Whether we're ready for it or not, here is Elvis Costello's second album.
This odd little character, who looks more like Buddy Holly than any rocker of the 70s, and who plays three-minute rock and roll songs, has been turning the rock world upside down.
Costello's first album, My Aim Is True, imported to North America by Columbia Records, was released last fall and received rave reviews from Toronto to Los Angeles. As a result Costello is the focal point of the new wave movement.
The first album contained short, immediate rock such as "Welcome To the Working Week," a couple of ballads like "Alison" and a few numbers mixing rock and reggae such as "Watching the Detectives."
Costello was seen by most in the industry as a cleansing agent, someone who has returned to the simplicity of early rock to redefine it in terms appropriate to this decade.
Costello's songwriting is not in question. It just seems odd that 1978 should be the year of a return to simplicity when individuals and groups have been trying to do that every couple of years since 1960.
Costello's latest release, This Year's Model, is a fiercer, tougher version of his earlier work. The guitars are a little louder, a little cruder, there are no ballads but it is the same man and the same music.
Costello is far removed from today's music. He has nothing in common with Kiss, Wings, Fleetwood Mac or Ted Nugent. Nevertheless, he is remarkable and presents his music with more honesty and innocence than the artists mentioned above combined.