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Spike by Elvis Costello
Released: Feb 1989
Label: Rhino/Warner Bros.
Elvis Costello wrote, recorded and toured relentlessly throughout the late 1970s and '80s. Then, he took an extended break before closing out the '80s with this expansive collection. An all-star supporting cast helps give each song a unique sound. There's Merseyside rock ("Veronica," with Paul McCartney, remains Costello's highest charting U.S. single) and Tom Waits-style sonic experimentation and openhearted ballads. The one-time New Wave outsider had become a "mature" artist, and such numbers as "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror," "Chewing Gum" and "Baby Plays Around" rank with the finest of his career.
Nick Dedina