SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinal Points, October 16, 1980

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Taking Liberties

Elvis Costello

Paul Muolo

It hasn't been a year since the release of the twenty-tracked Get Happy, and Elvis has released another twenty tracker: Taking Liberties. And it's ironic because this one, compilation of released masters are B-sides, might be the best Costello of them all.

On Taking Liberties, a variety of styles is the key. Elvis does funky-Motown ("Getting Mighty Crowded"), country and western ("Stranger in the House" and "Radio Sweetheart"), and then there's the irrepressible "Costello" brand of rock and roll, which of course is ever changing and harder to pin down than ever.

On some cuts, such as the Lennonesque "Dr. Luther's Assistant" and the four-hankerchief cover of "My Funny Valentine," we find Elvis concentrating on the vocal performance rather than the material. But that's o.k. because it sounds great. And Elvis has risen above his past misogyny and even goes as far to sing, "I Love You." (Not really but he's going in the direction.) One thing is sure though, his vocals are so sincere it's disgusting.

The big question still lingers: When is Elvis going to make a bad album? Another question is, when is Elvis going to cut a bad song? if Taking Liberties is a sign of things to come, the answer is never.

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Cardinal Points, October 16, 1980


Paul Muolo reviews Taking Liberties.

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1980-10-16 SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinal Points clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

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