Santa Rosa Junior College Oak Leaf, March 13, 1980

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Get Happy!!

Elvis Costello And The Attractions

Clement Lew

Grade: B

After releasing three albums in 18 months, Costello manages to finish Get Happy! in one year.

Costello improved after every one of those albums, from My Aim Is True to This Year's Model and Armed Forces. But, Get Happy! might be considered a temporary setback. It's not that the album (with 20 songs) is bad. It isn't. However it lacks the bite, the punch, the perception and the sarcasm that identifies Costello.

His songwriting remains untarnished. His back-up band, the Attractions, plays a larger part as each Costello album passes, and Nick Lowe, the producer, did an outstanding job by cramming ten songs on each side, without any loss of sound quality.

But once again, the one single that could catapult him to commercial awareness eludes him. Get Happy! is a nice album, but like his other ones, the listener has to play it over and over again to appreciate it.

Instead of Get Happy, Costello should have considered, as a title, Get Used To It!

Mad Love

Linda Ronstadt

Clement Lew

Grade: B

Not so long ago, I was obsessed with Linda Ronstadt. Her posters decorated my walls and her albums sifted into my record collection. But something was missing.

I'd listen to "Blue Bayou," "Tracks of My Tears," whatever, and while she sang beautifully, I was unsatisfied. I kept asking myself, "Is Linda Ronstadt just a voice and a pretty face?"

Now she releases Mad Love.

Mad Love is Ronstadt's transition to "new wave" music. She chose three Elvis Costello tunes, and three additional songs from an LA new wave band, the Cretones. "How do I Make You" is an energetic display of Ronstadt's potential in new wave. It retains the torchy Ronstadt-quality image, but fuses a basic rock 'n' roll sound; something that was terribly inconsistent in previous Ronstadt releases.

Her attempts on other songs, especially the Costello tracks, are very courageous and impressive. "Party Girl," although it does not totally shred Costello's version, is a favorite to be her next released single.

Peter Asher once again, impeccably produced Ronstadt's album, and her back-up band makes their best effort to date.

Quite frankly, if she had adopted this "new wave" sound before Living in the USA two years ago, she could have blown Deborah Harry right off the stage.


The Oak Leaf, March 13, 1980

Clement Lew reviews Get Happy!! and Linda Ronstadt's Mad Love.


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1980-03-13 Santa Rosa Junior College Oak Leaf page 05.jpg
Page scan.


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