Elvis Costello's newest release (out of two) This Year's Model, leaves me with ambiguous feelings. While there seems to be more thought put into it, and one or two cuts are outstanding, there is something about it that makes me appreciate the first, My Aim Is True, more.
The embryonic first album seems rougher, as well it should be, but in its unevenness, there seems to be less continuity. And it helps the album. (I should explain why.) Today, too many albums, including the recently reviewed Eno album have a "fast side and a "slow" side, for want of a better description. May be it is for the benefit of the listener who might be in a certain mood and not wish to hear a raucous rocker after a soothing ballad when he has a headache from too many ludes and too much wine. But I prefer a return to the practices of yesteryear.
Remember that the majority of albums, the Beatles' are a good example, were a fine mix of fast and slow, loud and soft, so as not to muddy the listening consciousness. That muddying of consciousness is the fatal flaw of Elvis Costello's This Year's Model. Just listen so the first side. There is too much redundancy. Cuts follow into cuts. It starts sounding like Bruce Springsteen trying to complete his latest non-release. True there are some excellent cuts, "Radio Radio," "The Beat" both cries of different sorts, and "No Action" all are in that fantastic vein that Costello pumps through.
But, even though these make the album definitely worthwhile as an investment, the redundancy of sounds make me appreciate My Aim Is True all the more.