Elvis just wants to be loved.
At any rate, that's what the protagonist vocalizes at the beginning of side two — the middle of yet another even, mature piece of work from one of popular music's most consistent bright lights. It's easy to love Elvis these days.
Over the years, the Attractions have steadily honed their recorded efforts into a truly fluid, contemporary mixture that defies simple labelling. Snatches of '60s influences — black and white — pop up everywhere, but it's not that simple.
Whatever the source points, the tracks simply sound great, from Gary Barnacle's opening soprano sax figure on the catchy "The Only Flame In Town," and on through the record. "Flame," a smashing duet with John Hall, should come close to "Everyday I Write The Book"'s success last year, which is great.
Because, for all the smooth sounds, classy keyboard fills and the rest, Costello remains a devastatingly-sardonic presence in a genre with few working poets left anymore.
The "faceless, backless dress" in "The Deportees Club," the Danny Boy of "The Great Unknown," sinking "into the murky waters / By the dog biscuit factory," Elvis can work blacks and whites on a canvas as well as any pop writer alive.
Altogether, another triumph for those of us that were converted long ago. And if you haven't had the pleasure, Mr. C is making it easier and easier for anyone to submit.