Elvis Costello / Elvis Costello & the Imposters

The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!!

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A weighty box set containing one concert in three different formats -- CD, DVD, and 10" vinyl -- The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! gained some notoriety in the week prior to its release when Elvis Costello claimed its “price appears to be either a misprint or a satire.” True, the $262 price tag is steep -- particularly for an album that offers 16 songs on its CD and 19 on its DVD, some overlapped, some not -- but some die-hard fans with deep wallets will surely find the replica of the Spectacular Spinning Songwheel appealing and the musical contents, which are penciled in for a separate affordable release sometime in 2012, are strong. Costello & the Imposters are in high spirits, jumping out of the gate with “I Hope You’re Happy Now” -- a tune whose 1986 vintage dates from the original Spinning Songwheel tour, legendary among Costello fanatics for its loose, unpredictable nature -- then tearing into Nick Lowe’s “Heart of the City,” one of two unexpected covers here (the other being the Rolling Stones’ “Out of Time”). Other pleasant surprises rear their heads -- notably Susanna Hoffs taking lead on “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution),” a song the Bangles recorded after Elvis -- but he still finds time for such staples as “Everyday I Write the Book,” “Watching the Detectives,” “I Want You,” “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” and “Radio, Radio,” so it’s not entirely a stroll through the darkest corners of Costello’s past, something that undoubtedly makes that high price tag sting just a little bit more. But disregard the cost of The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! for a moment and focus on the music: it’s an enjoyable set that is absolutely worth the price when it’s available at a lower suggested retail, and for those wealthy Costello fanatics, this big box is a handsome collectable.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:14 Amazon
2 2:21 Amazon
3 2:04 Amazon
4 2:35 Amazon
5 5:00 Amazon
6 6:33 Amazon
7 6:50 Amazon
8 3:43 Amazon
9 4:59 Amazon
10 8:38 Amazon
11 6:43 Amazon
12 4:42
13 4:24 Amazon
14 4:54
15 4:03 Amazon
16 5:19 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
blue highlight denotes track pick