Cover image for Cruel smile
Cruel smile
Costello, Elvis, performer.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Island : Distributed by Universal Music & Video Distribution, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 audio disc : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Rock music.

Credits inserted in container.

Includes music video; requires computer with CD-ROM drive, capable of playing MPG files. Made with Macromedia.

Compact disc.
Smile (Japanese A-side) -- When I was cruel (no.1) -- Almost blue (live in Sydney) -- 15 petals (live in Sydney) -- Spooky girlfriend (live at KFOG) -- Honeyhouse (Cruel no.2) (imposter remix) -- Revolution doll -- Peroxide side (blunt cut) -- Oh well -- The imposter vs the floodtide (Dust and petals) -- Watching the detectives / My funny valentine (live in Tokyo) -- Dust (live in Melbourne) -- Uncomplicated (live in Tokyo) -- Smile (Japanese B-side)
Added Corporate Author:
Format :
Music CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ROCK .C841 C Compact Disc Central Library

On Order



Perhaps Elvis Costello is so accustomed to preparing a disc of rare material as a supplement to his albums, he couldn't resist assembling a collection of arcania for his 2002 album When I Was Cruel with a second disc a mere six months after its release, so it could stand alongside the exhaustive Rhino reissues of his catalog. Perhaps he and Island/Universal were finding the quickest way to the end of his contract. Perhaps he actually likes the thing. No matter the reason, there's no excusing Cruel Smile, an ungainly mess of radio performances, remixes, live tracks, outtakes, covers, and sundry B-sides. Sure, this is the kind of thing that would be a boon to hardcore fans...if it were any good, whatsoever. Instead, it's an appalling display of hubris, capturing Costello fooling around in the studio with remixes, grandstanding on stage, tossing off covers, throwing out a couple of unreleased songs, some of which were released as B-sides or overseas singles. It's standard stuff, the kind of thing that fanatics willingly sacrifice meals to hear, to own, but there are no hidden gems here, nothing worth hearing. Instead, it sounds like a parody of the bonus discs on the Expanded Editions that are all the rage in the reissue market in the early years of the 21st century, but it's no joke; it's intended seriously. And perhaps for some completists, just getting this material at a reasonable price is worthwhile. Then again, in a year where Costello product flooded the market, it's much easier to get irritated at its very existence and question whether you really do need a shelf full of Costello material you'll never listen to, particularly if it's as dull and pretentious as this. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine