Elvis goes Pop...
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although the album was intended to thrust Costello and the Attractions into the pop mainstream that has eluded them (especially in America), it doesn't quite make it. Still, the lyrics are incredible, as always, even if the "pop" sound doesn't really fit. Best tracks--'Worthless Thing,' 'Love Field' and 'I Wanna Be Loved.' Steve Nieve makes a bigger impression on this album than any to date. His parts shine (especially on 'Love Field').This album will only be truly appreciated by the huge fans. I love it but, if just a casual listener, I suggest "Punch the Clock" or "Trust." They're a little more accessable."
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Everybody needs a worst album, even if they're all fantastic. The point is, yes, this ins't quite as good as This Years Model or Imperial Bedroom, but, come on, its Elvis Costello. It's still pretty damn good. EC's worst will always trounce most people's best. It is true that this is somewhat an "80s" album, but its great 80s music then. "The Only Flame In Town," while slightly dated, still works, "Love Field" is beautiful, and the Rykodisc is worth it for the li and demo tracks--you can see how these are essentially beautifully dark ballads that were slightly marred by the wrong production. It's a shame this has the reputation it does, b/c some of these songs don't deserve to be forgotten simply because this isn't his masterpiece. Bottom line: certainly not his best, but great. If you're new, get the earlier (and later) stuff first. If you're a fan t, this won't change your mind."
Hey, it ain't that bad!
Keith Davenport | Nashville, TN United States | 01/12/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Goodbye Cruel World is definitely Costello's worst album, at least according to most critics and yes, EC himself. To that, I say nonsense. While it isn't one of his brighter moments, it's hardly the abomination it's made out to be. Essentially the problem with this album stems from one basic factor- the songs were good, but tended to be ruined by misguided arrangements and/or lazy, sterile production. (What happened? Well, with his marriage breaking up, squabbles with the record company, and tension with his bandmates, it's obvious that EC simply was unable to give his musical faculties proper focus.) For instance, "The Comedians" is a great song undone by a bizarre arrangement. For a far superior version, check out Roy Orbison's, or EC's own demo recording on the 2CD version of All This Useless Beauty. "Deportees Club" and the Bebe Buell lament "Room With No Number" suffer for similar reasons. "Worthless Thing" is sharp lyrically, but again, one wishes they'd found a better arrangement for the tune.Despite all this, though, some of the songs still shine. "Love Field" is the one song where the album's approach totally works, a beautiful synth-based, vaguely exotic-sounding ballad. Also effective is the R&B cover "I Wanna Be Loved", which sounds nothing like what you'd expect from Costello, but still contains one of his most infectious performances. "Inch By Inch" creeps along quite nicely, foreshadowing the full-on menace of Blood and Chocolate's "I Want You". "Peace in our Time" may seem a little traditional by EC standards, but it's still a great closer.Even though the songs on this album were not really given the best treatment, they're still great songs and it's still an extremely enjoyable album. I wouldn't recommend it to a newbie, but a true fan shouldn't have any reservations about picking it up."