Once again Elvis Costello, one of the founders of the British new wave, provides his listeners with a tight, innovative album. Costello's fourth LP, Get Happy contains 20 high-quality cuts.
In keeping with Costello's three previous records, the lyrics are pure poetry displaying a creative intelligence rarely revealed in a music market dominated by the vapid incantations of disco and pop. The tunes are short and witty with an up tempo beat that makes you want to pound the rhythm out and dance whenever you listen to them. The artist's band, The Attractions, beats out the tunes with a force that matches Costello's frantic vocals and guitar chords. The Attractions consists of Steve Naive on the organ, Bruce Thomas on bass and Pete Thomas on bass drum. Costello has combined a clean sound with enough holes for the best elements of rock 'n' roll.
In spite of the title, the anger and social consciousness which have become trademarks of Costello's albums are present. This is not to imply that the artist is becoming repetitive; on the contrary, he battles homogeneity both musically and lyrically.
"Five Gears in Reverse" reminds listeners lyrically of the artist's preoccupation with the military, while displaying a musical arrangement similar to "Pump it Up" on This Year's Model. "Opportunity" also contains military allusions; the song borrows styling from "Oliver's Army" on Armed Forces.
"Human Touch" and "Beaten to the Punch" cover Costello's bite and cynicism with punchy, staccato rhythms and catchy choruses that make you want to laugh at the singer's plights.
While some fans may be disappointed by the more simplistic themes presented on Get Happy, Costello's lyrical and musical treatement of them distinguishes the songs and himself from the rest of the crowd. Costello wraps his bizarre lyrics in such pleasing, danceable settings to enable Get Happy to appeal to a larger audience than some of his other material.