Chula Vista Star-News, October 30, 1980

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Taking Liberties

Elvis Costello

Paul Omundson

When we think of Elvis, we usually picture that other Elvis, the one who, was every woman's dream as he strutted out on stage in dazzling costumes, throwing silk scarves to screaming ladies.

Well, this Elvis is much different. He is a short, skinny English fellow who wears horn-rimmed glasses. But he also writes and sings tremendous rock 'n' roll.

This new collection of Costello's British hits is a very good introduction to his unique brand of rock. He and his band, the Attractions, are a throwback to the 1960s, in the way they utilize short, compact songs that go straight to the point with no nonsense.

For example, the first three songs are each less than two minutes long. But it's plenty of time for them to explode with pure, pulsing energy that pounds incessantly ahead.

There are some clunkers on the record such as the pseudo country-western styled "Stranger in the House," but most of the tunes are first rate both in their musical punch and their biting, sarcastic lyrics.

Perhaps best and most bitter is "Hoover Factory" followed closely by "Chelsea" with some fine 1960s-styled organ riffs and "Ghost Train" that has odd but effective time changes on its chilly ride in a phantom train. Warning this music is intense and hard-driving. There are no soft edges.

Get Happy

Elvis Costello

Paul Omundson

Maybe you'd like to hear what Costello is doing currently. And this is his latest album, featuring 20 new songs.

Again, they are done in the sparse, straight-forward style of the 1960s.

Each tune is about two and-half minutes long. But they pack a whallop.

"New Amsterdam" is the crown jewel of the collection. Done in three quarter time, the song is a bittersweet tribute to "a real double duchess" and contains the most thought-provoking lyrics on the album.

This is a powerful record of short, explosive tunes that almost strangle in their urgency.


The Star-News, October 30, 1980

Paul Omundson reviews Taking Liberties and Get Happy!!.


1980-10-30 Chula Vista Star-News page C-7.jpg
Page scan.


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