22 July 2013

22nd July - Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True

Artist – Album: Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True
Released:  22nd July 1977
Sounds Like: Elvis is king

With my debit card in the ticket machine at Oxford Road on Saturday afternoon, approximately five minutes before my train was due to leave for Liverpool, I drew an inopportune but unshakeable blank. I hadn’t the foggiest what my pin number was, and after three clueless attempts at guessing it, my card was securely locked. Ironically, a large portion of the blame for my monumental brain freeze can be ascribed to the scorching heat, but, without a doubt, another contributing factor was Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True – a record I had playing through my headphones at the time and had crooned its way to my full and undivided attention. 

The album, Costello’s first, is a masterclass in pub rockery. It’s no exaggeration to say that Costello is one of the finest singer-songwriters this country has ever produced, and his idiosyncratic penmanship and cynical quippery is well evident even at this early stage. ‘Welcome to the Working Week’ gets us started perfectly: in less than a minute and a half, Elvis hammers through an insanely catchy punk rock melody, memorable chorus and sneeringly brilliant lyrics. From the exquisite ballad ‘Alison’ to the jilted pop of ‘(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes’ (featuring the immortal line “I said ‘I’m so happy I could die’, she said ‘drop dead’ and ran off with another guy”), the album is peppered with literate punk and new wave highlights.

Less Than Zero’ stands as the best track on the album, but it could have been even better – the US version also included the dark, reggae-tinged ‘Watching the Detectives’. Had that have been included, this would have been a nail on ten out of ten. As it is, it’s still a well-earned nine.

Albumaday... rating: 9/10

1.       Welcome to the Working Week – 1:22
2.       Miracle Man – 3:31
3.       No Dancing – 2:39
4.       Blame It on Cain – 2:49
5.       Alison – 2:54
6.       Sneaky Feelings – 2:09
7.       (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes – 2:47
8.       Less Than Zero – 3:15
9.       Mystery Dance – 1:38
10.   Pay It Back – 2:33
11.   I’m Not Angry – 2:57
12.   Waiting for the End of the World – 3:22

Listen to ‘Less Than Zero’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHQK3yo9CBA

Also released on the 22nd July:
1974: Stevie Wonder – Fulfillingness’ First Finale
Also released on the 22nd July:
2008: Dr. Dog - Fate

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