Synopses & Reviews
Here to stay, and recognized by Burt Bacharach as "a great survivor," Elvis Costello has produced a large and significant body of work. This is the first book on Costello that avoids chronological presentation in favor of a thematic approach focused on music and words over the nearly 30 years that separate "Radio Sweetheart" and "Country Darkness." In addition to engaging with the songs Costello has performed as a rock musician, the book features informed discussions of more recent albums, such as Painted from Memory, North, and Il Sogno. Also considered are the essays Costello has written to support CD reissues of his recordings, a substantial body of writing that approaches a critical autobiography. The book demonstrates that on all fronts--music, words, voice, instrumental resources--Costello's work broadens and deepens, as he sets himself the task of expanding the range of expressive material available.
As part of the "Icons of Pop Music" series, this book looks at what made Costello such an icon. Griffiths (Oxford Brookes Univ., UK) documents Costello's rise to popularity since he emerged in the 1970s alternative pop/punk scene in London. To illustrate how Costello is unique among iconic musicians, the author looks in particular at how artists in prior decades influenced Costello's music and lyrical content. Griffiths analyzes Costello's music in a variety of ways: for example, he looks at Costello's approach to music, his vocal style, the crossover to classical music, his harmonics, and his poetic accomplishments (for the last, he uses a method created by Larry David Smith). Griffiths also considers Costello's lyrics, both the political and the romantic, and even inspects his liner notes on his own albums years after their initial release. Last, Griffiths scrutinizes those who have written about Costello's music, including prominent critics Nick Kent, Greil Marcus, and Robert Christgau. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.Choice, January 2009 Indiana University Press
"Griffiths... documents Costello's rise to popularity since he emerged in the 1970s alternative pop/punk scene in London.... Recommended." --Choice Indiana University Press
A thematic approach to Costello and his work from "My Aim Is True" to "River in Reverse"
About the Author
Dai Griffiths is Principal Lecturer in Music at Oxford Brookes University. He has published papers on popular music, including the history of pop music since punk, cover versions, and the role of words in songs. He is author of Radiohead: OK Computer. He lives in Oxford, England.
Table of Contents
2. Making Music
3. Writing Words
5. Writing Prose