Book Review: Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink

Elvis Costello by Elvis Costello in 688 pages

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink

As the wave of rock star memoirs stacks ever taller, Elvis Costello's resides near the top. While the London-born Declan MacManus rose to ubiquity beginning in the late Seventies as one of the UK's angry young men alongside Graham Parker, Joe Jackson, and Paul Weller, his poetic lyrics and pub-hewn punky quartet stood apart from rock's New Wave. In the decades since, Costello's grown into an elder statesman of singer-songwriters. Case in point: Among his latest projects is adding music to Bob Dylan lyrics with Jim James, Marcus Mumford, and others. A hefty read, Unfaithful Music captivates at every turn of the page, detailing his origins, career highs and lows, and offering insight into important songs like "Alison" and "Shipbuilding." Collaborations with a seemingly unwieldy cast of musicians (Specials, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint, the Roots) mines one rich vein, but most telling are the stories from the Eighties after the author's first flush of success. Initial tours of the States are vividly recounted, as is the juncture when his backing band the Attractions are cast aside for 1986's King of America, an album that presaged Americana. A superb, fast-moving narrative sure to delight both fans and the curious.


Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink

by Elvis Costello
Blue Rider Press, 688 pp., $30

Elvis Costello appears in conversation with Evan Smith at BookPeople on Tue., Oct. 20, 7pm. For an interview with the author on the occasion of Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink see Earache! www.austinchronicle.com/music.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Elvis Costello
Phases & Stages
Elvis Costello
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, June 5, 2009

Phases and Stages
Elvis Costello & the Imposters
Momofuku (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, Aug. 22, 2008

More Music Reviews
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
The Parrothead behind the empire

Doug Freeman, July 21, 2017

All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music
All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music

Kevin Curtin, June 16, 2017

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Specials, Roots

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle