My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Costello initially started recording the songs that would become My Aim is True as demos for other musicians. After hearing the results, the record company okay-ed the idea of Costello releasing his own album. This debut album was recorded in 1976 and 1977 and was released July 1977 in the UK and December of that year in the US with the song “Watching the Detectives” added to the album.
What I think: I think most people prefer Costello’s second album This Year’s Model to this one, but for me My Aim is True is his peak. Over the last twenty years it has to be in the top five of my most played. I really love the simplicity of it that brings and how that adds to such a raw energy. It’s has the spirit of early rock and roll without being derivative. Sound-wise, I just love the sound of the guitars and organ.
It’s almost flawless, with my least favorite song the one that is probably the most popular, “Alison”. It’s just overly cheesy sounding to me, but it’s still fun to sing along to and I like it in the same way I like “Summer Breeze”.
I normally seem to enjoy the first side of albums more than the second, but with this one the excitement really starts for me when you get to “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”. I just love that whole side and it’s hard to find a group of songs better than that. “Red Shoes” to “Less Than Zero” into “Mystery Dance” should put you in a good mood 100% of the time, even if the themes of the songs aren’t so happy. Which is certainly a theme for the whole album.
To me Costello would never match this energy again, and that was probably mostly intentional as a way to get a more refined sound. So, while I love a lot of his later stuff it just doesn’t match the magic in these recordings.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? We have a no doubter here. I’m glad this one has been with me through much of my adult life.
Rating (Out of 5) 5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (96 /402)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 76%