The life of a computer programmer does not necessarily interest everyone, so the music industry is glad British rocker Elvis Costello decided to pursue his musical interests.
Since his first appearance in the United States in 1977, on Saturday Night Live, Costello has brightened new wave rock in the country considerably. Until Elvis' invasion of America, new wave was considered by many as extreme as punk rock. Now with such groups as the Talking Heads, Blondie, and the Police, their term "new wave" is becoming more accepted.
In 1977, Costello released his first American album, My Aim Is True. Since then, his popularity has risen as steadily as inflation.
The 1980s spotlight Costello as hot as ever with the release of his fourth domestic album, Get Happy. It features 20 original tracks, exemplifying Costello's prolific songwriting style.
Get Happy is a Nick Lowe production, and the quality of the production is quite high. Unique in their own way, Costello's familiar catchy beats and abrasive lyrics are again evident on the new album.
"Opportunity" is a fairly mellow number with a sneaky organ arrangement and slyful guitar strums which work well together. "B Movie" has a powerful, but not pounding, bass line. "Five Years In Reserve," like many of Costello's earlier songs, is rhythmically wonderful, with Elvis' relentlessly expressing his romantic frustrations.
Elvis' popping and powerful vocals on "Riot Act" (similar to "Red Shoes"' and "Pump It Up," which appear on an earlier release ) are slow but convincing. "Motel Matches" is slow too, but with more intriguing lyrics such as "...giving you away like Motel Matches." "Secondary Modern" is a soft and mellow composition, with tender vocals and a continuous beat.
The album's three most musically complete songs all present Costello's lyric potency.
"Temptation" has a steady and flowing beat, reminiscent of "Accidents Will Happen" and "Green Shirt" from Armed Forces. He combines the simplicity of rhythm and meaningful, but somewhat obscure lyrics that add a fresh straight-forward approach to verses of mainstream rockers.
"New Amsterdam" and "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" are good examples of Costello's word wizardry. On the former, he sings "I nut on the brakes to get out of her clutches." The latter is a combination of Costello's basic components featuring the best lyrics on the album.
This album is a winner. It has all the qualifications of Armed Forces and more. Elvis does not have to worry about falling down; Get Happy will stand on its own for a long time.