Stetson Reporter, April 21, 1978

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Stetson Reporter
  • 1978 April 21

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Costello's reviewer: 'My Aim Is Off'

Jim Rochford

The album for this record review was provided by Parker's Musical Express, 115 East Indiana Ave.

Labels. Everyone despises them yet they are as common as verbs in our conversations. "Oh, yea, I know Seymour, he's a jock," or "Melissa, she's a space case." I'm sure you can come up with at least a dozen more. People use labels because the make life easy. A superficial order is imposed when we pigeonhole. More intelligent people don't utilize labels; their mental abilities allow them to rise above the pettiness.

I consider myself fairly intelligent. So for the fun of it I was going to label Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True album. A funny thing happened: I couldn't do it. This could only mean one of two things: (1) my mind can't function at a low intellectual level, or (2) Vinnie Barbarino is a genius compared to me. Somehow I doubt if the former is true.

At first I was going to label him "neurotic rock." Costello snarls out "I'm not angry!" This would have been a big mistake. Every psychology major on campus would have descended upon me asking what my definition of normal was.

Then I considered calling his music "derivative of the fifties." But closer examination of the lyrics stopped that:

"I said, I'm so happy I could die,
She said, Drop dead! And left with another guy."

Besides, the music is simple and complex. All the songs feature the standard guitar, bass, and drums combo. However, Costello never has the rhythm of all three the same. One is fast, another slower, and the last somewhere in-between. Instead of sounding cacophonous, the sum total is sturdy rock songs.

"Punk Rock" or "New Wave" crossed my mind. Certainly some of the songs have nihilistic overtones.

"Everything is less than zero."

But the whole album didn't contain the Punk Rock attitude (intercourse this, fornicate that, etc.). There is even a ballad sympathetic towards women on the album.

"Elvis Costello: The Poe of Rock." That would have been a catchy title. "Watching the Detectives" is surely a Gothic horror story.

"She's filing her nails While they're dragging the lake."

Some of the songs were toe-tappers though, so out went that.

He looks like a spastic Buddy Holly, and sings like the backwoods murderer in the flick In The Heat of the Night. That's getting personal; I can't go that route.

Looks like I'm stuck without a label for My Aim Is True. If someone asks me about this album, it's going to take me half an hour to explain. Who wants to listen to my rambling for that long? Not even my mother pays that much attention.


The Reporter, April 21, 1978

Jim Rochford reviews My Aim Is True.


1978-04-21 Stetson Reporter page 08 clipping 01.jpg

1978-04-21 Stetson Reporter page 08.jpg
Page scan.


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