Elvis Presley – Elvis is Back! (1960)
Album title Punctuation Appreciation September begins!
Artists these days seem to frequently welcome themselves back in song, often without having noticeably been away. The self-welcome back is certainly justified here: after two years of military service, Presley’s own army of fans were beyond salivating for new music from their hero.
In the case of this record, the exclamation mark (Back!) may also be an expression of relief by the record label.
This is Presley’s second of three appearances on the 1001 list and it’s likely on par with, if not slightly stronger than, his first inclusion.
Whereas Van Morrison’s songs outshone their singer on It’s Too Late to Stop Now, Elvis the iconic performer is superior to his song choices here. The tunes aren’t glaringly weak, they’re more like vehicles for Presley to do what he does. That being said, I’ll forever have a soft spot for 60s Bobby Rydell-esque pop like The Girl of My Best Friend.
Perhaps the strongest supporting evidence of his performing chops appears early. He carries Fever with subtle percussion as his only accompaniment. Elvis fans will have little to complain about the rest of the way on this overall decent & varied record. Considering his absence made millions of hearts grow even fonder, he likely could have released a vastly inferior record and fans still would have lapped it up.
Finally, an argument in favour of the 2011 Legacy Reissue: disc two contains my favourite Elvis track, (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame.