Secret, Profane & Sugarcane

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Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Studio album by Elvis Costello
Released 9 June 2009
Recorded 2008-9
Genre Americana, country folk, country rock
Label Hear Music, Universal
Producer T Bone Burnett
Elvis Costello chronology
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Live at Hollywood High
(2010)Live at Hollywood High2010

Secret, Profane & Sugarcane is the 2009 studio album by Elvis Costello. It was recorded in Nashville with American songwriter and producer T Bone Burnett, and released on 9 June 2009 on the Hear Music label.[1] The album features bluegrass, Americana and country music along with Costello's familiar garrulous lyrics.[2]

Secret, Profane & Sugarcane entered the UK album charts at number 71,[3] where it spent one week before dropping out of the top 100. It was far more successful in the US, when it charted at number 13 on the Billboard 200.

The artwork was designed by comic strip artist Tony Millionaire.[4]


In the albums before Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, Costello had experimented with various styles of music including jazz, classical and others.[5] For this album, Costello returned to an acoustic band set-up for the first time since 1986's King of America album.[6] Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee in three days, Costello's 29th studio album[7] was released on Starbucks' Hear Music label to generally good critical acclaim.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly (B+)[9]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[10]
Spin 3.5/5 stars[11]
The Daily Telegraph 3/5 stars[12]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[13]
The Phoenix 4/5 stars[14]
Pitchfork Media (3.8/10)[15]

Critics looked upon Secret, Profane & Sugarcane in a generally very favourable way with some exceptions. Reviewing for Rolling Stone, Jody Rosen said that Costello was "in one of his comfort zones" and had made a "tight, uncluttered" album.[2] Bud Scoppa, reviewing the album for Uncut, gave it a four-star rating, saying it was a "rootsy beauty" and "...his most engaging album in a very long time". In a more dismissive review, Pitchfork Media gave the album a 3.8 out of 10, and called the album "yet another entry in Costello's string of gestural albums" .[16]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Elvis Costello, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Down Among the Wines and Spirits"   3:11
2. "Complicated Shadows"   2:53
3. "I Felt the Chill Before the Winter Came" Costello, Loretta Lynn 3:59
4. "My All Time Doll"   4:09
5. "Hidden Shame"   4:14
6. "She Handed Me a Mirror"   4:04
7. "I Dreamed of My Old Lover"   2:35
8. "How Deep Is the Red"   3:47
9. "She Was No Good"   3:47
10. "Sulphur to Sugarcane" Costello, T Bone Burnett 5:59
11. "Red Cotton"   5:43
12. "The Crooked Line" Costello, Burnett 3:49
13. "Changing Partners" Larry Coleman, Joe Darion 2:39
Bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
14. "Femme Fatale" (LP, Japan CD and iTunes) Lou Reed 3:49
15. "What Lewis Did Last" (LP, Japan CD, Amazon US CD pre-order, Amazon US MP3 single and iTunes Europe pre-order) Costello, Traditional 4:49
16. "Dirty Rotten Shame" (iTunes US/Canada pre-order)   3:48


The following people contributed to Secret, Profane & Sugarcane:[17]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Highest Position
UK album chart 71[3]
Billboard Top 200 13[18]
Belgian Album Chart 39[19]
Sweden Album Chart 45[19]
Spanish Album Chart 90[19]


  1. ^ Perry, Andrew (29 May 2009). "Secret, Profane & Sugarcane Review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Secret, Profane & Sugarcane Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Chart Stats: Secret, Profane & Sugarcane". ChartStats. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Elvis Costello to Release Americana Album". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 15 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Pitchfork Album Reviews:Elvis Costello, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  6. ^ Ratliff, Ben (12 June 2009). "Music review: Elvis Costello". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "Elvis Costello: Secret, Profane & Sugarcane". Paste. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  8. ^ Allmusic review
  9. ^ Entertainment Weekly – review. Entertainment Weekly. (27 May 2009).
  10. ^ Rolling Stone review. Rolling Stone.
  11. ^ Zimmerman, Shannon. (30 May 2009) Spin review. Spin.
  12. ^ Perry, Andrew. (29 May 2009) The Daily Telegraph review. The Daily Telegraph.
  13. ^ Guardian review. The Guardian (17 May 2009).
  14. ^ The Phoenix review at the Wayback Machine (archived October 14, 2012)
  15. ^ Pitchfork Media review. Pitchfork Media. (3 June 2009).
  16. ^ Elvis Costello: Secret, Profane and Sugarcane | Album Reviews. Pitchfork (3 June 2009).
  17. ^ "Secret, Profane & Sugarcane Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  18. ^ "Billboard Chart: Secret, Profane & Sugarcane". Billboard. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  19. ^ a b c "ELVIS COSTELLO – SECRET, PROFANE & SUGARCANE (ALBUM)". Retrieved 15 August 2009. 

External links[edit]