As the needle on my record player lets out a soft crackle Elvis Costello’s sweet crooning fills my speakers and my heart with joy. In an unheard of twenty-four hours the album My Aim Is True was recorded and produced. In this 1976 debut album, Costello borrows Buddy Holly’s black glasses and geeky style and blends it with the satirical bitterness of a love-scorned man. In the first lines of the first song Costello plants his tongue firmly in his cheek and it remains there throughout the entire album. In a time when bands like The Ramones and Joy Division were gaining popularity, Elvis Costello released this twelve-track beauty and created a unique marriage of the angry bitterness of punk and the melodic sensitivity of the sock-hop jukebox. The album as a whole is a mix of new wave, punk, and sixties pop that’s so sugary it will leave you with cavities.
Most of Elvis’ songs deal with the fear of connecting with someone else. With lyrical intellect he belts about love lost, heartache, and teases. In the dance along hit Sneaky Feelings Costello sings “Sneaky feelings, sneaky feelings/You can't let those kind of feelings show/I'd like to get right through the way I feel for you/But I've still got a long way to go”. No Dancing could easily be the slow “doo-wap” song played after a fatal chicken race in a James Dean movie. One of the best songs on the album, Blame It On Cain is an ode to the legacy of Cain and the hypocrisy human nature. Another delicious track on this album is Less Than Zero. An upbeat killer, Costello takes charge on British politics and Politian Oswald Mosley while singing “Calling Mister Oswald with the swastika tattoo/There is a vacancy waiting in the English voodoo.”
Overall My Aim Is True holds the rawness and edginess of a debut album while collectively remaining sensitive and heartfelt. Every song on the album is relatable and this album could easily be considered a life soundtrack.
My Aim Is True