Elvis Costello released his first album, My Aim is True, in 1977 amid the punk rock explosion. Costello declared that only revenge and guilt forged his music, and his songs bared angst and intensity to accompany their uncanny polish.
Now, 13 years after what may be the finest debut album ever, Costello has released Girls, Girls, Girls, a double-disc, 47-song compilation spanning his career from its inception.
Coming on the heels of a greatest hits collection released several years ago, this CD's release makes listeners question whether Costello's motives have switched from revenge and guilt to something more tangible and green (i.e. money).
Nevertheless, more so than his previous career retrospective, this album flaunts Costello's amazing range.
From the reggae beat of "Watching the Detectives," to the '50s flavor of "Mystery Dance" (which sounds like a tribute to that other Elvis) to the sappy, lounge-lizard sound of "Almost Blue," this album captures the collage of sounds and styles which Costello and his band, The Attractions, have experimented with.
But as fine as this album is, one's financial situation must dictate what to do when hunched over the CD bins at record stores.
If you have Costello's other greatest hits collection and nothing else, buy this album. If you have all of his albums, don't bother.