Sunday, October 19, 2003

enjoying, very very much, Costello's NORTH

In some ways it makes me think maybe this album is only for hardcore fans, those of us who hear his voice, remember how certain albums reflect some period of our past. Well, perhaps that sounds a bit, um conceited (well, I get it, the rest of you jerks don't). It may actually appeal more to folks who don't have that history of enjoying the early stuff, the punkwave, or pop sounds that were so singable and yet so clever that the lyrics and phrasing just grabbed you. I suppose it doing well on the JAZZ charts should give you some indication of the album's sound - not that you'd think "JAZZ" when you hear it, not at all; but more how most of the best vocalists you'll find in the jazz section of your record store. The album is really just his amazing voice, accompanied of course by some great musicians. It occurred to me this week the similiarity between him and my other favorite (Bjork) - it's this ability to go the range from screaming joys and frustrations to whispering little vulnerable secrets, and mixing it all up as needed. If I had to pick a previous album it comes closest to, perhaps King of America, not really the style, but more in how much the quality of his voice, and ability to find just the right whisper, or not-quite-reached note, that has you sad and comtemplative, yet somehow nourished and not quite so alone - like an old friend holding you tight around the shoulders, saying "I know, I know."