- This F-Beat import pressing of Elvis’s brilliant 1986 release boasts seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound throughout – fairly quiet vinyl too
- Both sides are clean, clear, and lively with plenty of bottom end and lots of space around all of the instruments
- Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is only one highlight among many – these are some of his best songs
- 4 1/2 stars: “Stripping away much of the excess that cluttered Punch the Clock and Goodbye Cruel World, Elvis Costello returned to his folk-rock and pub rock roots with King of America, creating one of his most affecting and personal records … one of his masterpieces.”
Even though the album was recorded right here in the states, the domestic copies are clearly made from dubs, sounding quite a bit more opaque, vague, closed-in, flat and dry than most of the British pressings we played. Like most Costello albums on domestic vinyl, they should be avoided.
Of course I and all my friends, at least the ones who were into Elvis at the time, had a copy with exactly this kind of mediocre sound and we liked it just fine. Now, thirty-six years on, I couldn’t sit through that kind of sound with a gun to my head.
Setting higher standards for yourself — consciously or unconsciously, the process works both ways — is an important aspect of becoming a more critical listener. Many of the Heavy Vinyl audiophile remasters sound “opaque, vague, closed-in, flat and dry” next to the best Hot Stamper pressings, but if you’ve never heard one, how would you know what you’re missing?