“He might be the second-worst producer of a great record after Jimmy Iovine”
Speaking in a new interview, Costello discussed seeing Harvey play the title track to her 1994 album, but then when he heard the final version of her second LP he wasn’t impressed.
“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,” Costello told Pitchfork. “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 continued — 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 said, referring to Harvey’s demo album that arrived five months after ‘Rid Of Me’. “What matters is her, what PJ is doing. There’s nobody like her.”