It will not be long before I have lost all faith in the future of rock music. Rolling Stone magazine, which ushered in a new era in the late '60s along with San Francisco, hippies, the Summer of Love and so forth, has recently named Elvis Costello's My Aim is True the best album of 1977.
The choice indicates that now, some ten years after Janis and Jimi ignited the Monterey Pop Festival, the people at Rolling Stone have grown old and rich and probably fat, generally becoming the very people they disdained a short decade ago.
Calling Elvis Costello's record the best of the past year is a crime the magnitude of which even Richard Speck could not have conceived.
Now I may be living in the past, but I never thought the whole rock 'n' roll trip would result in a circular evolution back to the basics. Elvis Costello is a part of the latest development, called "punk rock" or the "New Wave." It originated in its current form with bands like the New York Dolls who were at least comical in their originality, but has resulted in thousands of inane groups across the globe.
In the tradition of some of rock's finest personalities, Costello is British. But the comparisons stop there, kids. He plays guitar, sings and writes songs like a lobotomized sloth, and to see him stagger around stage is comparable to watching an epileptic chicken.
Of course, it wouldn't matter if Costello were writing the best songs in the history of music (he isn't: he writes some of the worst), his picture alone is enough to send you screaming in the night that, twenty years after his death, Buddy Holly has escaped from the grave.
I'm supposed to analyze the songs on this album and tell you all the redeeming things about them, but there aren't any redeeming things. I can only say that if you can get hold of a copy of this album, break it, throw darts at it, anything... only don't listen to it. Like Angel Dust, listening to this record could have dangerously unpredictable effects on you. You may commit suicide, you may murder the first musician you see, who knows? The only thing you won't do is like it.