The Very Best of Elvis Costello

The trouble with any compilation is that it generally leaves something out that you like. Preferences vary. And while CD compilers may well take an in-house poll of their fellows regarding favorite tracks of any given recording artist (or however the hell they do it), there will always be those two or three cuts, for you anyway, conspicuous in their absence. Still, this new Rhino double-disc set of the best of Elvis Costello ain’t too shabby. Between the two discs, all the usual suspects are here: "Alison," "Radio, Radio," "Veronica" (written with Paul McCartney), "Watching the Detectives," and so on. But also included, to my surprise, are such personal favorites as "Almost Blue," "God Give Me Strength" (with Burt Bacharach!), and my all-time, absolutely favorite Elvis cut, "Riot Act." Rock bands may come and rock bands may go, to paraphrase Ray Davies, but Elvis and his songs are gonna last … a mighty long time.