Elvis Costello / Brutal Youth vinyl debut via 2LP reissue

Elvis Costello's Brutal Youth vinyl reissue
Elvis Costello’s Brutal Youth was never issued on vinyl

The 1990s was a decade that saw Elvis Costello produce some great music as a result of collaborations. His desire move beyond releasing straight rock/pop albums led to some fruitful partnerships including the G.B.H. soundtrack with Richard Harvey, the underrated Juliet Letters album with The Brodsky Quartet, and the sublime Painted From Memory with Burt Bacharach. The even learned to read music along the way.

Ironically, despite all this, the nineties highpoint for many is his 1994 album Brutal Youth, which saw Costello reunite which his former cohorts, The Attractions for the first time in eight years.

Even though bassist Bruce Thomas didn’t survive the experience (Nick Lowe stepped in to play on most of the record) Brutal Youth was a fine return to form, after the somewhat impenetrable Mighty Like A Rose from 1991. The touching ballads (Too Soon To Know, Favourite Hour) complemented the spikier tracks (Kinder Murder, 20% AmnesiaSulky Girl) perfectly, but best of all was the simplicity and consistency of the sound and Mitchell Froom’s production. The lofty musical ambitions of his previous few solo records were thrown out the window and this was Costello and the Attractions doing what they do best, with the ever-brilliant Steve Nieve really shining.

It did get a 2002 two-CD reissue, but amazingly, Brutal Youth has never been available on vinyl. All that is about to change, as Music On Vinyl prepare to release the album as a 180g 2xLP set on 19 August, complete with gatefold sleeve. This is the standard 15-track album with no bonus material.

Brutal Youth 2LP track listing:

LP 1

  • 1. Pony St.
  • 2. Kinder Murder
  • 3. 13 Steps Lead Down
  • 4. This Is Hell
  • 5. Clown Strike
  • 6. You Tripped At Every Step
  • 7. Still Too Soon To Know
  • 8. 20% Amnesia

LP 2

  • 1. Sulky Girl
  • 2. London’s Brilliant Parade
  • 3. My Science Fiction Twin
  • 4. Rocking Horse Road
  • 5. Just About Glad
  • 6. All The Rage
  • 7. Favourite Hour

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Connor Ratliff

Brutal Youth is long overdue for a vinyl release! I’m so excited about this.

I actually think that the “lofty musical ambitions of his previous few solo records” were actually on full display here– in some ways, this is almost as eclectic a batch of songs as Spike or Mighty Like A Rose, but I think there is something about this album that feels different. Maybe it’s just the chemistry of the players or that Elvis was just having fun. Froom’s production is excellent.

The album sessions started out with just EC and Pete, then Steve Nieve was added. Nick Lowe then joined the line-up and that grouping was informally dubbed “The Distractions.” Nick felt that some of the songs were a little bit beyond his abilities as a bass player, and that’s when Costello made the call to Bruce.

This release leaves– as far as I know– only TWO remaining Costello albums that have never seen a vinyl edition: Kojak Variety and Painted From Memory. Here’s hoping that they will be up next!

Geert De Wilde

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/index.php/Concert_1994-07-07_London : Bruce was there! :)
I forgot to mention: most excellent album finally on vinyl! (which I have now pre-ordered)


As a fan that saw EC and the Attractions on the Brutal Youth and Useless Beauty tours, I’m here to second Geert’s timeline on Bruce.

Chris Straub

In my opinion, this is one kind of reissue that Universal’s “Vinyl Project” ought to be concentrating on. Mid-90’s stuff that never saw an LP release.

Geert De Wilde

Nick Lowe was the initial bassist on this album. Bruce Thomas joined later. The Attractions reformed and then toured together. Then they made Useless Beauty. Toured again. And only THEN Bruce Thomas gave up.