40 Essential Albums
ELVIS COSTELLO: My Aim is True
Hey, maybe all rock critics do look like Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus (so said brainiac David Lee Roth), but his blend of dense Dylanesque lyrics and punky, snarly rock music—called New Wave—was a revelation in the late '70s, when heavy metal ruled (hence Roth's envious comment). This debut album contains "Watching the Detectives," "Welcome to the Working Week," and "Alison," whose chorus of "Whooooa-ooooa Alison / I know this world is killing you / Whoooooa Alison / My aim is true" inspired countless dorm-room singalongs. While his 1986 masterwork, King of America, is a close second in terms of songwriting, this album's brashness and out-of-nowhere quality make it a knockout.