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Music / My Aim Is True

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"Oh, I used to be disgusted/And now I try to be amused..."

My Aim Is True is the debut album from Elvis Costello, released in 1977. The album consisted mainly of songs that he had written while with his former band, Flip City, and brought to his audition at Stiff Records, along with some newly composed material. His backing band for the album was the Bay Area's Clover, essentially Huey Lewis and the News without Huey Lewis.


Side One

  1. "Welcome To The Working Week" (1:22)
  2. "Miracle Man" (3:31)
  3. "No Dancing" (2:39)
  4. "Blame It On Cain" (2:49)
  5. "Alison" (2:54)
  6. "Sneaky Feelings" (2:09)

Side Two

  1. "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" (2:47)
  2. "Less Than Zero" (3:15)
  3. "Mystery Dance" (1:38)
  4. "Pay It Back" (2:33)
  5. "I'm Not Angry" (2:57)
  6. "Waiting For The End Of The World" (3:22)

Bonus Track (from the original American release and all CD versions):

  1. "Watching the Detectives" (3:42)

Don't you think that I know that troping on water won't make me a miracle man?:

  • Album Title Drop: "Alison":
    Alison, I know this world is killing you
    Alison, my aim is true.
  • Alliterative Title: "Welcome to the Working Week" and "Miracle Man".
  • Altar the Speed: "Waiting For The End of the World":
    "Hiding from a scandal in the national press
    They had been trying to get married since they stole the wedding dress"
  • Always Someone Better: "Miracle Man":
    Why do you have to say that there's always someone who can do it better than I can?
    But don't you think that I know that walking on water
    Won't make me a miracle man?
  • Argentina Is Nazi-Land: "Less Than Zero", a Take That! at former British fascist leader Oswald Mosley:
    She says, "I hear that South America is coming into style."
  • At Least I Admit It: The chorus to "Alison" seems to translate to "I know the world will break your heart, but I'll be more forthright about it than the rest."
  • Be Yourself: From "Pay It Back":
    "And I tried so hard just to be myself
    But I keep on fading away"
  • Big "WHY?!": "Welcome to the Working Week" has a repeated one:
    All you gotta tell me now is why why why why
  • The Chikan: "Waiting for the End of the World":
    And then they shut down the power all along the line
    And we got stuck in the tunnel where no lights shine
    They got to touching all the girls who were too scared to call out
    Nobody was saying anything at all
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The cover photos.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The album was recorded before Elvis had formed the Attractions, but Attractions keyboardist Steve Nieve plays on "Watching the Detectives".
  • Face on the Cover: Elvis featured central on the album cover, playing guitar.
  • Genre Roulette: Costello shows stylistic versatility already. "No Dancing" has a Phil Spector sound and is in fact one of many rock songs to use the slow, echoey drumbeat from the Ronettes' "Be My Baby". "I'm Not Angry" is punky hard rock. "Alison" is country-influenced. "Mystery Dance" is a rockabilly number that takes its cue from the other Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock".
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Male sexual inadequacy, for various reasons, has never been a big topic in rock music, but it's all over this album.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Welcome to the Working Week" and "Mystery Dance".
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Welcome to the Working Week" and "Mystery Dance" are both well under two minutes.
  • One-Man Song: "Miracle Man".
  • One-Woman Song: "Alison"
  • Page Three Stunna: The line "your picture's in the paper being rhythmically admired" from "Welcome to the Working Week".
  • Police Brutality: "Watching the Detectives":
    They beat him up until the teardrops start
    But he can't be wounded cos he's got no heart.
  • Record Producer: Nick Lowe, Costello's usual producer in the early years.
  • The Scapegoat: "Blame It on Cain" asserts "It's nobody's fault, but we need somebody to burn."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The squares on the cover bear the dual meaning declaration "Elvis is king!"
    • Romeo and Juliet appear in the first verse of "Mystery Dance".
  • Take That!: "Less Than Zero" was written as a scathing criticism of former British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley, who Costello saw on TV attempting to deny that he was a racist. Because "Oswald" was more widely associated in America with John F. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, Costello wrote a second "Dallas version" for Stateside performances that similarly jabbed at him. In the liner notes to Rhino Records' reissue of the album, Costello elaborated on the subject matter and his views on Mosley:
    "Less Than Zero" was a song I had written after seeing the despicable Oswald Mosley being interviewed on BBC television. The former leader of the British Union of Fascists seemed unrepentant about his poisonous actions of the 1930s. The song was more of a slandering fantasy than a reasoned argument.