Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Classics
By: Eric G.
Costello has easily proven himself to be a multi-dimensional musician over the course of his 20-album, 26-year career, but his dilettantish forays into anything other than bile-infested rock ‘n’ roll almost always ring hollow. (When was the last time you put on The Juliet Letters?) North is no exception. He sounds ‹ gulp ‹ happy on these piano-based, jazz-inflected love songs, and any music fan knows that happiness never breeds good art. If you enjoyed Costello’s schmaltzy work with Burt Bacharach on their Painted from Memory album back in ‘98, then, perhaps, you will be able to stomach the absurd pretensions that North promulgates without so much as a hint of irony. But this whole record just smacks of the type of insider-music-snob indulgence that the Elvis Costello of ‘80 would just as soon kick in the face as look at. Thanks a lot, Diana Krall.