This Year's ModelAlbum |
The first of several masterpieces.
For all its new wave trappings, Elvis Costello's debut album My Aim Is True still owed a huge stylistic debt both to the UK pub rock scene and the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter aesthetic of the early '70s. Released barely eight months later, This Year's Model is where Costello's iconic "revenge and guilt" era truly begins. Dropping the loping rhythms and pedal steel guitar of the debut, these tightly-wound songs are built on Steve Nieve's needling organ riffs and Pete Thomas' full-throttle drums. (Not coincidentally, Nieve and Thomas remain the backbone of Costello's band over three decades later.) The album is littered with first-rate new wave classics like "Pump It Up," "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea" and "Radio Radio," but Costello's future unwillingness to be stylistically pigeonholed is foreshadowed with the soulful torch song "Little Triggers" and the jangly '60s-style pop of "Hand In Hand" and "Lip Service." A genuinely flawless album right down to Barney Bubbles' witty artwork, This Year's Model set in motion Costello's '78-'82 run of classics, as good a five-year run as anyone has ever had in pop. Of the many CD reissues, the 2008 double-disc version on Universal's Hip-O collectors' imprint gives the best value for money, gathering nearly all the bonus tracks from previous versions plus a smoking February 1978 concert that reasserts the Attractions' reputation as one of the best live acts of their time.