Some people are very happy. The new album by Elvis Costello is out, entitled Trust.
Other people don't care about Elvis' new LP. They don't know or feel much of anything about Elvis Costello.
Then there are some people who are irritated about the news of Elvis Costello's latest release. They hate Elvis Costello. These folks would put him somewhere "between Judas Priest and Ted Nugent in talent and originality."
These are the type of people who would dare to compare Elvis Costello to a band like — let's say — April Wine (a random choice?), which is like comparing filet mignon to dogfood.
Elvis Costello's music, like a good steak, is for people with taste who can appreciate quality.. April Wine's music is more like dog chow produced for beings of lower intellegence.
Elvis Costello has more talent in his horn-rimmed glasses than April Wine members have in all five of their scruffy little heads together.
Elvis Costello is a changed man, a happier sort than the angry lad who burst upon the music scene In 1977. On his recent appearance on The Tomorrow Show, Elvis chatted quite amicably with Tom Snyder.
Of course, Elvis made a couple wisecracks, but he just wouldn't be Elvis if he didn't. And during his recent San Francisco concert appearance, Elvis was jovial, acknowledging the crowd constantly and doing unheard of things like smiling and playing encores.
Lately, Elvis seems to be more relaxed and confident with his stardom, and this shines through on Trust.
Elvis is also more secure in bringing out the talents of his band, The Attractions, on this, his sixth effort. Keyboardist Steve Nieve establishes himself as a very accomplished musician on Trust. Nieve's fingers dance on the keys throughout, especially during acoustic piano runs on "Clubland," "You'll Never Be a Man," also on a slow, serious ballad with only piano accompanyment called "Shot With His Own Gun," which might be the best song on Trust, and a rumba called "Lovers Walk." Bruce Thomas and Pete Thomas, the bassist and drummer, also glow on Trust, although not with the intensity of Nieve.
But Elvis, above all else, is the star. The 14 songs are of various styles but of only one quality. Excellence. "Different Finger" is a sad, slow country tune and one of the many highlights on Trust.
"Clubland," "You'll Never Be a Man," "New Lace Sleeves" and "Watch Your Step" are all engrossing medium tempo pop songs. "Fish 'n Chip Papers," "Strict Time" and "From a Whisper to a Scream," in which Elvis duets with Squeeze's talented vocalist, Glen Tilbrook, are all riveting rockers.
Since Elvis Costello never publishes a lyric sheet and his Anglicized lyrics are sometimes obscured to my American ears, I won't try to quote lyrics. I'll just try to give you bits and pieces of Elvis words of wisdom.
"Good manners and bad breath get you nowhere"
"Even presidents have newspaper lovers"
"All I want is one night of glory...I don't even know your second name"
"So disappointed to find it's no big sin...lying skin to skin"
"What's on his mind now is anyone's guess, losing his touch with each caress"
"Spends every evening looking so appealing, he comes without warning, leaves without feeling"
"It's easier to say 'I Love You' than 'Yours Sincerely' I suppose"
"Don't want to be first, I just want to pass"
"All the boys are straight laced and the girls are frigid, the dog is two-faced and the rules are rigid, because it's strict time"
"Broken noses hung up on the wall, back slappin' drinkers cheer the heavyweight brawl, so punch drunk they don't understand at all...you better watch you step"
"Yesterday's news is tomorrow's Fish n' Chip Papers"
Elvis Costello is a man of extreme wit and wide ranging musical Went. Some people might disasree, and they are entitled to their opinion, as wrong as they might be.
I would point to the fact that many of the world's top musicians have recorded Costello's songs as evidence of Elvis' ability.
Linda Ronstadt, Dave Edmonds, Carlene Carter, Rachel Sweet and country music's own eccentric genius, George Jones, have all recorded Costello's tunes in a time where everyone takes pride in doing their own material.
Trust, possibly Costello's best and most mature album to date should provide them with a bonanza of classy material.