Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach - Painted From Memory 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Jason Karsh   
Tuesday, 29 September 1998

Mercury Records
| Performance 6.5 | Sound 8 |

Either this album is a very intentional marketing maneuver or it is the choppy execution of a pretty good idea. If it's the former, taking Elvis Costello--a mellowing music revolutionary--and marring him to Burt Bacharach--the most musically mellow man on the planet--conceivably places these two in a very lucrative niche. Unfortunately, even if this was the idea, the execution of this album hamstrings it from the beginning.

Realize that in no way is this any sort of thinly concealed despondence about Costello abandoning controversy for melancholy. Personally, I believe that this is the one Elvis out there that can actually do a ballad. Unfortunately, here Costello seems slightly inhibited on virtually every song. Never once is there a moment where one really feels the loss, or shares in his emotional involvement. Sonically this album is fine, musically it's fine, and over all it's, you guessed it, fine too. It's kind of like listening to elevator music with lyrics--hence, the Burt Bacharach factor. Our opinion: approach with caution.

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