My Aim Is True

Elvis Costello

Columbia Records, 1977

http://www.elviscostello.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/23/1997

Blessed are the geeks, for we shall inherit the earth. Who knew in 1977 that a skinny young Brit would give the industry a swift kick in the ass?

Elvis Costello looked on the cover of his debut album My Aim Is Truemy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 to be the kid that got the shit beat out of him in gym class - thin, scrawny, kind of geeky-looking.

But the album showed hints of genius, and My Aim Is True still contains some of Costello's best music ever. (Rykodisc re-released the album, along with a good portion of his early catalog, some years back. This review is frrom the original Columbia release.)

Costello seems to have learned a valuable lesson before he entered the studio - say what you have to, then get out. Several tracks, including the opener "Welcome To The Working Week," are under two minutes in length. When he performs longer, the message he's trying to get across is a little more complex.

The rawness of the performance is what makes this album still sound fresh two decades after its release. Cuts like "Alison" and "Blame It On Cain" have not aged a bit, and Costello's vocals are as raw and fluent as they would be later in his career. He was setting a tough standard to follow, but Costello seemed like he wanted to make his first effort count. Chalk one up for raw emotion - it works.

The reggae feel of "Watching The Detectives" works well, as does the dance beat of "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes." Costello tends to jump from musical style to musical style on My Aim Is True, but unlike many other artists who have done this, Costello pulls it off with great success. He also seems to try to shake off the "angry young man" label that he would wear for some time on the cut "I'm Not Angry." You may be the judge whether he is or not.

My Aim Is True is a great primer for those who are interested in getting into Costello's music (besides buying one of the two greatest hits packages out there), and stands as one of, if not the, best album he ever recorded.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-


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© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.