Music Article

His Brilliant Career

Elvis Costello's albums -- We take a look at the musician's discography

Elvis Costello's albums

My Aim Is True (1977)
Out of England's pub-rock wilderness, a debut with lots to say. A-

This Year's Model (1978)
Sex and obsession. ''Don't ask me to apologize/I won't ask you to forgive me.'' Plus lightning strikes-Costello meets his virtuoso band, the Attractions. A

Armed Forces (1978)
Sex defines politics, politics defines sex. A landmark. ''Two little Hitlers will fight it out until/One little Hitler does the other one's will.'' A+

Get Happy!! (1980)
R&B revelry with 20 two-minute classics, a minimalist masterwork. ''Your body speaks so much louder than your voice/You let it do the talking so I don't have any choice.'' A+

Taking Liberties (1980)
So many rarities (B sides, unreleased tracks), so little dross. B+

Trust (1981)
Social science with a nonstop beat for parties or revolutions. ''In the drinking clubs, where the councilmen/Are making plans to put the lead back in their pencils again.'' A

Almost Blue (1981)
Renditions of country classics. Down-home homework by a brilliant student. B

Imperial Bedroom (1982) A bid for greatness, and then some. ''From your own backyard to the land of exotica/From the truth society to neurotic erotica.'' A+

Punch the Clock (1983)
Work was never more fun, never better sung. ''Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal/I'd still own the film rights and be working on the sequel.'' A

Goodbye Cruel World (1984)
Short stories, fragments, and an exquisite duet with hyperintellectual Green Gartside. ''Cold ground for a pillow/Under a blanket of stars.'' B

King of America (1986)
A personal stamp on the Great Songwriting Tradition. ''You try to love her, but she's so contrary/Like a chainsaw running through a dictionary.'' A

Blood & Chocolate (1986)
A blistering, wildly infectious reunion with Nick Lowe (producer of Costello's first five albums) and the Attractions. ''You always look so disappointed/When I take my stockings off/ Don't you know the facts of life, boy?/Don't you know what these things cost?'' A-

Out of Our Idiot (1987)
Twenty-one crucial B sides, some recorded under tongue-in-cheek assumed names. B

Spike (1989)
Overdeliberate singing, writing, and playing. The curse of talent. C+

Originally posted May 10, 1991 Published in issue #65 May 10, 1991 Order article reprints

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