During the course of four outstanding albums, Elvis Costello has emerged as one of the most versatile and talented rock persons of the late 70's and 80's. He has made it a point never to be predictable with his albums. each one having its own definite sound and style.
His first album, My Aim Is True, had a fiftyish sound that rocked. His second, This Year's Model, was organ dominated and updated sixtyish pop. Armed Forces, his third, had the most up-front production and was his most commercial sounding album. Get Happy contained twenty soul-flavored songs with a little more restraint from the instrumental view.
His newest, Taking Liberties, is a collection of his non-album singles that have not been available in the U.S. until now. "Clean Money," a genuine rocker, has its own sound with it's pulsating guitar and off-the-wall lyrics. "Girls Talk" is next. The echoed piano sounds great on this one.
"Talking In The Dark" sounds like Elvis has been listening to the Beatles, but still maintains originality. Costello's pleading voice and guest guitarist Mick Jones of the Clash make "Big Tears" one of the high points of the album. "Just a Memory" shows the softer side of his songs.
"Night Rally," "Tiny Steps" and "I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea" were recorded at the same time as This Year's Model and have the same sixty's sound.
"Getting Mighty Crowded" shows Elvis' rhythm and blue influence. The hypnotizing organs and steady drumming make "Clown Time is Over" superior to the version on Get Happy.
"Dr. Luther's Assistant" peaks with its anthemic guitar solo and catchy chorus line. "Crawling to the U.S.A." is from the movie Americathon, which never quite made it, but the song is OK.
The carnivalesque organ riff on "Sunday's Best" is a typical Elvis trademark. A punchy rhythm starts off "Wednesday Week," which later changes to a slower tempo. The album ends with "Ghost Train," a song with aloof lyrics and an eerie bass riff.
These are the high points of the twenty songs on this album. It is a long awaited compilation that shows the many sides of Elvis Costello.