Given their shared propensity for outward-looking creative excursions and a general excitement about the possibilities inherent in pushing the boundaries of musical genres, the current collaboration between Greatest Living Songwriter candidate Elvis Costello and crackerjack all-star band the Roots might feel something like an inevitability. Provided enough turns around the firmament, two such massive comets cannot help but collide. Thankfully, the resultant release, Wise Up Ghost, is an energetic, exciting, and occasionally harrowing document that ably highlights the vaulting strengths of each of the individual parties. On previous big-ticket collaborations with fellow songwriting legends such as Burt Bacharach and Paul McCartney, Elvis has periodically succumbed to the understandable impulse to sublimate his own vision in the service of the masters he was working alongside. That too has resulted in some incredible music — witness “Veronica,” McCartney’s best-ever song since the Beatles, or Bacharach/Costello’s soul-crushing wonderment “God Give Me Strength.” What has been too often lost in these inarguably valuable endeavors is the voice of Elvis himself — the stunningly prolific, caustic genius who has rendered into our culture as many great pop songs over the past forty years as Cole Porter managed in the era before him. In large measure, Wise Up Ghost amends this shortcoming — Costello’s own vision rings loud and clear throughout a profoundly political amalgam of soul, funk, and jazz, recalling nothing so much as Sly And The Family Stone’s untouchable 1972 masterpiece There’s A Riot Goin’ On. During his interview with Stereogum, Costello was open and insightful, eagerly expressing his enthusiasm for his new project, reflecting on his storied career and lending priceless insights into both contemporaries and forbears.