Extreme Honey (Warner Brothers)
by Nik Rainey
There’s no way that anything Elvis Costello did in his bizarre sojourn with Warner Brothers will ever be considered in the same breath as the work he did in his Columbia years, but Extreme Honey, which liberally samples the patchwork crazy quilt of records he recorded under WB’s tutelage, shows conclusively and inexpensively that EC in the ’90s is every bit the eccentric artiste-gone-eclectic (the polite term for “confused” – he’s not even sure who to credit his own compositions to anymore!) that Lou Reed was for RCA in the ’70s and Neil Young was for Geffen in the ’80s. (It remains to be seen if Costello will follow the lead of the above-mentioned pair and celebrate/force his contractual emancipation with an album of nothing but feedback, though I suspect it’d still get tagged as “overwritten” if he did.) Mr. MacManus appears to have made the leap that all great pop singer/songwriters (like his heroes, Randy Newman and Van Morrison) have taken, a weird reversal of the typical rock ‘n’ roll career path: From multimillion seller to oddball cult figurine.