Elvis Costello Says Steve Albini “Might Be The Second-Worst Producer Of A Great Record After Jimmy Iovine”
Elvis Costello is the subject of the latest 5-10-15-20 interview series over at Pitchfork. Usually these recounts of an artist’s musical development are pretty anodyne, but Costello brings the heat when talking about PJ Harvey. He shouts out her 4-Track Demos album as something he was listening to while he was 40 and makes clear his preference for this unfiltered look at Harvey as opposed to Rid Of Me, the album that the demos eventually became.
“I remember seeing PJ on The Tonight Show. She stood there with just a guitar and did “Rid Of Me.” It was like seeing Howlin’ Wolf on Shindig! So great,” he started. “And then I got the record, and it was nowhere near as good, but it didn’t matter. For me, the record sounds like shit.”
“That guy,” he said — referring to the album’s producer Steve Albini — “doesn’t know anything about production. He might be the second-worst producer of a great record after Jimmy Iovine, who totally fucked up Darkness On The Edge Of Town. It sounds like Bruce [Springsteen] is in a fucking shoe box full of tissue paper.”
“And that’s why 4-Track Demos is 20 times the version of the songs on the album, in terms of intensity and intent,” Costello continued. “What matters is her, what PJ is doing. There’s nobody like her.”