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30 Best Loved Albums - This Years Model

2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. Here's number 10. on the list:

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10. Elvis Costello - This Years Model (1978)

My momma has always said that if your nom de punk includes the name Elvis, you better have the songs to back it up. After the solid debut of My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello was determined to avoid the sophomore slump so he came out with both guns ablazin’ in this 1978 release that is just as furious and fierce as anything the Clash were putting out at the time. Not bad considering that it’s most memorable instrument is a Farisa Organ. In short, Elvis Costello did have the songs worthy of his name.

From it’s opening line of “I don’t wanna kiss you, I don’t wanna touch….. you? to the slamming “radio radio!" that closes the album, Elvis is spittin’ mad as his serpent’s tongue spews out song after song about fashion, relationships, and modern radio. Musically the album is spare with guitar, bass, that wonderful organ and simple drum backing. It’s Elvis’ first album with the Attraction and they provide nice background vocals and a tight midsection. Very little overdubs or studio tricks here. This album is lean, muscular, and cutting. And I loved every second of it.

When Elvis Costello made that famous SNL appearance in late 1977 I was watching at a friend’s house with his mom. Here comes Elvis with the nerdy Buddy Holly glasses, tight jeans, and a spastic, frantic stage presence playing Pump It Up. My friend’s mom thought it was a skit and was incredulous when we told her that no it was a real act. Later during the second song when Elvis stopped the first few bars of Less Than Zero and instead played Radio Radio instead, I was hooked. Unfortunately it took me a couple more years to finally buy this album. When I switched over to CD’s it was one of the first CD’s I ever bought. I probably have played it constantly for some 25 years and never get sick of it. What ever other musical genre I was currently into, whether it be punk, country, folk, jazz, old school rock and roll, Gregorian chant, sea shanty’s, etc., This Year’s Model has always been there.

Radio Radio of course is a favorite. As I said in my review of Elvis’ concert here at the Myth. They played this song perfectly. To think Elvis and the Imposters have probably played this song thousands of times over the past 30 years and to still just lay it down with such fury and conviction was just incredible. Unfortunately part of the reason may be that it’s words ring more true today than they did in 1978. Can you think of a verse more true today than …

You either shut up or get cut up/They don't wanna hear about it/It's only inches on the reel-to-reel/And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools/Tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel!

For that line alone, This Year’s Model deserves a place in my 30 most beloved albums? What’s your favorite Elvis Costello album?

Place on the Definitive 200: Not on the List!

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