For a small monthly price, I now have practically every song or album I’ll ever want to hear at my fingertips. I can listen to new releases by artists I might have otherwise never heard, and I can dive deep into the catalogs of great artists, unburdened by the costs that used to come with being a completist.
Elvis Costello followed the covers album Kojak Variety with an album of original material just a year later. 1996’s All This Useless Beauty was originally conceived as an album of songs Costello penned for other singers but somewhere along the line that concept fell through.
The finished album does contain several such tracks (including ‘Complicated Shadows,’ written for Johnny Cash, and ‘The Other End of the Telescope,’ written with Aimee Mann and recorded by ‘Til Tuesday eight years earlier) but it also features quite a few songs seeing light for the first time.