Friday, March 9, 2012

Spinning Songbook Countdown: Trust

"Watch Your Step" snuck up on me. It wasn't even while playing this album but while listening to a Rykodisc compilation of Elvis Costello's best songs that I bought for the woman who would become my wife. I got her the album to introduce her to Costello. We were driving around listening to this CD featuring the best of the Attractions years and "Watch Your Step" came on. At first I couldn't recognize it and wondered how could I have missed it, this gorgeous keyboard-driven song with some of Costello's best singing yet that's incredibly catchy. I looked up the song online and found that I had it all along on an used copy of Trust, Elvis Costello's 1981 album. I couldn't believe that I had missed it. It's now my favorite song on this album, which is a hard thing to say because there are many.

Trust is Costello's fifth album in five years and one that expands the creative relationship between him and the Attractions. Trust also shows some of the fatigue from continuous touring and recording, as well as the drug and alcohol infused lifestyle that went with it, on several throwaway songs that made it in to the album. I'm sorry but "From a Whisper to a Scream" just sounds like the theme song to some cult '80s TV show that was canceled too soon. "Luxembourg" is rockabilly din that could have worked better as a B-side. Still, most of the album sounds excellent with yet another outstanding performance from the Attractions. Steve Nieve is the MVP here I think with his rich piano flourishes on songs like "Shot with His Own Gun," and "New Lace Sleeves." Still Trust is a great band record with Costello leading the Attractions through thrilling tracks like "Lovers Walk," and "Strict Time" while also dropping hints about his next project with the country-themed "Different Finger." Rediscovering "Watch Your Step" has changed this record for me, helping me appreciate the hidden gems in it and reminding me that there are still many to find.

Classics: Clubland, Lovers Walk, Strict Time, Watch Your Step, New Lace Sleeves, Shot with His Own Gun, Big Sister's Clothes

Songs I'd like to hear live: Lovers Walk, Pretty Words, Watch Your Step, New Lace Sleeves, Fish 'N' Chips Paper ( I work at a newspaper - "Yesterday's news is tomorrow's fish and chip paper") and Big Sister (an different version of Big Sister's Clothes)

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