Much of the interest in new wave and the beginning of general acceptance — came with 1977's My Aim Is True, featuring one of the most awkward, unlikely looking rock stars ever... Elvis Costello.
Taking Liberties, Elvis's newest release, is a collection of singles "flip" sides, unreleased material, and initial versions of songs later recorded differently on one of his four previous albums. Nothing new really appears on Liberties; this album, though, shows old can be very, very good.
Much of the material on Liberties could be obtained earlier on imports, single records, and bootleg albums such as 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong. Most Elvis zealots, therefore, probably own most of the recordings on Liberties.
The appeal of Liberties, though, can reach the most casual Elvis fan. Despite the limited, off-beat eccentricity of "Dr. Luther's Assistant" or "Night Rally," Elvis shows some hot blue-eyed soul with Van McCoy's "Getting Mighty Crowded"; a country-rock touch with "Radio Sweetheart"; and an intimate, soft side with a quiet rendition of the Rodgers-Hart standard, "My Funny Valentine."
Taking Liberties lacks the strength and cohesiveness of an Armed Forces or My Aim Is True; for a collection of assorted material, though, Liberties is a fine sampling of the various moods of Elvis Costello.
Taking Liberties may not be one of the milestones of Elvis's career, but even his second-string material is refreshing and interesting. Besides, isn't anyone tired of "Another One Bites The Dust" out there?