Well damn, this is a sexy and exploratory hip-hop album from two music legends in their own rights.
I don’t actually know that much about Elvis Costello’s music, although I recently listen to This Year’s Model and enjoyed it. What I do know is that Elvis Costello is a sonically unique artist who has always ridden the edge of rock and pop music. His work seems to be just outside of any genre, but accessible and interesting to listen to. And then let’s talk about the Roots. Aside from being the coolest late night house band ever (for Mr. Jimmy Fallon), the Roots have their own epic success with hip hop tracks.
The collaboration between Costello and the Roots is sassy and funky. What keeps popping into my head is seemingly impossible visions of this album actually being non-stop creations of paint and canvas on a wall. It’s refined and unique. It’s intentional but exploratory. To me, it literally sounds like two artists coming together and collaborating on twelve pieces of art that make up one larger piece, but for some reason as I’ve listened to this album, what I really see happening behind all this music is painting. Perhaps it’s the depth and diversity of sounds in every track. There’s elements that are small and big – there’s moments of quiet sentiment and moments of sassy-funk. Some tracks start with a bold hip hop beat, and others start with short string movements.
What’s impressive is the ease with which Elvis Costello and the Roots combined their sounds. They are incredibly complimentary. Both artists have a sense of each other that allows for a smooth sound that is completely natural and completely enthralling to listen to.
Tracks to look out for on this album are “Refuse to Be Saved”, “Tripwire”, “(She Might Be A) Grenade” and “Viceroy’s Row”. Oh no, wait…sorry…the entire album is amazing.
You should absolutely listen to this album if you’re at all interested in exploring new sound collaborations. This will pique your interest and make you a happy music adventurer.