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My Aim Is True

4.5 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 1, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2007 reissue of the essential 1977 debut album in digipack

Amazon.com

Elvis Costello kicked off his debut album with a formal device that would also serve his next two long-players well: the first thing you hear is his voice. That opening phrase--"Now that your picture's in the paper..."--was more than sneakily, if not intentionally, appropriate, since Costello was quickly declared the second coming. It's become de rigueur to dis the pub-rock backing of U.S. band Clover, but their work here is satisfactorily edgy; guitarist John McFee makes some of the arrangements with his wailingly articulate fills. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 1, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hip-O
  • ASIN: B000OHZJKA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,884 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Finefrock VINE VOICE on June 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Scene One; A sixteen year old boy is happily sitting in suburban Detroit. The soundtrack to his life is what would later come to be known as Classic Rock Radio. There are rumors of punk rock and new wave from England, however these are not audible yet in the midwest. One Saturday evening, he sits down to watch SNL with special musical guest Elvis Costello. Snap! That was the sound of a dropping jaw breaking the coffee table as Mr. Costello (looking like an exhumed Buddy Holly) plays Radio Radio. Scene Two; Said boy brings home My Aim is True. His mind is blown. Every song sounds like a hit single. He is amazed. Maybe there are other unheard things out there like this. Epilogue; This album helped open my doors to Punk, New Wave, Reggae, Ska, Jazz, Blues, World Music, Country, well you get the idea. Thank you Mr. McManus. One classic album.
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Format: Audio CD
First up--until the licensing agreement with UMG ends in November of 2007, the live album portion of this release IS available at iTunes (along with the new bonus tracks)at a reasonable price ($15.99)but you have to buy the whole set to get that price.

DO YOU NEED THIS ALBUM?

Absolutely but if you've bought it before and are satisfied with the Rhino release (which honestly was the best of the four versions that have been released in the last 20 plus years outside of this reissue), then you certainly could skip this and buy new music.

WHAT'S HERE THAT WASN'T BEFORE?

This edition has an entire live performance taken an appearence at the Nashville Room in 1977 plus the five track soundcheck (which only duplicates "Alison"). The original disc is augmented by the outtakes from both the Ryko and Rhino versions plus eight demos from Pathway Studios (four of which "Blue Minute", "Call On Me", "I Don't Want To Come Home" and "I Hear A Melody" are previously unreleased songs that may have been cannibalized for other songs).

If you're an EC and The Attractions fan, I'm sure that you've often wondered what "My Aim Is True" would have sounded like recorded by The Attractions. Now you can find out but if you had the "Live At El Mocambo" you had an idea.

The live album is pretty terrific with EC and the band in top form. The Pathway tracks while not as important as the album itself are interesting.

DOES THE ORIGINAL ALBUM SOUND ANY DIFFERENT?

Maybe a tad louder than the Rhino but it appears to be the exact same mastering as before (which was done by Dan Hirsch at Digiprep). Suha Gur masters the live tracks and demos new to this edition.
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Format: Audio CD
at the time that this album came out i had just lost my little boy, my husband had left me for a woman 24 years my junior, & i had a serious rash all up & down my left side. i was DEPRESSED. then i heard this music & suddenly i wanted to wear lipstick again. i wanted to wear lipstick & i wanted to dance. what a great album. and to this day in 2006 it still is! the best elvis costello album known to man (and that's saying something).
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Format: Audio CD
The first decade of Costello's catalog, everything from 1977's "My Aim is True" through 1986's "Blood & Chocolate" is on the move again. Having made stops at Columbia, Ryko and Rhino for CD reissues, Costello's first eleven albums now pit with Universal's Hip-O label for another round. Hip-O's first salvo of re-re-re-reissues included single-disc versions of the original albums that undid Rhino's second-disc bonuses, and a pair of compilations, one surveying the entire decade's output, the other pulling together many of Costello's rock-oriented tracks. Hip-O has now issued a new two-disc version of Costello's debut that includes previously unreleased material and tracks that are new-to-CD.

Many will complain that issuing "My Aim is True" on CD for a fourth time is a cynical marketing ploy aimed at luring faithful fans (those who already own vinyl and multiple CD copies) into re-buying the album. And while this may be a side-effect, it's not likely the core of marketing plan. Hip-O's goal isn't so much to re-sell this album to fans as it is to renew the title with merchants, reviewers and editors so as to entice a new generation of buyers. Gaining new shelf space and column inches for a 30-year-old release requires a bit of sizzle, which is provided by the album's bonus tracks and second disc. The margin on a rarities-only disc pushed through physical sales channels is apparently too low to be worth UMe's effort; instead, those who want only the new tracks can avail themselves of on-line download services where the set is parted out.

Recorded and originally issued amid the 1977 explosion of DIY art and angst that was punk rock, Costello's seething, literate lyrics stood above the fray.
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Format: Audio CD
Shortly after Elvis Costello let this 13 song tornado touch down in the US, he made the infamous comment that his thorny songs about relationships were motivated by revenge and guilt. That having been said, rarely has this much misanthropic venting been so great a joy to listen to. It wasn't just that Elvis was angry, it was that he was throwing twisted phrases into the vocabulary with seeming effortlessness.
Take some of these:

"I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused."
"Rhythmically admired."
"Walking on the water won't make me a miracle man."
"Everything means less than zero."
And of course, "My aim is true."

That's just five songs. The astounding thing (at the time), was each song was always just as good as the one before it, if not better! During the burgeoning punk movement, most of the bands getting press were doing so less for the music than for the attention getting behavior. (Think the Sex Pistols, etc.) Despite the blatant headline grabber of his assumed name and that bizarre knock kneed mutation of Buddy Holly's look, Elvis' debut was one of musical assurance. Part of that came from the usage of Clover, the band of Californians that contained a few of Huey Lewis' eventual Newsmates, and John McFee's guitar work. It was McFee's brief guitar lick that gave "Alison" a signature introduction. While hardly the fiery backing Elvis would find once The Attractions signed on, Clover gave "My Aim Is True" a barebones framework that made the in your face immediacy of the songs explode from the album.

In 1977, this was one of the albums that changed my outlook on life. (Hey, I was 17 years old, when such things were still possible.) Of those records from that time in my life, this is one for the very few discs that stayed with me and one of the only artists to emerge with a lifetime's worth of talent. "My Aim Is True" remains a showcase for songwriters, no matter what the motivations for their pens.
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