University of Wisconsin Pointer, December 15, 1977

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New kid in neighborhood

Elvis Costello / My Aim Is True

Domenic Bruni

Two months ago Rolling Stone featured an article about a 22-year old former computer programmer turned rock musician who was causing a sensation on the British rock scene. The picture next to the piece looked like an underfed scarecrow with a tremendous similarity to Buddy Holly. They hinted that he sounded like Graham Parker, Buddy Holly, and Bob Dylan wrapped together under a $1.98 Salvation army suit. My interest was piqued.

I wasn't let down. Costello's debut album is everything that was billed and more. Next to Graham Parker, he is the best rocker to come out of England in the seventies. Although the men are very similar (the same roots, idols and producer), the similarities end there. Whereas Parker has a wide range and slices down pretensions, Costello screams about anger, sin, redemption, and utter disgust. He plays a mean guitar and sings with a voice that shows he means it!

Costello's songs are as political as they are emotional. After watching a program on the National Front in which the BBC revealed that the Front had resurrected the memory of a pro-Nazi supporter as their idol, Costello wrote "Less than Zero." In this song Elvis sings that if England wants this kind of stuff going on, then there's no place for him in the United Kingdom.

The best song is the lovely sex-ballad "Allison." The song begins very lightly and sweetly and ends with a cry for raw sex, during which Costello chants the album's title "my aim is true." Every other song on this album has a driving beat and some of the hardest rocking I've heard since Graham Parker went 'back to schooldays.'

The major problem with trying to sell this new talent to the U.S. is his name — Elvis. The Elvis that became the cultural phenomenon has died and left his stigma on any that take his name. Costello may be hampered by people who might think he is just using the name for effect and sales. This problem hasn't hampered his impact in England. "Allison" is a top-twenty single and Costello's album is selling quite rapidly. Perhaps his current tour of the U.S. and some airplay will give him the recognition he needs and deserves. Despite his ludicrous looks, Elvis Costello is the best rock artist to come out of 1977 and My Aim is True ranks as one of the year's best releases. You'll be hearing a lot from this skinny British kid.

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The Pointer, December 15, 1977


Domenic Bruni reviews My Aim Is True.

Images

1977-12-15 University of Wisconsin Pointer page 21 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

1977-12-15 University of Wisconsin Pointer page 21.jpg
Page scan.

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