Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True
Star Rating: 5/5
Elvis Costello burst onto the scene with his debut record, My Aim Is True. The energetic beats and playful riffs on display made this record an instant classic. Many considered it to be the greatest pop debut of all time. Although Costello is an English musician, he emulates the rock and roll mumble and accent of Elvis Presley and other American pop singers of the time. Its popularity could even be attributed to this fact, and many British artists have since followed in suit by adopting a faux American accent. The album acted as a springboard for Costello's illustrious career and set the standard for other rock and roll acts. My Aim Is True became a de facto standard of excellence for rockers everywhere.
Top Tracks & Album Takeaways
Released in the US and not on the UK version, "Watching the Detectives", is by far this reviewers favorite track on the record. The riff and rhythm are syncopated such that it will take an undiscerning listener a moment or two to digest the beat. It alternates between a scrappy verse and a haunting chorus, describing the woes of those swallowed up in the legal system. While this song was not the most popular single, it is possibly the most technical and hard hitting.
Another stellar track from the record is the lead single "Alison", a chronicle of unrequited love. The album is named after the lyric "My Aim Is True" from this song. "Alison" shows the softer side of Costello's songwriting, and the mix of sentimentality and angst proved to be an effective formula.
What we liked
Produced in just 24 hours, we can't get enough of this album. Records produced in this manner will always have a more cohesive sound.
The cynical attitudes toward work and social life tout quick and dirty anthems to the everyman. Often rock stars are too disconnected from the "average Joe" to be relatable. "Welcome to the Working Week" and "No Dancing" prove that Costello was very in touch with the quotidian struggle of anonymity and disappointment with adult life.
Other tunes like "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" and "Mystery Dance" are more abstract in their intended meaning.
Another overarching theme of the album is an ambiguous religious statement. "Blame it on Cain", "Miracle Man", and "Waiting for the End of the World" express religious apathy, but he never takes this view to fruition, preferring to leave the listener wondering what, if anything, he actually has to say about religion.
Not so much...
We normally try to add a few things to the list of things we didn't like about the record, but here at Demo Digger, this release is considered unimpeachable.
Videos and Singles
Watching the Detectives (Live 1978)
Alison (Live 1977)
Waiting for the End of the World (Live, year unknown)
Overall, Elvis Costello has us eating from the palm of his hand. If you haven't experienced this album from start to finish, it is our suggested method at Demo Digger to listen to the album all the way through, as the artist intended. You'll get the most out of it! This album is absolutely timeless.
Welcome to the Working Week
Blame It on Cain
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Less Than Zero
Pay It Back
I'm Not Angry
Waiting for the End of the World