Elvis Costello Janet Maslin - Essay

Janet Maslin

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Costello writes songs that are elusive at times, bursting with bright phrases you can't always catch…. He sings about violence with a vibrant romanticism, and about love with murder in his heart. He writes short, blunt compositions that don't pretend to be artful, though they are, and don't demand to be taken seriously, even though they're more stunning and substantial than anything rock has produced in a good long while. He doubles back on himself at every turn, and you're forced to take it or leave it….

There's only one way to listen to Elvis Costello's music: his way. The songs are so brief they barrel right by, leaving an impression of jubilant and spiteful energies at war with each other....

(The entire section is 470 words.)