Elvis Costello Paul Rambali - Essay

Paul Rambali

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

We all know boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses and vice versa, so bespectacled rockers should theoretically have an even harder time in the adulation stakes. Not so; Elvis Costello, the latest sensation to explode on these shores, proves you don't have to squint at an audience in order to get your message across….

Costello's first appearance on vinyl was early this year with the single "Less than Zero." As abstract a record as could be, he gave few clues to his territory…. The lyrics were shrouded in a strange, twisted sarcasm and seemed to express contempt for the way everybody goes about living a lifestyle rather than simply living. I later discovered that the song has something to do with Oswald Mosley, a British fascist leader of the '30s, but it's still hard to make sense out of it…. [It] was intriguing … on a surreal basis—and catchy to boot….

Some months later "Alison," Costello's second single, was released. In retrospect, "Alison" should have been the perfect summer hit, it has many qualities similar to 10cc's "I'm Not in Love." A beautiful, tender and melancholy ballad that does for me what [Todd] Rundgren's Something/Anything used to do. But perhaps it was a little too close; the pain and hurt show too clearly…. Anyone whose heart doesn't tighten a little when they hear "Alison" must have been brought up in a steel cage….

On the face of it My Aim Is...

(The entire section is 415 words.)