Wise Up, Ghost CD (2013)

Artist: Elvis Costello

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Product Overview


Label Universal Music Group
SKU 254164640
UPC 602537440542
UPC 14 00602537440542
Format CD
Release Date 9/17/2013
Author Elvis Costello
Compilation Appearance 2k6 Tracks
Compilation Appearance Music Is Awesome Volume 4
Compilation Appearance DEF JAM 30TH ANNIVERSARY:GREATEST HIT(Explicit Version)
Compilation Appearance Yo Gabba Gabba:Music Is Awesome
Compilation Appearance Everything But The Girl
Compilation Appearance Collateral
Compilation Appearance Chant Down Babylon
Compilation Appearance Dave Chapelle's Block Party / O.s.t. (Cln)
Associated Artist/Work Angry String Orchestra
Associated Artist/Work Ash
Associated Artist/Work Legend, John
Technical Info
Producer Steve Mandel; Ahmir Thompson; Elvis Costello
CatalogID 3744054
Lable Name Blue Note (Label)
Released 09/16/2013
Original Release 2013
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Length 55m : 55s
Mono/Stereo Stereo
UPC 00602537440542
Musical Guests
The Brent Fischer Orchestra
La Marisoul
Album Notes and Credits
Liner Note Author: Ben Greenman.
Recording information: A House Called ?uest, Philadelphia, PA; After Hours Studio, Los Angeles, CA; Conway Studio, Hollywood, CA; Crew Studios, Vancouver, B.C.; Feliz Habitat Studios, New York, NY; Sing Sing Recording Studios, Australia; The Village Recorder, Santa Monica, CA.
Photographer: Danny Clinch.
Musicians separated by age, style, and demographic, Elvis Costello and the Roots are nevertheless natural collaborators bound by wide taste, insatiable appetite, and fathomless record collections. This is particularly true of Roots drummer/de facto bandleader ?uestlove, the musical omnivore who is the band's most recognizable member and perhaps the only popular musician outside of Costello who values the music press. This is not incidental to Wise Up Ghost, the unexpected 2013 collaboration between Costello and the Roots. As recognizable as both parties are -- the Roots are Jimmy Fallon's house band, soon to inherit the throne from Doc Severinsen on The Tonight Show; Elvis Costello seizes any opportunity to ham it up on camera -- neither are exactly popular popular artists. Between the two of them, they have a grand total of four Billboard Top 40 hits -- two apiece -- which suggests that their instincts run against the grain, something ?uestlove admits in his 2013 memoir, Mo Meta Blues, when he confesses he always preferred deep cuts to hit singles. This sensibility thrives on Wise Up Ghost, which quickly dismisses its two potential crossover singles -- the ominous "Walk Us Uptown," which is the greatest indication of the album's vibe, then the slyly funky slow groove "Sugar Won't Work" -- before getting down to the hard work of recontextualizing forgotten music from Costello's Warner years while offering barbed social commentary in the vein of What's Going On or There's a Riot Goin' On. Here, the project's origin as a wildly imaginative reinterpretation of Costello's back catalog is evident, but it also speaks to how Elvis rose to the challenge of working with a live hip-hop band. Lacking the context of heavy samples, he nevertheless embraced hip-hop's postmodernism by jamming together the lyrics of "Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over)" and "Pills and Soap" for "Stick Out Your Tongue," while "Refuse to Be Saved" evokes the ghost of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's appearance on "Chewing Gum" and "Tripwire" suggests "Satellite." These two songs were on Spike -- which would've been the Costello album on the charts while ?uestlove was in high school, also not entirely a coincidence -- and much of the sensibility of Wise Up Ghost derives from those sometimes underappreciated early Warner albums Spike and Mighty Like a Rose, two albums overly dense in sonic and lyrical detail. So too is Wise Up Ghost, a record that flaunts its cerebellum as it progresses, but the Roots' emphasis on smart, textured grooves grounds the album even if it hardly widens the album's potential audience. This is an exquisitely detailed, imaginative record that pays back dividends according to how much knowledge, either of Costello or the Roots or their idols, a listener brings to the album. It's not exactly alienating but Wise Up Ghost does require work from its audience, and the more you know -- and the more you listen -- the better it seems. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.82) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "There's stealth hip-hop science: Songs slice up beats and flip deep-catalog Costello."
Q (Magazine) (pp.104-105) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "'Refuse To Be Saved' is propelled by the most irresistible of keyboard riffs..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he approach feels refreshing....'Wake Me Up' melds 'The River In Reverse' with THE DELIVERY MAN album's apocalyptic Bedlam..."
Disc 1
1 Walk Us Uptown
2 Sugar Won't Work
3 Refuse to Be Saved
4 Wake Me Up
5 Tripwire
6 Stick Out Your Tongue
7 Come the Meantimes
8 (She Might Be A) Grenade
9 Cinco Minutos con Vos
10 Viceroy's Row
11 Wise Up Ghost
12 If I Could Believe
Product Attributes
Artist Costello,Elvis
Label Universal Music Group

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