Semper, February 15, 1978

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Semper

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My Aim Is True

Elvis Costello

Cee Walker

"Buddy Holly on Acid," "Guilt and Revenge," "The King." That's how they describe Stiff's greatest discovery — Elvis Costello.

Elvis was a 22 year old computer programmer who was writing songs. He sent a demo tape to Stiff, they decided this boys got some talent', and recorded him. It's as simple as that.

A New Musical Express writer said, "It's better to have loved and lost and written a whole album... then never to have loved at all..." Right. That's the basis of My Aim is True.

Elvis is the all-time loser, nothing he can do is good enough. "Why do you have to say there's always someone else who can do it better than I can" he says in "Miracle Man." Nevertheless, his aim IS true, he tries but fails — "Everything means less than zero" ("Less Than Zero"). He even begins to doubt himself —

"I tried so hard to be myself but I kept fading away." ("Pay It Back").

Elvis is one of the few rock stars who has resigned himself to the role of the blunderer, theweaky who gets kicked around by everyone. Still, don't laugh too loud, Elvis, says, in "I'm Not Angry," "I've got this camera clicking inside my head," and then, "One of these days.I'm gonna pay it back" ("Pay It Back").

Elvis "Guilt & Revenge" Costello, See?

Look, Jackson Browne bores me shitless — Elvis knows everything he does (the pain of love, man), and he says it in terms that really move me.

The comparisons have already been made. Elvis' songs are pretty much 50's and 60's derived — basically it's rock 'n' soul, though the band has obviously absorbed more diverse influences — reggae, rockabilly, even a twang of country. I suppose you could say Elvis is one of the new "white soul" boys — like Graham Parker, Willy deVille, Southside Johnny — but he remains unique in essence.

My Aim Is True won critical and commercial acclaim, both in England and America, and Elvis was an overnight sensation.

There's no reason why he can't do the same in Australia.

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Semper, February 15, 1978


Cee Walker reviews My Aim Is True.

Images

1978-02-15 Semper page 17.jpg
Page scan.

1978-02-15 Semper cover.jpg 1978-02-15 Semper page 18 clipping.jpg
Cover and clipping.

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