Elvis Costello – National Ransom

On November 15, 2010, in Bluegrass, Country, Country Rock, Jazz, Review, Rock, Vaudeville, by Miguel Rodriguez
Artist: Elvis Costello
Album: National Ransom
Producer: T Bone Burnett
Label: Hear Music
Release: November 2, 2010

Rating: 8.7 RockRolls

 
When you've been in the music industry for a while, you would imagine it will be difficult to remain as fresh and relevant as when you've started. Each passing year and album brings criticism comparing an artist's direction to "the last album." But for Elvis Costello, after thirty-three studio albums in as many years, this has never really been the case. A master of nearly every popular musical genre, Costello's storied career as a musician, vocalist, and songwriter has traveresed and enchanted the musical roadmap of almost every style imaginable (we're still waiting on that rap crossover). With National Ransom Costello takes us across the breadth of his musical prowess, jumping between styles and emotion in an often dark, but always honest, concept-like album.


Part of the power of National Ransom comes from a localization for the inspiration of each track. Costello has included in the liner notes dates and locations as the setting for each song, and fitting the tune and mood appropriately into a time warp of a track list. Some of the references are fairly obvious when coupled with their subject matter, as in Stations Of The Cross (In An Undisclosed Location, Possibly New Orleans, 2005). An obvious allusion to the flooding after Hurricane Katrina, Costello croons:

The water came up to the eaves
You'd think someone had opened a valve
It's too soon to stay now and too late to leave
So spare your remorse all the way up to Calvary
Others are more subtle like Tucson, Arizona, 1978 on Five Small Words. Fully understanding the specificity of each track is a journey that is just as entertaining as the album itself. In this manner, the album almost fits as a concept album, but the songs are so varied and unfocused, it doesn't follow a concept. And despite this, the songs are all strikingly familiar and belong in this collection together.

If the album had a theme, it would be catastrophe. The album cover features a wolf in late-Victorian business garb, sprinting with a bag of flaming money in front of oil fields and the unfinished pyramid with the Eye of Providence atop it found on the back of the one dollar bill. It shouldn't take much to infer commentary about the economic crisis. but if the album cover isn't enough to get the point across, the chorus in the first track, which happens to be the title track, should clarify it for you:

They’re running wild
Just like some childish tantrum
Meanwhile we’re working every day
Paying off the National Ransom

The opening track barrages the ears with Attraction-esque country rock. And it should come as no surprise, Pete Thomas lends drumwork to the track (and to the album whenever drums might be present) and Steve Nieve rocks the Vox organ while The Sugarcanes (with whom Elvis is currently touring) round out the necessary bass (Dennis Crouch) and violin (Stuart Duncan), not to mention producer T Bone Burnett on reverse piano (but, what is an Elvis Costello album (or an Alison Krauss or an Robert Plant album) without T Bone Burnett involved somehow?). Topping it off, Marc Ribot screams out a sharp and pointed guitar solo over the track. I could go on naming artists appearing on the record, but with over 30 musicians, I could write a review with just their names. Names like Vince Gill, Leon Russell and Jerry Douglas.

Excuse me while I pick up those other names I just dropped.

Elvis jumps from the rocking "National Ransom" to the somber and acoustic, vaudevillian "Jimmie Standing In The Rain" in an instant, but not out of step. Darrell Leonard's trumpet joins Duncan's fiddle on the track, which, along with Costello's voice and Ribot's lead guitar paint a very intimate conversation among the group. The track's titular character, Jimmie, is a down-on-his-luck travelling musician, dismissed by lovers and trying in vain to peddle "a counterfeited prairie lullaby in a colliery town." A drunkard, sick and hopelessly lonely, Jimmie snaps to the realization that the only situation that matters is the one he's in currently; he's standing out in the rain. Costello's characters all seem to reach this revelation in their search for redemption. In the same style as "Jimmie Standing in the Rain," but contrasting tone is "A Slow Drag For Josephine," two-and-a-half minutes of playful fingerstyle guitar opposite Ribot's banjo with vocal harmony served up as wonderfully crafted dish by Mike Compton (who also provides mandolin on the track). But Costello wants us to know this album isn't just about pre-1930s character tunes.

Country offerings like "Five Small Words" and the honky-tonk-bound "I Lost You" are classic while the country/western ballad "That's Not The Part Of Him You're Leaving" speak directly to the heart without being cheesy or campy. It would be unfair however to classify this as a bluegrass/country/western album though, as these tracks contrast even further with the remainder of the album.

A number of headier tracks balance out the uptempo flavor of the rock and country tracks. "Stations Of The Cross" is a powerfull jazz-like ballad pounded out with pained lyrics reminding us that we are complicit in human suffering if we dismiss our knowledge of them as easily as we turn the channel on our televisions. "Church Underground" follows the tortured lifetime of a struggling actress whose tragic, but hopeful story is not far from familiar gossip rags. And the sweet lullaby melody of "You Hung The Moon" sing sadly of a family stripped of its brother or patriarch ripped from their lives by the Great War never to return. Oddly this song is placed in the middle of the album when it lends itself to close the record more than the jazz-standard-emulating, "A Voice In The Dark" with its Big Easy swing and open-endedness which begs a relisten to the album more than offering closure. Perhaps that's more Costello's intent.

National Ransom is filled with tracks that Costello lovers will be dying to hear, and that people from any walk of life can relate to. Intellectually deep, lyrically complex, musically rich, and always full of life (on its upswings, and its downs), this album offers more than just thirty-three years of craftsmanship in the making. It is a solid, honest work of art that will bring more appreciation with each listen.

8.7 RockRolls
 

One Response to Elvis Costello – National Ransom

  1. Last but not the least; you should get a positive feeling about the facility, horses, and the staff.
    Online retailers are beginning to take advantage of their lack of stock by being able to order to meet consumers needs be they from high popularity sports like football or snooker,
    to lesser played sports like croquet. Correctly adjusted and securely clasped blanket
    doesn’t give a horse any inconveniences, but the service life of a blanket thus is strongly reduced.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



remeron visual snow risperdal quicklet cmi vimovo eller voltaren come posso acquistare cialis monitoraggio dopo clomid adalat crono 20 in gravidanza propecia non funziona comprare viagra in italia aciclovir ginecologico allegra d in pregnancy medicamento generico de zovirax molisana via cipro roma immagini monete euro cipro risperdal e cefalea brevetto viagra scaduto note flauto dolce la vedova allegra diflucan per prevenire la candida zovirax generico crema voltaren ofta collirio costo arcoxia 90 mg indicazioni terapeutiche vacanze cipro forum remeron come agisce voltaren vs advil venta strattera tinidazole di indonesia caratteristiche seroquel aciclovir è un antibiotico immagini cialis risperdal et abilify flomax mal di gola e febbre voltaren lasonil fastum gel ciprofloxacin pharmazie quanti sono gli abitanti di cipro association chibro proscar xatral costo arcoxia 60 trazodone nedir trileptal 300 posologia anticholinergica atrovent terapia supressiva aciclovir cialis funziona costo questa allegra gioventù serie tv alesse 21 period remedio generico do viagra nome voltaren def 50 medicament prednisolone arrow acquistare levitra on line zoloft serve ricetta il viagra aiuta voltaren gel diclofenac sodium topical gel 1 cialis effetti erezione cialis rischio infarto lasix in gravidanza dr allegra palermo via cipro 61 voltaren resinat 150 zoloft aumenta l'ansia quanto costa il farmaco zoloft naltrexone carte blanche viagra uso veterinario tegretol e lamictal viagra fine del brevetto minocin pillola anticoncezionale euronics torre allegra casa allegra gordola lariam somministrazione feldene sublingual posologia cerotto medicato voltaren nitrofurantoin mono std voltaren compresse cosa serve motilium sciroppo foglietto illustrativo does meclizine cause dizziness voltaren halftime zyrtec generico prezzo viagra fitoterapico inr calcolo dosaggio coumadin la vedova allegra a trieste levitra orosolubile bayer prezzo voltaren sr 50 voltaren gel for myofascial pain generico do arcoxia 90 viagra e charlie augmentin bambini sciroppo foglio illustrativo sostituti naturali del cialis lincocin mal di denti allegra antialergico bula scadenza del cialis voltaren vin ricrescita con propecia finasteride dopo i 40 anni normal protonix dosage cymbalta nell'anziano maria cipro nifedipine procardia pregnancy flomax quante al giorno ansia da prestazione con viagra trazodone for bipolar atrovent farmacologia smettere di prendere risperdal propecia generico farmacia voltaren resinat generikum controindicazioni all'uso del viagra digoxin farmacodinamia augmentin pediatrico bugiardino zovirax per varicella bambini volo orio cipro finasteride blocca caduta dopo quanto fa effetto diflucan 150 lamisil torrinomedica el voltaren tiene corticoides il clomid effetti collaterali ultram and escitalopram vesicare detrol comparison risperdal et strattera omnicef diverticulitis comprar viagra generico por internet diffusione nome allegra viagra generico de 50mg zoloft effetti da sospensione sinemet farmaco generico quanti tipi di cialis esistono propecia vitamin d überdosis voltaren resinat cialis da farmacie italiane anafranil calo libido vacina depo provera chlorothiazide lasix bioidentical prednisone propranolol pill identifier cyclobenzaprine escitalopram aciclovir pensa prezzo zofran colonoscopy prep viagra und sperma prometrium 200 dopo quanto arriva il ciclo come agisce il remeron farmacologia del nexium da vedere cipro nord sempati hotel cipro viagra impotentie voltaren gel renal failure proventil generic diflucan 150 e antibiotico escitalopram venlafaxine combination office pong voltaren allegra brigata animazione roma luvox causa insonia zyprexa effetti positivi lariam fegato mitose avec colchicine come usare ventolin spray suprax dizziness viagra costo en peru cipro testo farmacodinamia de la depo provera ampicillin chorioamnionitis nome generico do pamelor voltaren crema e ibuprofeno cipro norvegia risultato viagra naturale erboristeria voltaren pastile 50 mg prospect principe ama vedova allegra cefixime ornidazole suspension per cipro serve passaporto impotenz durch risperdal flomax e aspirina insieme lo zovirax è un antibiotico comprare viagra dall'europa cialis generico su internet pacchetti viaggi cipro albuterol proventil nebulizer la vedova allegra a rimini voltaren fiale indicazioni terapeutiche antibiotico augmentin a stomaco pieno prednisolone acetate ophthalmic suspension usp 1 nizoral 1 tinea versicolor la piazza allegra melbourne lexapro interacciones farmacologicas cialis giornaliero effetti collaterali temperatura cipro febbraio cipro regimen for prostatitis sinemet compresse a rilascio modificato voltaren 50 compresse posologia consigli per l'uso del cialis prazosin stress incontinence diflucan 2 pastiglie lanoxin pagine sanitarie viagra feminino spray volo andata e ritorno cipro come funziona aciclovir viagra nelle erboristerie cipro xl generic periactin sonno bambini prezzo di dostinex aciclovir bambino 1 anno meccanismo d'azione coumadin acitretin alitretinoin isotretinoin tretinoin bactrim sciroppo bambini controindicazioni medicament benzac allegra liquido pediatrico aciclovir laboratorio roemmers antibiotics nitrofurantoin pregnancy il viagra fa male alla vista coumadin verdure da non mangiare come ridurre il seroquel prometrium sintomi gravidanza siringa di muscoril e voltaren depo provera per gatti seroquel medicamento wiki tegretol colombia recensioni asterias beach cipro cipro fa parte dei paesi black list xenical chi l ha usato trileptal trastorno bipolar alternativa natural alla propecia candida che non passa con diflucan zantac indicazioni terapeutiche il farmaco cialis è mutuabile vodafone via cipro roma plavix 300 scheda tecnica cipro rientra nella black list motrin ibuprofeno suspension metoprolol varices ricrescita capelli con propecia sostituto natural viagra clozaril medicamento il plavix è mutuabile musica allegra per video bambini vendita viagra originale online propranolol and bisoprolol augmentin antibiotico per il raffreddore furosemide ed insufficienza renale bula do medicamento diovan softair cipro atrovent ventolin normal saline propecia libidoverlust metoprolol labetalol convert acquisto viagra in farmacia triamcinolone acetonide in orabase uk propecia non funziona più registro delle imprese di cipro generico viagra bula claritin loratadine dose dolo voltaren o ibuprofeno come girare per cipro proscar al posto di propecia ho preso il vermox in gravidanza metoprolol diluiçao meglio anafranil o efexor giardia lamblia vermox lyrica e cymbalta insieme depo provera efficiency finasteride gonfiore viso tegretol interazioni farmacologiche cipro e la turchia actos 15 mg controindicazioni quanto costa levitra orosolubile consigli su cipro cialis ultime notizie emivita del cialis motilium suppositories dosage que significa orlistat dose efficace anafranil cipro musei vaticani metro previsioni del tempo cipro 15 giorni clomid perdite rosa zoloft dosaggio efficace lioresal et alcoolisme posologie triamcinolone acetonide ointment 80gm anti inflammatory etodolac finasteride mylan per capelli allegra paolini viagra pirex viagra poshel von songtext singulair effetti indesiderati combivent respimat fda approval date tegretol xarope posologia canzone allegra dei coldplay foto canottaggio viagra propranolol hemorragia digestiva alta acquista viagra generico on line come ottenere viagra senza ricetta clomid incinta al terzo ciclo triamcinolone teva voltaren resinat fachinfo risperdal magyar kamagra dove acquistare forum al maschile viagra voltaren parches plm casa allegra egypt voltaren recall 2012 larnaca cipro mappa siti archeologici cipro chloramphenicol 10 mg คือ hotel cipro sulla spiaggia assunzione methotrexate differenza tra keppra e tegretol cipro po iv conversion voltaren and ulcerative colitis ventolin rotacaps salbutamol abilify depersonalization disorder test gravidanza dopo prometrium inderal farmaco a cosa serve propranolol to inderal la conversion cialis mentina augmentin bambini durata cura cymbalta 60 mg scheda tecnica differenze tra clavulin e augmentin diltiazem nella fibrillazione atriale lisinopril indicazioni terapeutiche sublingual lorazepam palliative care lisinopril compresse finasteride scaduto brevetto metoprolol bei essentiellem tremor diflucan compresse indicazioni voltaren natriumbicarbonat dosaggio vermox per bambini viagra e congestione nasale triamcinolone for guttate psoriasis voltaren alternative triamcinolone acetonide cream 1 use augmentin 1 grammo in gravidanza cymbalta erezione prezzo pillola cialis co diovan infomed bula allegra d comprimido voltaren emulgel per distorsioni effet secondaire atarax 25 seroquel maoi inhibitor depo provera levonorgestrel propecia grossesse voltaren sr 75 prospektüsü trazodone cost walmart dostinex per abbassare prolattina dividere cialis 20 mg avapro fda approval risperdal consta prolactin abilify 5 mg posologie immun mot viagra allegra scarpe milano clopidogrel diagnostico ricerca scolastica su cipro affitto appartamento zona cipro roma lamictal 50 mg effetti collaterali effet secondaire zoloft 25 mg sucralfate (carafate) 100 mg/ml suspension generico del viagra mexico dose augmentin bambini 6 anni viagra annonce 123 anafranil comprime scarso effetto cialis clindamycin molluscum contagiosum sospensione del coumadin per intervento chirurgico abilify 5 mg effetti indesiderati voltaren resinat beipackzettel cipro contain sulfa collegamenti marittimi cipro libano depo provera fiale albendazole single dose centrifugeuse allegra levitra e pericoloso contra indicatie van furosemide dapagliflozin metformin combination diovan metoprolol combination posologia bactrim infantil voltaren e gastroprotettore voltaren gel while pregnant iniezione intravitreale di triamcinolone ampicillin unacid viagra 100 mg effetti conversion of escitalopram to citalopram tenormin fiale dosaggio cialis 5 mg.e ipertensione prednisone a rilascio prolungato differenza tra motilium e motilex verschil salbutamol ventolin klebsiella uti ciprofloxacin componente del voltaren componente principal viagra viagra per post bestellen prednisone facial mooning viagra prohibitor veep dapagliflozin metformin sovradosaggio adalat 2 euro commemorativi cipro ic escitalopram 10 mg cura di clomid depo provera risques come sospendere il plavix voltaren and cataflam nuovo farmaco sostitutivo coumadin cortef prednisone conversion diflucan oppure prezzi levitra 5 mg gardnerella ampicillin comparatif viagra levitra cialis valore del coumadin zoloft e cellulite differenza cialis levitra viagra cialis e alcol effetti allegra d quanto custa zoloft e pressione bassa voltaren posologia compresse cipro satellite cytotec ginecologia viagra modalita' di assunzione ricrescita capelli con finasteride dove comprare viagra in contrassegno prezzo dostinex 2 compresse vendita viagra cialis on line propranolol agonista inverso coumadin e protezione gastrica dosaggio di coumadin diovan sintomas antibiotico cipro 500mg allegra turismo niteroi se prendo augmentin posso bere alcolici motilium lingual indicazioni cialis perdida vision advair fluticasone salmeterol viagra so colissimo triamcinolone nystatin combination propranolol farmacopeia brasileira durata del viagra voltaren ne ilaci la dose giusta di viagra dove comprare viagra in slovenia acquisto cialis inghilterra strattera caddra trazodone risperidone interaction viagra come usarlo testo di una canzone allegra levitra 5 mg generico triamcinolone pharmacology suizid inhibitoren allopurinol provera centrale d achat temperature cipro a maggio la finasteride è un ormone lexapro aumenta appetite voltaren syrup propranolol sa 80 mg capsule meteo lungo termine cipro augmentin bambini streptococco effetti collaterali cymbalta 60 mg cytotec en chile farmacias inderal la pregnancy levitra avec alcool clomid stomaco pieno o vuoto mircette generic azurette governo di cipro levitra comprimate filmate nitrofurantoin in renal impairment citrato de clomifeno (serofene indux clomid) cipro clima luglio nome generico atrovent berotec aciclovir prezzo in farmacia adalat caviglie gonfie motilium oral suspension dosage lipitor rosuvastatin conversion viagra ed epilessia lamisil creme fusspilz acquistare cialis in romania propranolol nome generico costo cialis 8 compresse combivent vial monodose zoloft calo della libido vacanze a cipro vita notturna cipro non turistica lariam opinioni cannoleria siciliana via cipro diovan potenzprobleme voltaren retard ampolla clomid per quanti cicli zoloft e sintomi alesse generic cost allegra pediatric dosing epocrates voltaren gel groin pain minocycline non generic diflucan pastiglie augmentin bronchite quanti giorni prednisone allattamento triamcinolone acetonide degradation quanto costa il celebrex voltaren polarity lorenza allegra cipro delhi belly augmentin gravidanza terzo trimestre levitra costos furosemide diluizione seroquel ultrafarma lincocin 600 cosa serve strattera versus concerta norvasc 5 mg cosa serve voltaren arthritis medicine diclofenac potasico voltaren nizoral ricrescita trazodone seniors chloramphenicol ung usage triamcinolone acetonide cream documenti per paphos cipro medicamento augmentin 500