Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
Buy On
  1. Nov 5, 2010
    90
    The album winds up with trace echoes of all eras of Costello, but that's only a reflection of how National Ransom is a masterwork in the traditional sense: he's summoned all his skills to deliver an album that summarizes his world view.
  2. Nov 2, 2010
    84
    More than anything, National Ransom reveals that Costello is still a powerhouse writer.
  3. Nov 2, 2010
    83
    There's never been an Elvis Costello album like National Ransom, even though nothing about the record is especially new.
  4. Entertainment Weekly
    Nov 1, 2010
    83
    A worthy sequel to last year's similarly Americana-leaning Secret, Profane & Sugarcane. [Nov. 5, 2010, p. 71]
  5. Nov 11, 2010
    80
    You'd be hard pressed to find an album as varied as Elvis Costello's National Ransom (his 26th, give or take).
  6. 80
    Over the course of 16 tracks, Costello flexes his stylistic muscles and exercises that famously acerbic wit.
  7. Mojo
    Nov 2, 2010
    80
    If Elvis Costello's an all-timer it's because he knows what high seriousness is about. [Nov. 2010, p. 103]
  8. Nov 2, 2010
    80
    33 years deep into his career, Elvis Costello continues to challenge both himself and his audience. If his latest is any indication he'll continue inspiring us well into his twilight years.
  9. Oct 29, 2010
    80
    Costello is a seasoned lyricist, clearly a very smart man, and his prose throughout National Ransom is a lustrous testament to that.
  10. Uncut
    Oct 28, 2010
    80
    With flurries of old-time whimsy, The Beatles gone gothic and vaudevillian storytelling, it's dense and sometimes obscure. [Nov 2010, p.84]
  11. Nov 17, 2010
    77
    It's a lot to take in, but his aim is true as always.
  12. 75
    In Costello's infinitely gifted hands, pop music circa 2010 is anything but only rock 'n' roll.
  13. Oct 29, 2010
    75
    National Ransom isn't the midlife masterpiece that obsessives have been pining for, but its finer points are worth seeking out, in all their sepia-tinted glory.
  14. Nov 2, 2010
    70
    Elvis Costello traffics in so many genres, it must be hard to focus on one. Here, he doesn't.
  15. Nov 1, 2010
    70
    At 16 songs, the album can feel disorienting, but it's further proof that for an Englishman, Costello has become an improbable - and invaluable - ambassador of America's overlooked musical past.
  16. Oct 29, 2010
    70
    With livelier playing and more memorable tunes, Costello's second straight collaboration with producer T Bone Burnett is a major improvement over last year's ho-hum Secret, Profane & Sugarcane.
  17. Oct 28, 2010
    70
    While it's no Costello classic, this repays patience.
  18. Nov 1, 2010
    63
    As with many of his releases the last decade, National Ransom is kind of a mess, with enough scattered gems to reward deeper investigation.
  19. Nov 9, 2010
    60
    Perhaps National Ransom is less a randomly selected almanac, and more a series of vignettes that could potentially have relevance to any particular time and space. Costello is, inventively, trying to make musical antiquarianism a radical pursuit.
  20. Q Magazine
    Nov 4, 2010
    60
    Recorded in 11 days in Nashville and LA, National Ransom sees Costello continuing his obsession with bluegrass and Americana, under the watchful eye of producer T-Bone Burnett. [Dec. 2010, p. 104]
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Nov 6, 2010
    7
    Nice album from Elvis Costello, recorded in 11 days between L.A and Nashville with T Bone Burnett. Mostly of the songs have been playedNice album from Elvis Costello, recorded in 11 days between L.A and Nashville with T Bone Burnett. Mostly of the songs have been played already on concerts (4 are new) , but for me still a "must have" this album. my favourite song is " five small words". It is hard to say, which genre the album goes, but like Elvis said to Music Critic 'National Ransom' Is Not a Bluegrass Record! enjoy. Full Review »