Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model (1978)
I remember chatting with Michael Victor from the band Darken (www.darken.ca) about the fine line keyboard players have to walk: there’s a delicate balance between catchy & cheesy.
Steve Nieve handled the keys on This Year’s Model and for the most part, he did an admirable job of walking that line. Very catchy hooks in The Beat and Pump It Up drive the songs; however, time has not been kind to his contributions on a few of the other tracks.
In fairness, this album was recorded first, so perhaps criticism should be reserved for the songs that came after. That being said, it’s hard not to hear Toni Basil’s Mickey and various games from the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in Radio, Radio and Living in Paradise, respectively.
Listening to Elvis singing on this record, his influence on groups like The Wallflowers and more recently, Hot Hot Heat, is quite apparent.
Mr. Costello makes a few appearances on the 1001 list, as an artist and as a producer. This Year’s Model is a good listen; I’m looking forward to hearing how his sound evolved with his different backup bands and collaborators.