Goodbye Cruel World Produced by Top Production Team of Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley: Several Songs Enhanced With Top-Flight Horn Arrangements
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: Mobile Fidelity 180g LP of 1984 Elvis Costello Set Is the Sonically Definitive Version
Elvis Costello and the Attractions Survive "Dreadful 80s" With Songs Concerning Loss, Identity, and Matters of the Heart
Elvis Costello wasn't in a happy place when he began writing Goodbye Cruel World. His marriage collapsed between the record's start and finish. He was also dealing with what he deems the "dreadful 80s"—a period in which the importance of videos trumped musical merit, the government in his native England engaged in controversial conflicts, and nuclear threats hovered over daily life like a black cloud. What possible good came out of the age? A smart batch of songs that stands up to many of the singer-songwriter's better-known works and an underrated record that now sounds better than ever.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on 180g LP at RTI, this collectable edition of Goodbye Cruel World joins Mobile Fidelity's acclaimed Costello reissues series in presenting the icon's most vital records in rich, dynamic, three-dimensional analog sound. Akin to many albums from the era, Goodbye Cruel World was hampered by bright, slick textures on the original pressings and digital counterparts. Here, Costello's fare is revealed to possess a warmer, more organic and intimate character. Costello's voice, as well as his band's nimble rhythms and Steve Nieve's R&B-spiked piano, occupy their own spaces amidst a wide, unconstrained soundstage.
The improvements rendered by this numbered-edition LP bring significantly new perspective to Costello's mordantly witty songs addressing everything from stark romantic loss to erotic desire. Produced by the hit-making team of Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, Goodbye Cruel World reflects the polish of the day in places but now reveals a deeper soulfulness, grit, and honesty. Such aspects particularly come to fore on multiple tunes featuring saxophonists Gary Barnacle, trombonist Jim Paterson, and percussionist Luis Jardim—the very first guests ever welcomed on an Attractions album.
With added instrumental assistance, Costello and Co. traverse styles ranging from rambunctious new-wave rock ("The Deportees Club") to frisky New Orleans-derived blues ("Sour Milk Cow Blues") to suave, jazzy pop ("The Only Flame In Town"). In the closing "Peace In Our Time," a sobering albeit optimistic song whose verses still apply to contemporary times, Costello crafts the finale to a socio-politically conscious trilogy that began with "Shipbuilding" and "Pills and Soap." It alone is the worth the price of admission to a record that's long deserved a better reputation and, with Mobile Fidelity's reissue, finally gets its just desserts.
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