ELVIS COSTELLO & The ATTRACTIONS – ” Goodbye Cruel World ” Released June 18th 1984

Posted: June 21, 2021 in MUSIC

Elvis Costello & The Attractions“Goodbye Cruel World” is Elvis Costello’s ninth album, released on this day (June 18) in 1984. During the making of “Goodbye Cruel World” Costello was undergoing a multitude of personal problems, including a divorce, that resulted in a number of poor production decisions and ill-conceived, unformed songs.

Despite the fact that Costello was going through a song writing slump, there’s moments in Goodbye Cruel World that resemble something close to brilliance – when the production permits it, the charming bitterness of “Worthless Thing”, or “The Comedians”, can prove to be quite enjoyable. Overall, it’s a more cynical record than usual, which is sometimes ironically accentuated by the counterpoint of its overtly playful production. Other times however, the synthesized production either gets in the way (“The Deportees Club” may have been a worthy companion to Trust’s “Luxembourg”, had it been given to Nick Lowe production duties.

 “Goodbye Cruel World” was produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, who were the top British hitmakers of the ’80s. Consequently, most of the record suffers from a stiff, synthesized production that instantly dates the record. In some cases — like the duet with Daryl Hall, “The Only Flame in Town,” and the cover of the lost Hi R&B gem “I Wanna Be Loved” — the songs benefit from the shiny, streamlined production but it obscures the merits of the finest songs on the album. “Room with No Number,” “The Comedians,” “Sour Milk-Cow Blues,” and “Peace in Our Time” all cry out for a more simple, stripped-down presentation, but they’re weighted down with stylized sounds and trendy synthesizers; however, once the sound of the album settles in, the strength of these songs is apparent.

The remainder of “Goodbye Cruel World” isn’t as memorable, primarily because of Costello’s uninspired vocals and The Attractions’ muted performances fail to make the weaker songs musically compelling.

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