Billboard (p.34) - "Assigning a time and place to each song, from the early 20th century to present day, Costello and company kick hard on the Wall Street-skewering title track 'Five Small Words' and 'The Spell That You Cast.'"
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1034 stars out of 5
-- "[The tracks] evince Costello's usual range of pungent moods, styles, and enjoyably angular writing, words and tunes."
Paste (magazine) - "NATIONAL RANSOM reveals that Costello is still a powerhouse writer. Whether he's offering beautifully rich character portraits or some of the clever wordplay fans have come to expect from him, it's clear that after three decades he can still pen a hell of a tune."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.754 stars out of 5
-- "[H]ere Costello is in an eclectic mood, all jazz torch on 'You Hung The Moon,' vaudevillian biographer on 'Jimmie Standing In The Rain,' and raging preacher of doom on 'Church Underground.'"
Uncut (magazine) - p.844 stars out of 5
-- "[I]t's dense and sometimes obscure. The highpoint is 'Bullets For The Newborn King', a sweet lament written from the viewpoint of a regretful assassin."
Audio Mixer: Mike Piersante.
Recording information: Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN; The House, Nashville, TN; The Village Studios, West Los Angeles, CA.
Editor: Jason Wormer.
Illustrator: Tony Millionaire.
Photographers: James OMara; Kate McBride.
Recorded in Nashville with producer T-Bone Burnett and a host of guest artists, the eclectic National Ransom is Costello's second studio album for Concord/Hear Music.