THIS YEAR'S MODEL is packaged with a 28-page booklet that includes rare photos and printed song lyrics. For his second album, Costello fine-tuned his aesthetic by abandoned the California studio cat accompanists of his debut for the more aggressive, quirky and very British Attractions, who would virtually define EC's sound over the next several years. Where MY AIM IS TRUE highlighted Costello's rootsy influences (the Band, etc.), THIS YEAR'S MODEL wholeheartedly embraces the "new wave" out-with-the-old mindset, favoring tightly-wound ferocity over back-porch-isms. Irresistibly catchy, in a twitchy, neurotic, white-knuckled way, THIS YEAR'S MODEL is Costello at his edgiest. The classic "Pump It Up" pummels the listener with garage-band organ, pounding drums, and HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED-style ranting. "Radio, Radio" turned into something of an anti-authoritarian anthem for Costello. The snaky guitar and reggae-tinged drums of "I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea" complement Costello's verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown vocal performance nicely. Come to think of it, so does nearly everything else here.
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One of the GREAT records of all time!
Gary M. Douglas | Just east of Albuquerque New Mexico | 04/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Someone else may have mentioned this already, but if not, I think many have overlooked a most important component of the genesis and passion of this album. Let me see if memory serves...
As I recall, this album was indeed the boom following the lit fuse dynamite of the first album, but where did all the intensity come from? Very much like Frank Sinatra's masterpiece recording In the Wee Small Hours, which was born of a broken heart, This Year's Model was the result of the breakup of Elvis' love affair with famed international model Bebe Buell. The cover says it all and it's right there staring you in the face.
Frank nearly lost his mind over the breakup with Eva Gardner, the absolute one and only love of his life. The pain and misery he felt drove him to a level of intensity and passion in his delivery and arrangements never before heard from the Chairman of the Board.
Like Frank before him, Elvis too suffered deeply when Bebe chose her career over him - just listen to the words of Lipstick Vogue. Most of the album was a love lost song to Bebe. It stands out in my mind as truly one of the great albums to come out of the '80's and remains one of my very favorites."
Costello's sophomore effort put him over the top
J. Polsgrove | Baja Arizona | 03/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the album that, long, long ago, turned me on to Elvis Costello. So, in a way, it has strong sentimental value for me. I know every song intimately from beginning to end, and I can't help but give this five stars.
I noticed Legacy has come out with a two-CD re-release of this. I scanned some of the "bonus tracks" on the live second CD, but for the money, I'd stick with the original. So many of the Legacy reissues are just record companies' ways of squeezing a few more dollars out of die-hard fans' hands.
This album, uh, CD, uh, download, whatever, it more than enough! Oh, one more thing: PLAY IT LOUD!"