Today’s Cool album of the Day (#948 in the Series) is Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach, Painted From Memory Reviewers hated this album. I call it the “Album to Never Listen to When Going Through a Breakup” simply because it’s heartfelt and full of emotion. Someone said to me, I’m hurting, and I said be sure to not listen to this then.
I grew up with Burt Bacharach, and as a semi-adult I became smitten with all that Elvis Costello did. This “marriage” was a dream coming true. I love this album so much. Add Steve Nieve (keyboards) to it and it makes it close to perfect. Elvis is a crooner at heart, despite his “punk rock” persona. I love the performance they did on The Late Show with David Letterman, the orchestra deserved a big bunch of kudos. But the meat of the whole thing was in Burt and Elvis. Clearly they like each other and have a really cool complement to each other. It opens with “In the Darkest Place.” There isn’t one song on this that will not touch anyone who has had loss, in whatever form that is. It marries Burt’s 60’s stuff with Elvis and his somewhat annoying vibrato however it’s his passion that comes through. .I believe in Costello’s various visions and “marriages” with others this is one of his best. I’ve seen him live numerous times, the latest at the Chicago Theatre which is one of the best venues for true music fans, while on one of his “Spinning Wheel” tours. Awesome show but if I were at one of these shows I’d be a blubbery fool. Hope I’m not violating any copyright laws but this sums it up. The song set is framed by the title tune, a ditty at once sweet and punchy, and the gospel-esque “God Give Me Strength,” which could be a modern-day standard. The instrumental character is what makes the project memorable, but Costello also shows up for a couple of gratuitous cameos. Cassandra Wilson even joins Costello for a duet on “I Still Have That Other Girl”-swapping her musky tone with his wobbly tremolo, with Frisell and band slithering artfully in the sidelines. This is brainy music, on some levels, but always with beauty in mind, which makes the like-minded closet romantic Frisell a perfect match. I adore this album, and if you give it a spin you will likely too. — Kristin Morrisson
- “In the Darkest Place” – 4:19
- “Toledo” – 4:35
- “I Still Have That Other Girl” – 2:46
- “This House Is Empty Now” – 5:10
- “Tears at the Birthday Party” – 4:38
- “Such Unlikely Lovers” – 3:24
- “My Thief” – 4:20
- “The Long Division” – 4:15
- “Painted from Memory” – 4:12
- “The Sweetest Punch” – 4:09
- “What’s Her Name Today?” – 4:08
- “God Give Me Strength” – 6:11
Check out this documentary on the making of “Painted From Memory.” Give it a listen too now that you’ve watched how it was made! Most of it at least.