Monday, October 08, 2007

391. Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True (1977)

Track Listing

1. Welcome to the Working Week
2. Miracle Man
3. No Dancing
4. Blame It on Cain
5. Alison
6. Sneaky Feelings
7. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
8. Less Than Zero
9. Mystery Dance
10. Pay It Back
11. I'm Not Angry
12. Waiting for the End of the World


This album is usually filed under punk, but it must be one of the least punkish punk albums ever. Of course there are elements, this is the UK in 77 after all, Elvis has the lyrics, which are actually better and smarter than the average punk, and he has some of the delivery, but musically it is very much inspired in 50's music. So you'd consider it punk because of the lyrics and the sparseness of production, and that is about it.

All that said an album doesn't need to be punk to be good. And this is pretty great, of course Elvis would continue to explore this sound to exhaustion and he really hasn't made much of it for a few years now, but here it is fresh and it sounds fresh while still sounding like 50's inspired.

It sounds kind of like the music from a bizarro world 50's diner. Covering right-wing politics, sex and frustration with very sparse production so it reminds me more of stuff like The Sonics (although not as raucous) than anything else in the punk scene at this time. That actually makes it good. So definitely recommended.

Track Highlights

1. I'm Not Angry
2. Welcome To The Working Week
3. Alison
4. Blame It On Cain

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Costello called in sick to his day job (as a data-entry clerk) in order to rehearse and record the album with Clover, which was cut in a series of six four-hour sessions for about £1,000.

Costello stayed at his day job as the first two singles, "Less Than Zero" and "Alison", were pre-released without much success. Finally, the label decided to release the album in the summer of 1977, and he was asked to quit his job and become a professional musician.

Costello's first TV appearence with Alison :


Anonymous said...

That Youtube clip is great. I've always wanted to listen to some more Elvis Costello but he is one of these artists I've just never seem to get around to.

Anonymous said...

I've always felt that this one was kind of weak compared to the next 3 or 4 Costello albums. To my ears, Elvis didn't really kick it into gear until he hooked up with the Attractions. But taken on its own as a debut from a guy who had to record it on the sly, it's pretty amazing.