Wright State University Guardian, March 10, 1981

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Emotional Elvis Costello warrants Trust

Elvis Costello and the Attractions / Trust

Dennis McCurdy

This is Elvis' most accessible album since 1978's Armed Forces, and it's not coincidental that it's also his best since that record.

Last year's Taking Liberties, of course, was not a regular LP at all, but a compilation of B-sides, unreleased-in-America singles, and so on.

But it shared a common problem with its predecessor, Get Happy!: too many diverse styles, too many musical ideas, and especially too many short songs crammed onto two sides.


It seems odd to protest because an artist is giving you too much for your money. But the fact is that you had to have the attention span of Zippy the pinhead to really enjoy those albums.

Just when you'd start humming along with a tune or get intrigued by a lyric, the song would be over, and another would begin. Ten songs, most of them right around two minutes in length, were just too many for an album side.

On Trust Elvis is back to a more manageable seven songs per side, and several of them actually go over the three-minute mark. They're still loaded with ideas and variety, but they're given room to stretch a bit and breathe.


Probably the most impressive song here — the only one that really breaks new ground for Costello — is "Shot With His Own Gun." The cascading, dramatic piano that dominates this song, and its abrupt shifts in dynamics, evokes suggestions of Jacques Brel or Kurt Weill.

Acoustic piano figures prominently on Trust, largely taking the place of the rinky-dink organ which used to predominate. Otherwise, the overall sound is similar to that of Armed Forces or Get Happy!, doubtless due to the continuing presence of producer Nick Lowe.

Trust is an enjoyable album of consistently good songs. Other highlights include the syncopated rhythm of "You'll Never Be A Man," the catchy refrain of "Strict Time," a straight country and western number, "Different Finger," and the album's closer. "Big Sister's Clothes."


This last song returns to Costello's favorite theme: the artificiality, dehumanization, and trivializing of emotions in the modern world.

"Emotional fascism." as he aptly characterized the syndrome an Armed Forces, is pretty neatly summed up in these lines from the song: "Well it's easier to say I love you / than yours sincerely, I suppose."

It's nice to know that there's still someone in the music business who can say things with sincerity — someone you can trust. Welcome back. Elvis.

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The Daily Guardian, March 10, 1981


Dennis McCurdy reviews Trust .

Images

1981-03-10 Wright State University Guardian page 05 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

1981-03-10 Wright State University Guardian page 05.jpg
Page scan.

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