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Costello Music

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Costello Music
Studio album by The Fratellis
Released 11 September 2006
Recorded 2006
Genre Indie rock, garage rock revival
Length 44:16
Label Fallout, Drop the Gun
Producer Tony Hoffer
The Fratellis chronology
The Fratellis EP
Costello Music
Flathead EP
Singles from Costello Music
  1. "Henrietta"
    Released: 12 June 2006
  2. "Chelsea Dagger"
    Released: 28 August 2006
  3. "Whistle For The Choir"
    Released: 27 November 2006
  4. "Flathead"
    Released: 4 March 2007
  5. "Baby Fratelli"
    Released: 12 March 2007
  6. "Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes"
    Released: 11 June 2007

Costello Music is the debut album by Scottish rock band The Fratellis. It was released on 30 October 2006 on Fallout Records and Drop the Gun Recordings and on 13 March 2007 on Cherrytree Records in the U.S.[1] and was a success, peaking at #2 in the UK Albums Chart and spent 83 weeks in the Top 100. It debuted behind FutureSex/LoveSounds by Justin Timberlake and stayed in the #2 position for two more weeks, this time behind Ta-Dah by Scissor Sisters. The album had five single releases, as well as the download-only EP Flathead. "Chelsea Dagger" was the most successful single, peaking at #5 in the UK and #4 in the Netherlands, but the other singles failed to chart in most countries.

Its success resulted in the band touring internationally, playing shows in Europe, the United States and Japan. The band’s ensuing popularity saw them win the 2007 BRIT Award for Best British Breakthrough Act. The album has sold 1,121,251 copies as of August 2015.[2]


The band’s first gig was in a basement in Glasgow in February 2005 and the band were spotted by a record company talent scout shortly after. Music Week's Stuart Clarke said, "A month after the scout discovered them, labels were flying up to Scotland to see them. Most, if not all, the major labels and a handful of indies showed a lot of interest in the band."[3] The band was eventually signed to Island Records and the album was released under its UK subsidiary, Fallout Records. The band were flown to LA to record the album in the Sunset Sound recording studio, which was previously used by Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys.[3] The choice to record in Sunset Studios rather than the UK was due to Jon’s desire to create an old-fashioned, analogue sound.[4] They were in Studio 3, which contains vintage equipment. Jon said, "It makes you feel a bit more like you’re part of something you were interested in".[5] Producer Tony Hoffer was flown in to help complete the album.[6] The album was named "Costello Music" after a studio they used to rent in Budhill, Glasgow.[7]

Lyrics and composition[edit]

Critics likened the album to the works of The Libertines, Babyshambles and Arctic Monkeys, all bands known for their British rock roots.[8][9][10] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine said that ‘they sound like songs by about 15 other Britpop acts’ but went on to say ‘it’s one thing to copy a look, a sound, or a formula, it's another to do it so utterly convincingly and with such infectious raucousness’.[11]

Paul McNamee of NME noted that most tracks on the album told a story; "Henrietta", tells the story of an older woman who stalks the song's narrators; "Vince the Lovable Stoner" is about a man with a drug addiction, and "Chelsea Dagger" is said by Jon Fratelli to be about a showgirl.[3][6]


Costello Music was released on vinyl and CD on 11 September 2006 in the UK. Five songs were released as singles; "Henrietta", "Chelsea Dagger", "Whistle for the Choir", "Baby Fratelli" and "Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes". "Flathead" was used in an iPod commercial, which led to it being released as a download only single via iTunes and later as an EP. The album was then released on 13 March 2007 in the US. The cover art for the album and its singles was created by Sam Hadley.

The album did best in the UK, peaking at number two on the charts there. It reached forty-two on the US Billboard 200, and managed to chart in Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, France and New Zealand. "Chelsea Dagger" was the most successful single, peaking at five in the UK and four in the Netherlands. The other singles with the exception of "Flathead" only managed to chart in the UK, where they were moderately popular.[12]

A Japanese version of Costello Music was released on 21 February 2007 containing two tracks unavailable on other versions: "Dirty Barry Stole the Bluebird" – a B-side of the "Chelsea Dagger" single, and "Cigarello" from the Flathead EP. This version of the album also contained the videos for "Flathead", "Chelsea Dagger", and "Henrietta", which could be viewed directly from the disc using an Adobe Flash program.

The album's success led to the band winning the BRIT award for Best British Breakthrough Act in 2007.[3] The album also won an EBBA award in January 2008.[13] In total, the band sold 1.5 million copies of Costello Music worldwide and over 900,000 copies in the UK.[13][14]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 71/100[21]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars [15]
NME 8/10 stars [16]
Pitchfork Media (5.5/10) [17]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [18]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars [19]
Stylus Magazine B [20]

Costello Music received generally favourable reviews. Pitchfork Media’s Stuart Bertman called The Fratellis ‘artless but amiable’, ‘predictable’, and ‘intermittently rewarding’.[22] Elizabeth Goodman of Rolling Stone called the single Flathead ‘preternaturally catchy’ and stated that ‘it makes you elated in the moment’.[23] Helen Phares of Allmusic called it ‘high energy’ and ‘fun in the moment’.[8] Stylus Magazine's Ryan Foley shared similar views, describing it as ‘beyond infectious’ and claiming that they fill ‘their three-minute, pop-punk ditties with melodic snarl, flouncing sass, and enough lusty sing-along parts to keep the punters busy’.[24] IGN’s Chad Grischow gave the album an Outstanding rating in his review of the album saying it was ‘not the most refined album you will buy this year, but surely one you will not regret’.[25] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine was the most negative, calling it ‘tediously misogynistic’ and ‘instantly memorable but thankfully wordless’.[11]


Following the release of the album, The Fratellis embarked on a tour of the UK festival circuit, headlining at popular festivals such as NME's Rock ‘n’ Riot tour and T in the Park 2007, amongst others.[6][26] They opened for The Who at the BBC Electric Proms in October 2006, and in December they supported Kasabian on their UK tour before playing 10 dates by themselves in February and March 2007. The locations included Nottingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and London.[27]

They then set out on a worldwide tour to play dates in Japan, Europe and the US.[28] They cut short the US leg of their tour, canceling nine dates, citing fatigue from their many months of touring as the cause.[29]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by The Fratellis

No. Title Length
1. "Henrietta"   3:32
2. "Flathead"   3:17
3. "Cuntry Boys & City Girls"   3:31
4. "Whistle For The Choir"   3:35
5. "Chelsea Dagger"   3:25
6. "For the Girl"   2:48
7. "Doginabag"   3:20
8. "Creepin’ Up The Backstairs"   3:07
9. "Vince The Loveable Stoner"   3:14
10. "Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night"   3:54
11. "Baby Fratelli"   3:56
12. "Got Ma Nuts From A Hippie"   3:11
13. "Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes"   3:16

Bonus tracks[edit]

  • "The Gutterati?" – 2:28 (Replaces "Cuntry Boys & City Girls" on US version as Track #5, moving "Whistle for the Choir" to Track #3 and "Chelsea Dagger" to Track #4)
  • "Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes" is a hidden track on the US version.
  • "Dirty Barry Stole The Bluebird" – 4:04 (Bonus track on Japanese version)
  • "Cigarello" – 3:06 (Bonus track on Japanese version)
  • Some versions of the CD have the track "Cuntry Boys & City Girls" moved to a hidden track, Track #14.


Chart positions[edit]


Country Peak[2]
UK Top 40 2
Billboard 200 42
Switzerland 78
Austria 50
France 98
New Zealand 32
Netherlands 13


Year Single Chart positions
UK US New Zealand Netherlands
2006 Henrietta 19
Chelsea Dagger 5 38 4
Whistle for the Choir 9
2007 Flathead 67 73
Baby Fratelli 24
Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes 168


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Fergus Sheppard (2007). "Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of the Fratellis". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  4. ^ Poulter, Sean (2007-08-01). "Frat boys make the most of their rapid rise". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  5. ^ Alastair McKay. "Pure Sex And Heavy Psyched: The Sensational Rise Of The Fratellis". Blogspot. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  6. ^ a b c Paul McNamee (2007). "Costello Music review". NME. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  7. ^ Stephen Phelan. "Just who are The Fratellis?". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  8. ^ a b Heather Phares (2007). "Costello Music review". All Music. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  9. ^ Jamil Ahmad (2007). "Costello Music review". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  10. ^ Matt Schild (2007). "Costello Music review". Aversion. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  11. ^ a b Sal Cinquemani (2007). "Costello Music review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  12. ^ "UK Chart Database". Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  13. ^ a b "Fratellis get award for breaking Euro borders". The Sunday Herald. 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-03-24. [dead link]
  14. ^ David Sinclair (2007-03-06). "The Fratellis". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  15. ^ AllMusic Review
  16. ^ NME Review
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Rolling Stone Review
  19. ^ Slant Magazine Review
  20. ^ Stylus Magazine
  21. ^
  22. ^ Stuart Bertman (2007). "Costello Music:Pitchfork Record Review". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  23. ^ Elizabeth Goodman (2007). "Costello Music review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  24. ^ Ryan Foley (2007). "Costello Music review". Stylus magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  25. ^ Chad Grischow (2007). "IGN: Costello Music Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  26. ^ "T In The Park line-up unveiled". NME. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  27. ^ "The Fratellis announce 2007 tour dates". Indie London. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  28. ^ "The Fratellis - Ole Black n Blue Eyes". 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  29. ^ "Fratellis cancel US tour". Spin magazine. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 

Chart archives[edit]

External links[edit]