If The Clash now take over as new wave's leaders with Sandinista!... well, where does that leave Elvis Costello, who broke open the field in 1977 with My Aim Is True?
Trust, Elvis's newest, shows the grand old man of new wave to be a little behind the leaders but just barely.
Although not as musically diverse as last year's Get Happy!, Trust indicates Elvis's further move toward moderation; in his case, from blind anger to a quieter cynicism. For some, this would be selling out, but for Elvis Trust signals a further maturity.
This maturity, though, has a price for old-time Elvis fans. The forceful hate of an earlier. "You Belong To Me" is toned down to the more contemplative, moodier messages of a "You'll Never Be A Man" on Trust. This emotional curbing may further alienate those who originally followed Elvis for his pungent views of the world.
However, this maturity may mean a wider, more positive acceptance of Elvis. "New Lace Sleeves," for example, speaks of an empty, illicit romance with a tenderness lacking in earlier Elvis material; this easier tone may bring Elvis a few more borderline new wave fans into his fold.
The music on Trust, though, is still the standard Elvis blend of pop and rock, with "Sound of the Sixties" wizard Nick Lowe bringing in his production genius. Unfortunately, the best combination of the Elvis and Lowe talents comes with the first track, "Clubland." From there, the album levels off, never again reaching the intense energy of this tune about sleazy nightclub life.
With Trust, Elvis Costello finally fails to top or equal a previous effort. Some artists would rank in the awful category for doing such, but complacency from Elvis may signal a new approach to his music. For the first time, Elvis Costello sounds comfortable; not having to prove himself may show that Elvis has finally arrived at superstardom, and he knows it. So should everyone else.