Do not take the "Soundtrack" portion to the title of Unfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album lightly. This companion album to Elvis Costello's 2015 memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink is indeed a soundtrack, its 38 songs all playing pivotal parts in his nearly 700-page book and the sequencing mirroring the non-chronological flow of the autobiography, a book where Costello takes pains to draw connections between people, places, and scraps in notebooks. Costello doesn't dwell on specific scandals or hits in Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, nor does he treat its soundtrack as an opportunity to march through the hits once again. Certainly, there are hits here -- "Alison," "Watching the Detectives," "Oliver's Army," all present in their studio versions, while "Accidents Will Happen" is represented by a live version and "Veronica" a demo -- but just as many are missing, including anything from This Year's Model and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," a Nick Lowe song many listeners assume belongs to Elvis. In their place are deep cuts and duets, an unreleased demo from 1975, an unheard collaboration with Rosanne Cash and Kris Kristofferson, B-sides, and one-offs -- a collection of songs that certainly suggest Costello's breadth but also are unified in their musical ambition, lyricism, and, if the tome is to be trusted, confession. So, Unfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album winds up being as much an autobiography as its printed companion: it is not the place to turn if you're looking for hits or even certain sounds, but rather a sense of what kind of musician Elvis Costello believes himself to be. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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