Upon its acquisition of the Elvis Costello catalog in 2007, UMe wasted no time in releasing The Best of Elvis Costello: The First 10 Years (Hip-O B0008640-02). That self-explanatory set was compiled by Costello himself, and so it’s fitting that some three years later, Costello and Hip-O are bookending that disc with Pomp & Pout: The Universal Years. This 18-track compilation, slated for a July 13 release, draws from the 10 years Costello spent at various Universal labels between 1998 and 2008.
Those years were marked by much genre exploration from the artist. Although all of the various strands were familiar to his longtime fans as key elements of his music, they found full expression in this 10-year period; the many labels reflected the stylistic journey from pop to rock to country to classical. All of his Universal studio albums are represented with the exception of his 2004 classical piece Il Sogno, perhaps a fair exclusion considering Costello himself doesn’t play on the album (which he composed and orchestrated). Pomp & Pout does feature three tracks off his 1998 collaboration with Burt Bacharach, Painted from Memory, and two from his equally-acclaimed 2006 pairing with Allen Toussaint, The River in Reverse. 2008’s Momofuku is the most recent album represented.
Seeing as Elvis compiled and (non-chronologically) sequenced the album himself, it’s no surprise that some obvious choices are missing, such as Painted from Memory’s “God Give Me Strength,” which has become somewhat of a cabaret standard in the ensuing years. While Pomp & Pout doesn’t include any unreleased material (will the prolific Costello ever release his Carole King co-write, “Burnt Sugar is So Bitter,” or the powerful “Suspect My Tears,” both written in the Universal period?), it does include tracks off various Deluxe Editions, Japanese pressings and soundtracks, even if none were particularly difficult to find beforehand. Still, Pomp & Pout should make for solidly terrific listening for those looking to delve into Costello’s recent oeuvre. Taken with The First 10 Years and Warner Bros.’ Extreme Honey (9 46801-2, 1997) which compiles his work between 1988 and 1997, one can basically assemble a definitive Costello 3-CD box set covering his entire recording career. It’s unknown whether he will supply liner notes explaining his choices for this compilation, though I’m not holding my breath. While the Rhino catalog reissues all featured witty, verbose essays penned by Costello, Hip-O’s releases have so far had no notes whatsoever, not even reprinting the Rhino essays. Here’s hoping.
In the meantime, check out the track listing after the jump!
- Stella Hurt
- No Hiding Place
- This House is Empty Now
- The Sweetest Punch
- My Mood Swings
- When I Was Cruel No. 2
- Ascension Day
- Country Darkness
- In the Darkest Place
- The River in Reverse
- Monkey to Man
- In Another Room
Tracks 1, 12 and 16 from The Delivery Man – Lost Highway UICM-1034, 2004
Tracks 2 and 3 from Momofuku – Lost Highway B0011109-02, 2008
Tracks 4, 7 and 14 from Painted from Memory – Mercury 314538002-2, 1998
Track 5 from North (Japanese Edition) – Deutsche Grammophon UCCH-1004, 2003
Tracks 6, 9, 11 and 13 from When I Was Cruel – Island 314 586 775-2, 2002
Track 8 from The Big Lebowski: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Mercury 536903, 1998
Tracks 10 and 15 from The River in Reverse – Verve Forecast B0006801-10, 2006
Track 17 from The Delivery Man: Deluxe Edition – Lost Highway 075021036017, 2004
Track 18 from North – Deutsche Grammophon B0000996-10, 2003