkes   Trombone
Steve Kennedy   Background Vocals
Jeanne LeBlanc   Cello
Richard Locker   Cello
Roy Nathanson   Alto Saxophone
Renaud Pion   Clarinet,Soprano Saxophone,Cor anglais
Richard Sortomme   Violin
Pete Thomas   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Hand Clapping,Shaker
Jay Rodriguez   Tenor Saxophone
Vincent Segal   Cello
Leo Pearson   Tabla,Tambourine
Vince Lionti   Viola
Enrico DiCecco   Violin

Technical Credits

Elvis Costello   Sound Effects,Producer,Contributor,Horn Arrangements
Steve Nieve   Engineer,Remixing,String Ensemble
Davey Faragher   Remixing
Kevin Killen   Engineer
Pete Thomas   Remixing
Imposter   Producer
Steve Averill   Art Direction
Francois Cousin   Engineer
Amelia Stein   Portrait Photography
Ciaran Cahill   Producer,Engineer,Remixing,Sequencing Editor
Leo Pearson   Producer,Remixing,Rhythm Production
Gill Taylor   Contributor
Kieran Lynch   Producer,Remixing
Geoffrey Parsons   Composer

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