In a country where young people are more concerned with the anti-disco movement than the anti-nuke movement, in a land where record companies spend billions of dollars promoting tripe like Rush, Led Zeppelin, or The Knack, how does an artist with a real statement survive? The only way is through work, hard work and lots of it.
Work is something that most musicians forget about the minute that they sign a contract. Elvis Costello remembers hard work. He also knows how to write great sounding and meaningful songs. Costello's latest effort, Taking Liberties is a tribute to both hard work and great songwriting.
This album is a compilation of 20 songs that never quite graced the vinyl of Costello's first four American releases. It shows Costello in many moods, and experimenting with many different musical styles. A few of these songs are definitely B side material, but remember, this is only a compilation album, and it does have some fine points.
"I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea" is one of the strongest songs on the album. "Chelsea" has been an underground hit for some time, and now it's finally available to the general public.
Another very good effort is "Getting Mighty Crowded," a fast paced song with a real Motown feel.
There are so many songs on the album that I couldn't possibly review them all, but there are a few more that deserve mention, if only for their rarity.
This album contains the original version of "Girl Talk." And remember "Crawling To The USA," that funny song he performed for the movie America-thon? Well, it's here too.
And to top it off, Costello's version of "My Funny Valentine" (the one that costs over $15 as a single) is also included in this collection.
This album is a perfect addition to an Elvis fan's collection, but if you are not familiar with Costello's work, I would recommend that you listen to some of his previous works first. This is not a bad album, but it was definitely made for Elvis fans, and it's not the type of record to judge a performer by.
So, if you're not an Elvis Costello fan, open your ears to Costello's early works. If you are a Costello fan, you've probably already taken liberties.