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The Very Best Of

This was going to be [I]so[/I] easy. You were gonna get the punka-party line....

The Very Best Of

6 / 10 This was going to be so easy. You were gonna get the punka-party line. Young Elvis - good. Old Elvis - sux. He used to be disgusted, now he's just disgusting. Can we forgive a man out of time? No. No, we can't.

/img/ElvisCostello899.jpg Most of the best of 'The Very Best...', predictably enough, is culled from the first three killer albums. This is the Costello of 'Alison', 'Radio Radio', 'Watching The Detectives' and, of course, 'Oliver's Army'. Elvis before he (ugh!) 'matured' and became the darling of the mouldy ol' dead rock mags. Before he discovered country and (yuk! spit!) jazz.

But it's not quite that simple. There's 'Shipbuilding' - his nauseatingly poignant take on the Falklands War. And 'Tramp The Dirt Down' - probably the finest comment made by any musician about the horrors of Thatcherism. Those two tracks alone justify his career post-'Armed Forces'.

But there's also a lot of self-indulgent, 'mature', musoid mulch- stuff so bad it could have been written by The Divine Comedy, Travis or even, God help us, Shack. In short, when El rules he's awesome. But when he sucks he sucks muso cock and swallows.

Get a friend to tape the good bits.

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