Photographers: Chalkie Davies; Carol Starr.
Despite cameos in Spice World, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and 200 Cigarettes, very few would consider Elvis Costello a star of the silver screen, but the singer/songwriter has soundtracked many a film since he stormed onto the scene in the late '70s. The 2012 compilation In Motion Pictures doesn't contain all of the songs that have popped up in movies over the years but it has 15 of them, making a shift from songs licensed to films toward songs written for films about halfway through. Apart from "Oh Well," a song cut for the little-seen hip-hop opera Prison Song, "Sparkling Day" from One Day, and "You Stole My Bell" from The Family Man, most of these songs aren't particularly hard to find on other Costello compilations, but this does provide a service in rounding up a bunch of stray songs of varying shades of quality. Although this is certainly inconsistent -- its momentum stalls on the stately relatively recent songs -- in an odd way, what's most interesting about In Motion Pictures is that it's the only compilation to touch upon nearly every phase of Costello's career. Here, you can hear the man evolve from nervy punk rocker to sophisticated balladeer, trading personas like an actor finds new roles. And while that might not make for the sturdiest of compilations, it is one that is quietly -- and inadvertently -- revealing. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine