‘Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink’ by elvis costello

La-jc-books-this-week-20150923-013David L. Ulin at the LA Times:

Partway though Elvis Costello's baggy, often brilliant and wholly idiosyncratic memoir, “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink,” there's a moment that echoes like a master metaphor. It's 1995 and our hero is about to accept “an Ivor Novello Award in the company of Van Morrison, Lonnie Donegan, and Don Black,” when a BBC exec sidles up to him and says, “Of course, you'd have had a lot more hits if you'd just taken out all the seventh and the minor chords.”

That this isn't the best line here is testament, I suppose, to how many good lines “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” contains. The implication is that Costello should have gone a more predictable route, given the programmers what they wanted — which is antithetical to the ethos of his career.

New wave rocker, country crooner, balladeer, collaborator and showman: Costello has been all of this and more in the course of what is now a 40-year run. Of all the first-generation punkers, he remains (with Patti Smith and possibly David Byrne) among the few who can claim the longevity and diversity of, say, Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell, both of whom appear in this book. Like minds, perhaps, or water seeking its level. Either way, this is the company to which Costello belongs.

more here.