The Delivery Man - Elvis Costello
The Delivery Man Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: Elvis has returned to the land of rock--or at least, country-flavored rock, as he's joined on several tracks by Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris. It's his second disc to feature (and first to credit) his new backing band, The Impostors, who look an awful lot like his former backing band, The Attractions, save for the addition of bassist Davey Faragher. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. 100
    Songs terrific, band sensational, and -- big plus -- Costello's voice late-developing way beyond that pinched whine into an instrument of substance and character. [Oct 2004, p.97]
  2. This is a classic Costello record... arguably his most cohesive, magnetic collection of songs since Blood & Chocolate and the highlight of his middle-age years.
  3. 80
    It's Costello at his most emotionally direct. [Oct 2004, p.118]
  4. It’s been ages since he’s sounded this self-assured, or this much at home.
  5. Staggered between full-on rockers like "Needle Time," "There’s A Story In Your Voice", and "Bedlam," the softer material sounds excessively genteel.
  6. It convincingly exhibits the breadth of affection Costello has for homegrown American musical forms, but lacks a tight-enough center to stand among his sturdier, more disciplined works.
  7. [It] doesn’t help in pinpointing the moment Costello veered into self-parody, but it does catalogue nearly everything that’s become impossible to take about him.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. ShawnJ
    May 4, 2005
    There are a couple of tunes that put me to sleep, but I can't stop listening to the others.
  2. dazzerw
    Sep 26, 2004
    Awesome! Sone of the recent reviews defy belief
  3. JoeyM
    Oct 11, 2004
    The last Costello album that I enjoyed as much as this one was "Painted from Memory," his collaboration with Bacharach. I have enjoyed his work the most in the last two decades when he has focused on pushing his own limits. I felt that the last couple of turns with the Attractations were forced "returns to form" with a couple of good songs and I didn't much care for "North" at all. This collection, on the other hand, has some of his finest lyrics, bravest musical turns and sharpest delivery in recent memory. Well worth a listen! Expand
  4. RobS.
    Sep 26, 2004
    I'll be listening to this one for a few weeks at least. There are some very, very nice performances of strong songs here - not just from EC, but Emmylou Harris has got a better song to sing in "Heart Shaped Bruise" than anything on her last album. The highlight of the album is another duet, "There's A Story In Your Voice" with Lucinda Williams. I can't believe how good he sounds in tandem with Lu doing that drunken/spastic vocal thing she occasionally lets loose on her own albums. It's cool and funny and one of those songs I keep playing over and over. "Either Side of the Same Town" and "Country Darkness" are other highlights for me. On the whole, the songwriting on The Delivery Man is much freer and less affected than on When I Was Cruel. And I thought North was dreadful, both the songwriting and his singing. I'm pleased with EC's rebound here. Expand
  5. ClaraC
    Mar 27, 2005
    Listening to this album feels like returning to King of America, Blood & Chocolate -- even a little bit of Imperial Bedroom. I don't love every cut, but mostly I've been seduced by Elvis' voice, songwriting and especially lyrics, in a way that I haven't been since those classics came out. Expand
  6. DanF
    Oct 8, 2004
    I find the brash, noisy stuff suits his talents less than the ballad stuff, like "Nothing Clings like Ivy," which is the strongest song on the album for me. Expand
  7. MS
    Sep 23, 2004
    Well, even this die hard fan found the album almost continuously tedious. And although EC has such a destinctive voice, I also sometimes think that he is, as his band are called, an imposter. Expand