How long can an angry young man stay angry? That's a question Elvis Costello set himself, and these three albums from 1980, '81 and '83 contain some fairly trenchant answers.
Get Happy! () is a career highlight, 20 songs filtered through a Stax soul treatment that have barely a weak moment; the likes of "Riot Act," "The Imposter" and "Clowntime Is Over" stand beside his very best. Never mind the width, feel the quality!
Trust () found Elvis and his Attractions falling apart at the seams, and Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook was among those weighed in to help build what turned out to be a surprisingly coherent palace from the ruins. Punch The Clock () is the least satisfying album of the three but gains most from the bonus disc treatment — a additional 26 live and demo tracks. Two politically charged highlights from that, the Falklands lament "Shipbuilding" and "Pills And Soap," suggested that Costello was young no longer.
These releases predate puberty, and at least two of them are essential..