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Editors’ Notes

At the turn of the 1980s, Elvis Costello was bursting with so many ideas that nothing could contain him. An unfortunate drunken conversation where he made disparaging comments about his musical hero Ray Charles led him to flee the U.S. and begin work on a soul-derived, Stax-Volt-based collection of tunes that has proven to be one of the most brilliant albums in his long, complicated catalog. The original album featured 20 tracks, ten per side, that all seemed to be motoring along on a musical Autobahn, each member of this taut organ-guitar-bass-drum quartet racing to be the first across the finish line. Sam and Dave’s “I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down” sounds like Booker T. and the MGs on speed. “I Stand Accused,” “5ive Gears in Reverse,” “King Horse,” “Men Called Uncle,” “Beaten to the Punch” and “High Fidelity” all barrel down in a blitzkrieg of sound that stops for nothing. Even the slower numbers such as “Riot Act,” “Clowntime Is Over” and “Possession” move with a haunted aura, as if someone is either chasing the group or they suspect they won’t live long enough to make a next album. Redefines the word prolific.

Customer Reviews

Classic pop

Like Nick Lowe, Elvis crafted short, beautiful pop tunes that stay with you. Armed Forces and My Aim is True have their classic, lasting songs, but for a complete album that rolls from one great song to another, this is my favorite Elvis album. The complicated lyrics and bouncy tunes lend to repeat listenings. Songs like Opportunity and Possession sound upbeat on first listen but have that darkness and longing like so many of his songs. So good.

Probably my favorite Elvis album

Twenty short-ish tunes. Poppy and punchy, catchy as a cold. Not a bad tune in the bunch. A bunch of classic singles up against tons of worthy lesser-knowns. The great thing about this album as a record that you sort of lose on CD, or in a set-up like this, is that each SIDE of the album could be its own great album. This is like a double-LP in one. What are you waiting for?

The Tops

I can't believe I'm here considering a digital download. I have a worn out vinyl import with the same songs as here and the original USA CD release which has THIRTY songs including thre repeat original demos (including Love For Tender) and a cool mod pop version of Girls Talk. And the other tracks are so catchy it's frightening. I think I was the first little kid or even adult that got Get Happy on day one of release. And it's remained top Elvis (including Presley) record for me and at the very top of all records. A rare treasure. $9.99 is almost a shame. One of the great vocal tour de forces that is in a league with Darin, Dylan, Stewart and whoever.


Born: August 25, 1954 in Paddington, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When Elvis Costello's first record was released in 1977, his bristling cynicism and anger linked him with the punk and new wave explosion. A cursory listen to My Aim Is True proves that the main connection that Costello had with the punks was his unbridled passion; he tore through rock's back pages taking whatever he wanted, as well as borrowing from country, Tin Pan Alley pop, reggae, and many other musical genres. Over his career, that musical eclecticism distinguished his records as much as his...
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