Mighty Like a Rose

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This article is about the album by Elvis Costello. For the album by Eddie Harris, see Mighty Like a Rose (Eddie Harris album).
Mighty Like a Rose
Studio album by Elvis Costello
Released 14 May 1991
Recorded 1990–1991
Genre Rock, baroque pop
Length 54:19
Label Warner Bros.
Rhino (19 November 2002 Reissue)
Producer Elvis Costello, Mitchell Froom, Kevin Killen
Elvis Costello chronology
Spike
(1989)
Mighty Like a Rose
(1991)
G.B.H.
(1991)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau C+[2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[3]
Yahoo! Music (Positive)[4]

Mighty Like A Rose is the 13th studio album by the British rock singer and songwriter Elvis Costello, released in 1991 on compact disc as Warner Brothers 26575. The title is presumably a reference to the pop standard "Mighty Lak' a Rose", and although that song does not appear on the album, the words of its first stanza are quoted in the booklet of the 2002 reissue.[5] It peaked at No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart, and at No. 55 on the Billboard 200.

Content[edit]

Originally this album was to be released under Costello's actual name Declan MacManus, having grown tired of the Elvis Costello pseudonym. Record label pressures, however, won the day and it was released as an Elvis Costello record.

Mighty Like a Rose continues in the vein of Costello's previous album Spike from 1989, although with Mitchell Froom taking over the producer's chair from T-Bone Burnett. This time, the tracks were recorded in one location, Ocean Way in Hollywood, with orchestral and vocal overdubs taking place at Westside Studios in London.[6] Two more songs from his collaboration with Paul McCartney appear, "Playboy to a Man" and a song selected as a single, "So Like Candy."

Costello refers to this as an angry record, recorded in the aftermath of the Gulf War.[7] The opening track, "The Other Side of Summer" was designed as a Beach Boys pastiche after their style in the early 1970s.[8] The track "Invasion Hit Parade" features a trumpet solo by Costello's father, Ross MacManus. The album also features a song written by his wife at the time, Cait O'Riordan, "Broken." The album is dedicated to her.

The lead single, "The Other Side of Summer", peaked at No. 43 on the UK Singles Chart. Although it missed the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, it reached No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and No. 40 on the Album Rock Tracks chart. The second single, "So Like Candy", did not chart in either nation.

Release history[edit]

The album was released initially on compact disc in 1991. As part of the Rhino Records reissue campaign for Costello's back catalogue from Demon/Columbia and Warners, it was re-released in 2002 with 17 additional tracks on a bonus disc. Several of these were recorded at Costello's home.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Elvis Costello, except where noted; track timings taken from Rhino 2002 reissue.

  1. "The Other Side of Summer" – 3:56
  2. "Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over)" (Declan MacManus, Jim Keltner) – 4:05
  3. "How to Be Dumb" – 5:14
  4. "All Grown Up" – 4:16
  5. "Invasion Hit Parade" – 5:34
  6. "Harpies Bizarre" – 3:44
  7. "After the Fall" – 4:38
  8. "Georgie and Her Rival" – 3:38
  9. "So Like Candy" (Paul McCartney, MacManus) – 4:36
  10. "Interlude: Couldn't Call It Unexpected No. 2" – 0:22
  11. "Playboy to A Man" (McCartney, MacManus) – 3:20
  12. "Sweet Pear" – 3:36
  13. "Broken" (Cait O'Riordan) – 3:37
  14. "Couldn't Call It Unexpected No. 4" – 3:50

2002 bonus disc[edit]

Tracks 2, 9–13, and 15–17 are solo demo recordings.

  1. "Just Another Mystery" – 4:15
  2. "Sweet Pear" – 3:46
  3. "Couldn't Call It Unexpected No. 4" – 4:18 live at Great Woods June 1991 issued as a b-side to "So Like Candy"
  4. "Mischievous Ghost" (with Mary Coughlan) – 5:47 released on Bringing It All Back Home for BBC Records
  5. "St. Stephen's Day Murders" (Costello, Paddy Moloney) (with The Chieftains) – 3:25 released on The Bells of Dublin
  6. "The Other Side of Summer" – 4:06 recorded for MTV Unplugged 3 June 1991
  7. "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror" – 4:43 recorded for MTV Unplugged 3 June 1991
  8. "Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over)" (Costello, Keltner) – 4:18 recorded for MTV Unplugged 3 June 1991
  9. "All Grown Up" – 4:36
  10. "Georgie and Her Rival" – 3:22
  11. "Forgive Her Anything" – 4:02
  12. "It Started to Come to Me" – 2:48
  13. "I Still Miss Someone/The Last Town I Painted" (Johnny Cash/Roy Cash Jr., Buddy Word) – 2:47
  14. "Put Your Big Toe in the Milk of Human Kindness" (with Rob Wasserman) – 4:10 released on Trios
  15. "Invasion Hit Parade" – 4:21
  16. "Just Another Mystery" – 3:43
  17. "Broken" (O'Riordan) – 3:22

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1991) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart 5
The Billboard 200 55
Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1991 "The Other Side of Summer" UK Singles Chart 43
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 40
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review
  4. ^ Yahoo! Music review
  5. ^ Costello, Elvis. Mighty Like A Rose. Rhino Records R2 78189, 2002, liner notes, p. 23.
  6. ^ Ibid., p. 26.
  7. ^ Ibid., p. 3.
  8. ^ Ibid., p. 5.
  9. ^ Ibid., p. 26.