Elvis Costello – With My Aim Is True (1978)


“Anyone can whine. But as a seemingly infinite stream of cliché-obsessed singer/songwriters using misery as a thinly veiled ploy to get laid has proven, very few people can do it well. Drawing inspiration from banal personal miseries and girlfriend tragedies may indeed turn songwriting into some kind of a cleansing experience, but nobody wants to be sprayed in the face with someone else’s emotional Lysol. And being preached to? That’s nearly as bad. Screamy thugs recycling endless bullshit about the oppressive and destructive state of capitalism, and yet selling their records for profit– where’s the dignity in that? Elvis Costello, more so than any other musician before or since, has managed to integrate the insight of personal music and the conviction of political music, while avoiding the self-indulgent pitfalls of both. To put it another way, Elvis Costello could sing a song about the oppressive and destructive state of his girlfriend and pull it off with wit and talent to spare. With My Aim Is True, Costello immediately established himself as the world’s foremost angry geek with something to prove. And while the songs on that album were absolutely stellar, Costello had yet to make his defining statement. …”
Pitchfork
W – With My Aim Is True
This Year’s Model Is Still Elvis Costello at His Angry Best (Video)
YouTube: This Years Model HD (Full Album)

My Aim Is True – Elvis Costello (1977)


“Once upon a time, being a bitter, frustrated male musician didn’t mean being a jerkass. Perpetually wronged and rarely laid men were capable of being intelligent about their bitterness, focusing their anger not on the whole of womankind, but on particular women (usually flirts and teases) and attacking these women with a potent blend of wit and bile. Rather than self-aggrandizement, self-deprecation reigned supreme. More importantly, subtlety won out over blatant self-pity or obnoxiousness. Yeah, these gentlemen were angry, but they were smart enough to know what they were angry at– and geeky enough to include themselves in that category. At the helm of this trend towards new-wave geekdom was Stiff Records, a small label operating out of England with a roster including Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, and the mighty Elvis Costello. With his 1977 debut, My Aim Is True, Costello exploded onto the punk/new-wave scene like a mutant hybrid of Buddy Holly and Johnny Rotten. …”
Pitchfork
Graded on a Curve: Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
W – My Aim Is True
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Watching The Detectives (Live), Red Shoes (Live TOTP 1977), Mystery Dance
YouTube: My Aim Is True 13 videos

“Radio Radio” – Elvis Costello and The Attractions (1977)


“‘Radio Radio’ (sometimes written ‘Radio, Radio’) is a single by Elvis Costello and The Attractions released in the United Kingdom in October 1978. … The song made waves in the USA after Costello’s appearance on Saturday Night Live. Originally, Sex Pistols had been invited to perform on 17 December 1977 broadcast (hosted by Miskel Spillman, an elderly woman who won SNL’s ‘Anybody Can Host’ contest), but problems with Sex Pistols’ various criminal records made getting visas in time difficult, and so the invitation was extended to Elvis Costello and the Attractions, who were touring Canada and the US at the time. Costello’s album was only available on import (My Aim Is True, released in the UK in July). A reference to Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren‘s inability to keep his band’s performance schedule was made by drummer Pete Thomas who, during the performance, wore a shirt with the words ‘Thanks Malc’, in reference to McLaren, ironed on. Costello wanted to play ‘Radio Radio’ on SNL. Columbia Records, however, was interested in having an already-established song performed on SNL, to increase interest in the band before the American release of My Aim Is True and This Year’s Model. In the event, Costello began the SNL performance by playing ‘Less than Zero.’ However, after a few bars, he turned to the Attractions, waving his hand and yelling ‘Stop! Stop!,’ then said to the audience, ‘I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, there’s no reason to do this song here,’ possibly referring to the fact ‘Less than Zero’ was written as a reply to British fascist politician Oswald Mosley. However, SNL music director Howard Shore attributes the move to Costello’s bucking pressure by his music company to play ‘Less than Zero’ on the show. He then led the band in a performance of ‘Radio Radio.’ …”
Wikipedia
Genius (Audio)
YouTube: Elvis Costello and The Attractions – Radio Radio (SNL 1977)