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All This Useless Beauty

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iTunes Review

When Elvis Costello isn’t busy writing songs for himself, he apparently relaxes by writing songs for other people. This obsessive-compulsive streak has led him to many genres and made even his lesser works worthy of contemplation. All This Useless Beauty is a collection of spare parts, songs written for others, songs co-written with others (Aimee Mann, Paul McCartney), and songs that never made it on to proper albums — except by using the Attractions as his back-up band, the spare parts become a cohesive whole. From the first drum whacks behind “The Other End of the Telescope,” a tune co-written with Aimee Mann, it’s clear this will be a tight collection of performances. There really is no such thing as a toss-off from Costello. “Complicated Shadows,” written with Johnny Cash in mind, is an eerie warning. “Why Can’t a Man Stand Alone?,” written with Sam Moore in mind, pleads its case with conviction. And the title track, “You Bowed Down” and “Poor Fractured Atlas” may never serve up the hungry, desperate edge of his earliest work, but the man can still turn a phrase and slash out a chord.

Customer Reviews

More useless than beauty

Pretty mediocre release from a brilliant artist. The catchy hooks are gone, as are the witty, biting lyrics. Not a stellar song in the collection, most are just barely listenable. 2 1/2 stars.

All this Useless Beauty

Ridiculous- no one has written a review? Jump the fence, the true fan will not be disappointed.


I just started listening to Elvis Costello, thanks to the Jonas Brothers, i know people are always making fun of them, but anyways they said he was one of their influecces so i thought well i like them so i though i would like him and OMG he is amazing i went to my library and checked out 2 of his cd's(cause i had like no money) and they were awesome! I especially like "Watching the Detectives"!! Can't wait till i can buy more of his stuff(cause i got all that my library had!!!) : )


Born: August 25, 1954 in Paddington, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When Elvis Costello's first record was released in 1977, his bristling cynicism and anger linked him with the punk and new wave explosion. A cursory listen to My Aim Is True proves that the main connection that Costello had with the punks was his unbridled passion; he tore through rock's back pages taking whatever he wanted, as well as borrowing from country, Tin Pan Alley pop, reggae, and many other musical genres. Over his career, that musical eclecticism distinguished his records as much as his...
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