Saturday, 2 June 2018

Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True (1977)


Released July 1977

Recorded at Pathway Studios, London

Released in 1977, "My Aim Is True" has, for me, always been something of a strange album. Fresh from the cleansing experience of "Never Mind The Bollocks”, "The Clash" and "The Ramones" along came Elvis Costello, looking like an even geekier Buddy Holly and backed some (comparatively) old, musically experienced veterans playing a sort of jangly amalgam of "pub rock" and "country rock". Was this what the great punk revolution was all about? No sooner than it had started, the "New Wave" was upon us. Despite Costello's acerbic lyrics (by the way, Elvis Costello's lyrics are always described as "acerbic", just as any Van Morrison review will contain the word "curmudgeonly"), there was precious little protest in the air on this rather (in places) tuneful workout.


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

Yes, "Less Than Zero" seemed a bit of an angry song, about fascism, apparently, although to be honest what he was going on about was often not clear. "Waiting For The End Of The World" had a touch of down home nihilism about it, I guess. I suppose I could punch the air and "Blame It On Cain". Don't get me wrong, I like all of these songs, and "Welcome To The Working Week" and "The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes". All good stuff. I just had a problem with the cultural identity of this particular album. I don't have any problems once The Attractions had been formed and the excellent "This Year's Model" heralded a run of truly wonderful albums. For me, "My Aim Is True" has always sat outside from the others. Maybe it is just me but I found its music somewhat out of touch with the zeitgeist, too jangly, too old school. "This Year's Model" onwards featured that trademark organ and bass dominated Attractions sound, which is just not present here.

I still enjoy the occasional listen to it though, in no way to I dismiss it completely. As debut albums go it is more than acceptable and it brings back great memories. Try to get an edition that includes the non-album single "Watching The Detectives" on it too.


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