Elvis Costello and His Odd Collaborators
Elton John is an omnivorous superfan who occasionally sneaks onto contemporary albums, and Iggy Pop is a jovial cameo jester who'll mug with any new punks who care to have him. But the main thing that drives Elvis Costello's passion for collaborating with others is the challenge. He finished off the '80s guns blazing with an instantly acclaimed canon and his biggest chart hit ever, "Veronica," with Paul McCartney. Then he tried his hand at classical music with the Brodsky Quartet on the theatrical "This Offer Is Unrepeatable"; jazzy chamber-pop fusion on "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" and politically charged E-Z listening on "Who Are These People?" (both with Burt Bacharach); and New Orleans funk with Allan Touissant on "On Your Way Down." Even more unexpected are his duets with Fall Out Boy ("What a Catch, Donnie") and Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley ("Carpetbaggers"). His new album with The Roots only further toughens his soul and rhythm sensibilities with songs like "Tripwire" and "Sugar Won't Work," while still unmistakably sounding like him.