The 2001 edition of SPIKE comes with a bonus disc of rare material including demos and alternative versions of songs.
Personnel includes: Elvis Costello (vocals, guitar, mandolin, keyboards, percussion); Chrissie Hynde (vocals); T-Bone Burnette (acoustic guitar, bass); Donal Lunny (guitar, bouzouki, bodhran); Marc Ribot (guitar); Steve Wickham, Frankie Gavin (fiddle); Derek Bell (Irish harp, tiompan); Davy Spillane (low whistle, Uilleann pipes); Roger Lewis (soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone); Kevin Harris (tenor saxophone); Gregory Davis, Efrem Towns (trumpet); Charles Joseph (trombone); Kirk Joseph (sousaphone); Allen Toussaint (piano); Mitchell Froom (harmonium, keyboards); Benmont Tench (keyboards); Nick Lowe, Paul McCartney (bass); Jim Keltner, Jerry Marotta, (drums); Ralph Forbers (electronic drums, programming); Cait O'Riordan (maracas, bells).
Producers include: Kevin Killen, T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello.
Recorded at Ocean Way, Hollywood, California; Southlake, New Orleans, Louisiana; Windmill Lane, Dublin, Ireland; Air Studios, London, England. Includes liner notes by Elvis Costello.
On his first album for Warner Brothers, Costello lived up to his new role as "the beloved entertainer", moving further away from his new-wave background with a sprawling collection of songs in a diverse range of musical styles. Spike takes in pure pop ("Veronica"), cod-funk ("Chewing Gum"), gospel ("Deep Dark Truthful Mirror"), Irish folk ("Any King's Shilling") and rockabilly ("Pads, Paws And Claws"), alongside the venomous politicizing of "Let Him Dangle" and "Tramp The Dirt Down". Not everything works, and in fact the strongest song on the album is the simple acoustic ballad "Baby Plays Around", co-written with his wife Cait O'Riordan.
Rolling Stone - 4 Stars - Excellent
Q (10/01, p.141) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...His songs were as dark as ever....SPIKE reeks of ingenuity and the malice is positively forensic..."
CMJ (1/5/04, p.26) - Ranked #17 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1989"