Look Now

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Look Now
Look Now.jpg
Studio album by
Elvis Costello and the Imposters
Released12 October 2018
Recorded2018
StudioHollywood, New York City, and Vancouver
Length47:14
LabelConcord
ProducerElvis Costello, Sebastian Krys
Elvis Costello and the Imposters chronology
Wise Up Ghost
(2013)
Look Now
(2018)

Look Now is the 30th studio album by singer-songwriter Elvis Costello and his band, The Imposters and was his first studio album in five years.[1] Costello wrote and produced a large majority of the album himself, with co-production help from Sebastian Krys, a Latin Grammy Producer of the Year in 2007 and 2015. He co-wrote a new track with Carole King ("Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter") and worked with Burt Bacharach on three other songs.

Costello told NPR that it is the "uptown pop record with a little swagger" that he had been wanting to make for 20 years.[2] They named the album one of their best new albums of the week during its week of release.[3]

AllMusic describes that the album "often feels like a cross between Imperial Bedroom and Painted from Memory, Costello's 1998 collaboration with Burt Bacharach. This was thought to have been due by Bacharach co-wrote three tracks with Costello," adding, that it "isn't rock & roll so much as it's pop that blends the craft of classic Brill Building tunes of the '60s with the narrative maturity of classic Broadway musicals and the sort of ballads that were once the purview of classic jazz vocalists."[4]

The Associated Press, in their review, points out how the album—like Anna Karenina—reads like a series of lamentations of various characters.[5]

The collaboration with King was a project 20 years in the making.[6] The two forged a friendship over eating sushi together in Manhattan, before finally making music together.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.5/10[7]
Metacritic83/100[8]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
American Songwriter4/5 stars[9]
The Independent4/5 stars[10]
The Irish Times4/5 stars[11]
Mojo5/5 stars[12]
Pitchfork8.0/10[13]
Q4/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[15]
The Times4/5 stars[16]
Uncut8/10[17]

NPR calls the album, "Meticulously crafted, clever, polished...you can't imagine a group of surer hands for him to be working with," and noted it as one of their "best new albums" out from its 12 October 2018 week of release.

Chris Willman writing for Variety called Elvis Costello and The Imposters "the world's greatest pit band",[18] meaning that as "a raging endorsement of Costello's rage-free side." Adding, "It's so funny to be seeing him (Costello), after all this time, making a great cake of an album that doesn't really sound that much like any of the 30 before it."

USA Today writes, "The sophisticated chamber-pop arrangements suggest a return to the form he first explored in depth on Imperial Bedroom, a 1982 release produced by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick. And it does so while holding its own against that masterpiece, perhaps because it was conceived after revisiting that album on the road."[19]

Joe Lynch for Billboard writes, "Look Now, however, hardly lacks in vitality. With his deft pen providing sharp studies of romance and murky motives, the album sees Costello tapping top-shelf studios such as L.A.'s EastWest and NYC's Electric Lady for this collection of lush, sophisticated pop."[20]

Pitchfork stated: "Look Now plays at first like a simple set of songs that eschews grand concepts for immediacy... Despite their stateliness, these tunes are startlingly direct, both emotionally and melodically. They carry only the vaguest air of Costello’s signature cleverness and no trace of anger. [After 'Under Lime',] the rest of Look Now proceeds at a gentler, empathetic pace, lingering upon the bittersweet plights of their protagonists—usually women, always etched with kindness—instead of rushing toward a conclusion."[21]

Uproxx called Costello "one of the greatest songwriters of the last 40 years. Full-stop, no question, no debate necessary," describing the track "Unwanted Number" as "so completely an Elvis Costello song, a mix of cheeky irreverence and deep melancholy sadness that I don’t think there’s any other way to describe it."[22]

Consequence of Sound writes, "Costello's been around so long that it should be easy to pinpoint what a new record will sound like even before fans put ears to it. But his ability to shape-shift in and out of genres wide and far still gives his new material a bit of intrigue. Look Now is another solid entry into an already healthy and vital body of work. It’s not his absolute best, but it still earns a spot in the meatier part of his iconic recording arc."[23]

Touring[edit]

Elvis Costello and The Imposters toured America in support of the album in November and December 2018.[24]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Under Lime"Elvis Costello5:35
2."Don't Look Now"Burt Bacharach / Elvis Costello2:28
3."Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter"Elvis Costello / Carole King4:16
4."Stripping Paper"Elvis Costello3:52
5."Unwanted Number"Elvis Costello3:33
6."I Let the Sun Go Down"Elvis Costello4:26
7."Mr. and Mrs. Hush"Elvis Costello3:46
8."Photographs Can Lie"Burt Bacharach / Elvis Costello3:38
9."Dishonor the Stars"Elvis Costello3:18
10."Suspect My Tears"Elvis Costello4:49
11."Why Won't Heaven Help Me?"Elvis Costello3:22
12."He's Given Me Things"Burt Bacharach / Elvis Costello4:11
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
13."Isabelle in Tears"4:02
14."Adieu Paris (L'Envie De Étoiles)"3:31
15."The Final Mrs. Curtain"2:58
16."You Shouldn't Look at Me That Way" (from the Motion Picture Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool)4:33

Personnel[edit]

The Imposters:

  • Steve Nieve – Fender Rhodes, keyboards, Mellotron, piano
  • Davey Faragher – bass, vocal arrangement, background vocals
  • Pete Thomas – drums, percussion, tambourine

With:

  • Sebastian Krys – co-producer, engineer, mixing, percussion, producer
  • Burt Bacharach – composer, piano
  • Carole King – composer
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Steve Bernstein – piccolo trumpet, trumpet
  • Cyrus Beroukhim – violin
  • Katarzyna Bryla – viola
  • Christopher Cardona – viola
  • Claire Chan – viola, violin
  • Robert Chausow – concert master, violin
  • Doug Emery – chart, pre-production
  • Tommy Faragher – background vocals
  • Lawrence Feldman – alto sax
  • Duarte Figueira – production assistance
  • Erik Friedlander – violoncello
  • Clark Gayton – trombone, bass trombone
  • Juliet Haffner – string contractor, viola
  • Sheryl Henze – flute, alto flute, piccolo
  • Christopher Komer – French horn
  • Kitten Kuroi – background vocals
  • Briana Lee – background vocals
  • Jeremy Levy – transcription
  • Tim Mech – guitar, technician
  • Scott Moore – second engineer
  • Louise Owen – violin
  • Seth Presant – second engineer
  • Michael Rabinowitz – bassoon
  • Chaz Sexton – second engineer
  • Coco Shinomiya – layout
  • Antoine Silverman – violin
  • Eamonn Singer – illustrations
  • Ivy Skoff – production coordination
  • Ron Taylor – engineer
  • Gosha Usov – second engineer
  • Doug Wieselman – alto sax, baritone sax, tenor sax

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[25] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[26] 6
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[27] 96
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[28] 62
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[29] 35
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[30] 32
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[31] 50
Scottish Albums (OCC)[32] 8
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[33] 17
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[34] 40
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[35] 37
UK Albums (OCC)[36] 14
US Billboard 200[37] 46

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hiatt, Brian (2018-10-10). "Elvis Costello Explains His Great New Album, 'Look Now'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  2. ^ "Elvis Costello Doesn't Want Your Nostalgia, He Wants You To 'Look Now'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  3. ^ "New Music Friday For Oct. 12: 6 Albums You Should Hear Now". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  4. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "Look Now – Elvis Costello / Elvis Costello & the Imposters". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Review: Elvis Costello views misery on sumptuous 'Look Now'". AP NEWS. 2018-10-09. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  6. ^ "Elvis Costello, Carole King and a Song 20 Years in the Making". Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  7. ^ "Look Now by Elvis Costello & The Imposters reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Look Now by Elvis Costello & the Imposters Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  9. ^ Beviglia, Jim (12 October 2018). "Elvis Costello & The Imposters: Look Now". American Songwriter. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  10. ^ Beaumont, Mark (11 October 2018). "Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Look Now album review: Suitably refined". The Independent. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  11. ^ Clayton-Lea, Tony (5 October 2018). "Elvis Costello: Look Now review – Focused and pulsating with vigour". The Irish Times. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  12. ^ Snow, Mat (November 2018). "Elvis Costello & The Imposters: Look Now". Mojo (300): 86.
  13. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (18 October 2018). "Elvis Costello / The Imposters: Look Now". Pitchfork. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  14. ^ Cavanagh, David (November 2018). "Soap Operas". Q (391): 107.
  15. ^ Dolan, Jon (11 October 2018). "Review: Elvis Costello & the Imposters' Sharp, Sophisticated 'Look Now'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  16. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (12 October 2018). "Pop review: Elvis Costello & the Imposters: Look Now". The Times. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  17. ^ Deusner, Stephen (November 2018). "Elvis Costello & The Imposters: Look Now". Uncut (258): 22.
  18. ^ Willman, Chris (2018-10-11). "Album Review: Elvis Costello and the Imposters' 'Look Now'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  19. ^ "Elvis Costello returns to 'Imperial' form on first album in 5 years, 'Look Now'". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  20. ^ "Elvis Costello on His Cancer Scare, Reteaming With Burt Bacharach & Immigration". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  21. ^ "Elvis Costello / The Imposters: Look Now Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  22. ^ "All The Best New Rock Albums That Dropped This Week". Uproxx. 2018-10-12. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  23. ^ "Album Review: Elvis Costello Brings a Swanky, Sophisticated Cool to Look Now". Consequence of Sound. 2018-10-10. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  24. ^ https://elviscostello.com/#!/
  25. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Ultratop.be – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  27. ^ "Ultratop.be – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  28. ^ "Elvis Costello Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  29. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  30. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  31. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  32. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  33. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  34. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  36. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Elvis Costello Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 November 2018.