Review of This Year's Model
Blitz, 1978-05-01
- John Clayton


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The best album I've heard was released on March 17. By the time you read this it will, I'm sure, have etched its eleven slices of rock `n' roll heaven permanently into your memory. Of course, I`m talking about Elvis Costello and the Attractions' new album, "This Year's Model". A second hit single "I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea" preceded the album, but "This Year's Model" is really like a juke-box full of hit songs! My personal favourites have to be "No Action", 1 minute and 57 seconds of sheer delight - I defy even the most reluctant dancers to keep their seats to "This Year's Girl", a savage indictment of the beauty queen/fashion syndrome which shows Elvis' ultimate sympathy for the Farrah Fawcett Majors of this world, "The Beat" with its delightful steal from the opening of Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday" and the strident but melodic "Pump It Up" which is also Elvis' latest British single. British fans have been as quick to respond to the album's excellence as they were to buy tickets for Elvis' nation-wide spring tour at which every venue was sold out days in advance, putting it straight into the upper reaches of the chart.

Costello collectors should note that the first 50,000 copies of the British release of "This Year's Model" contained a free single combing a solo Elvis country and western cut "Stranger in the House" and a live version of the Damned's punk classic "Neat Neat Neat". Import shops may still have copies, but you'll need to be quick! As well as having different cover/liner shots, all British copies of the album also contained two songs not on the American version, "Chelsea" and "Night Rally", a dramatic anti-fascist song, whereas the American release, on Columbia, contains the fabulous "Radio, Radio" which isn't on the British release! An intriguing question to consider is whether the Stranglers will be able to consolidate on their position as a top-flight band during the course of 1978. It was perhaps unreasonable to expect the "No More Heroes" album to achieve the same level of success as their astonishing debut "Rattus Norvegicus". Indeed it didn't, but recent signs are that Hugh Cornwell, Jean-Jacques Buinel and company may be losing their way, with unimpressive concert reports and a depressingly disappointing new single "Nice `n' Sleazy". The Stranglers' contribution to last year's renaissance of British pop was un- deniably massive, so here's hoping that their forthcoming third album "Black and White" and European tour prove my fears unfounded.

Elvis Costello's devastating version of Dionne Warwick's `I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself' is alone worth the price of the "Live Stiffs" album. A complementary film capturing the sheer madness of this latter-day package tour is already drawing in the crowds in London.

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