After Bruce Thomas’s book and Elvis’s response, you probably figured that Elvis would never record with The Attractions again, but instead, they regrouped and recorded two last albums: 1994’s Brutal Youth and 1996’s All This Useless Beauty.
At the time, I remember enjoying the former and not enjoying the latter. In fact, I don’t remember a single thing about All This Useless Beauty, which I think goes to the problem I ultimately had with both records.
While both records sounded like Elvis Costello & The Attractions albums, they didn’t feel like Elvis Costello and The Attractions albums. From This Year’s Model through Blood & Chocolate most of the songs — and more importantly, the arrangements of those songs — felt like they could only be done by that band at that point in the universe.
But on Brutal Youth, even an outstanding tune like “Kinder Murder” felt just a bit off — like The Attractions were just another set of hired guns that Elvis brought in to play his latest songs.
So while “Kinder Murder” has some great guitar squalls and an amazing drum sound, it feels more like a great Elvis Costello song played by The Attractions as opposed to a great Elvis Costello & The Attractions song.
“Kinder Murder” performed live on The Late Show With David Letterman, 1994
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