Elvis Costello - Get Happy!! (Cover Artwork)

Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello: Get Happy!!Get Happy!! (1980)
Sony Music

Reviewer Rating: 5
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Contributed by: HugeIrishMelonHugeIrishMelon
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Rhino Records effort to re-release all of Elvis Costello's albums in sets of threes continues this September with new deluxe editions of 1980's "Get Happy!!" 1981's "Trust," and 1983's "Punch the Clock." The reissue of "Get Happy!!" is a monster, clocking in at 50 tracks (20 original LP cuts, side b.
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Rhino Records effort to re-release all of Elvis Costello's albums in sets of threes continues this September with new deluxe editions of 1980's "Get Happy!!" 1981's "Trust," and 1983's "Punch the Clock." The reissue of "Get Happy!!" is a monster, clocking in at 50 tracks (20 original LP cuts, side by side with 30 alternate takes, b-sides and live recordings).

After 1979's "Armed Forces," Costello was hard at work constructing new songs for the follow-up. The band toured and tried some of the new material out (early versions of some songs are included on Rhino's bonus disc), but it soon became clear what they were doing. They were setting themselves up to make another "Armed Forces." Becoming almost sick of the "new wave" sound associated with that album, the band decided to change direction. The result is "Get Happy!!" a fast paced, punked-up, whirlwind of motown and soul. I have a lot to say about this so bear with me.

The record roars out of the gate with the frantic "Love For Tender." Think "You Can't Hurry Love" on speed. Though the pace feels rushed, it's the grooviest thing the band has recorded to date. You can start to see what Costello has in store. If you pay close attention (and stop dancing), you'll hear the contrast between the lyrics and the music on more than one occasion. The bottom-heavy "Opportunity" bounces merrily along while Costello offers the friendly advice, "Whatever you do now/Don't turn around." By the end of the song he's pleading with the listener. The punk-ska beat of "The Imposter" is a high point in the proceedings, boasted by the dizzying keyboards of Steve Nieve. The album doesn't let up after this. Songs usually go by fast, as most clock in at around two minutes. They get their point across and then get out. Every song here is great.

The wistful "Clowntime is Over" is only a suggestion of the brilliance that follows. "New Amsterdam," a ballad in 3/4 waltz time is a marvel. The word play and instrumentation on this track are as wonderful as anything Costello has ever done. The track plays out like an actual romance. While it's playing, you can't do anything but succumb to it. And when it's over and gone, you want it back. Costello speaks of "transparent people" who are "living a life that is almost like suicide" but in this song, it seems he is no better off than them. Any other artist would put a song this beautiful and powerful at the close of the album. But Costello has the balls (and talent) to stick it right in the middle (it doesn't even close side a on the vinyl).

Next come three of the strongest songs in the lot. "High Fidelity" is another track about hopeless love and lust, but is much more sinister. "Even though you're nowhere near me/And I know you kiss him so sincerely now" turns into "I bet he thinks that he was chosen out of millions." The raving cover of "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" fits in perfectly musically and lyrically. "Black And White World" is a herky-jerky affair, and another song that will get you moving. The bass and organ falling in and out of the song are an excellent touch.

"Riot Act" is a brooding, ponderous closer. The slow bass and drum on this song let you know it's going to be a killer even before Costello's sneering vocals come in. It's one of the only times on the album when the mood of the music matches the spirit of the lyrics completely.

All of these great things to say, and I still haven't mentioned gems like "I Stand Accused," "Secondary Modern," "Motel Matches," "Temptation," and "Possession." Plus the incredible b-sides! This is a great album for when you're alone and you want to simply listen to the lyrics, or when you're ready to have a full blown party. And come on, $15 for 50 tracks! I wholeheartedly recommend "Get Happy!!" to anyone who knows what a cd is.

more reviews at Big Touchin.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (September 26, 2003)

This review is awesome. To those of you who haven't went out and got the Rhino re-issue yet, you definently should, as the 30 bonus cuts alone are worth it.

Furthermore, Elvis Costello is, in my opinion, the greatest song-writer of all time. And, this album just goes to show off his incredible versatility as an artist. Three cheers!

Yeah Elvis!


Anonymous (September 24, 2003)

This was the first record..and I mean VINYL RECORD that I ever owned. Fucking Brilliant.

Anonymous (September 23, 2003)

great great album

Anonymous (September 22, 2003)

By the way, the back up band on the first album was Clover, not the Rumour. Members of Clover went on to form Huey Lewis & The News.

HugeIrishMelon (September 22, 2003)

Here's the tracklisting for both discs:

01 Love For Tender
02 Opportunity
03 The Imposter
04 Secondary Modern
05 King Horse
06 Possession
07 Men Called Uncle
08 Clowntime Is Over
09 New Amsterdam
10 High Fidelity
11 I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down
12 Black & White World
13 5ive Gears In Reverse
14 B Movie
15 Motel Matches
16 Human Touch
17 Beaten To The Punch
18 Temptation
19 I Stand Accused
20 Riot Act
01 I Stand Accused (alternate version)
02 So Young
03 Girls Talk
04 Human Touch (alternate version)
05 Temptation (alternate version)
06 Motel Matches (alternate take)
07 Clowntime Is Over No. 2
08 B Movie (alternate version)
09 Girls Talk (alternate version)
10 Getting Mighty Crowded
11 From A Whisper to a Scream (early version)
12 Watch Your Step (early version)
13 Dr. Luther’s Assistant
14 Ghost Train
15 New Lace Sleeves (early version)
16 Hoover Factory
17 Just A Memory
18 I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (slow version)
19 New Amsterdam (full band version)
20 Black & White World (demo)
21 Riot Act (demo)
22 5ive Gears In Reverse (demo)
23 Love For Tender (demo)
24 Men Called Uncle (demo)
25 King Horse (demo)
26 Seven O’clock (demo)
27 High Fidelity (live - early arrangement)
28 Opportunity (live - early arrangement)
29 The Imposter (live)
30 Don’t Look Back (live)

Disc 2 highlights include "Hoover Factory," both versions of "Girls Talk," "So Young," the reggae take on "New Lace Sleeves," and the paranoid, non-soul live recording of "High Fidelity." Cool stuff.

steakhouse (September 22, 2003)

This is a great record and was produced by nick lowe who wrote "what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding". I wish you wrote more about the b-sides because I already own the vinyl. The back up band on the 1st record was the Rumour who were Graham Parker's Back up band. Check out his records too if you like Elvis Costello. They were all on stiff records together with The Adverts, The Damned, Richard Hell, Madness, Devo, The Members, Wreckless Eric and Ian Dury.

Anonymous (September 20, 2003)

Hot Damn.....I remember seeing this album like 4 years ago on sale with a bunch of other stuff around christmas time. I had it in my hands and never got it and im kicking myself now that I didnt. But its all good cause i got a couple clash remastered but I always remember it. I think I will make the purchase now.

Anonymous (September 20, 2003)

hey my vinyl copy has the track listing switched on the sides... fucked up

Anonymous (September 20, 2003)

Might also mention how Rancid are basically this era of Elvis Costello mixed with Sham 69... And they suck, but dont let it fool you. This is honestly an excellent album.

Anonymous (September 20, 2003)

Elvis Costello is the man. What a great record. My dad is a huge fan, so he has all the albums. Now me and him are on a streak of Costello, inspired by this review.

Anonymous (September 20, 2003)

Elvis Costello is a god. This was a *perfect* album and still is. He's just fucking brilliant. I clicked on the review and as soon as i saw the album cover i had to listen to this again.

My second favorite album of all time (Talking Heads "Remain in Light" would be my number one, and I reviewed it on here), but it's definitely gaining.

Just perfect.


Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

Great, great album. Too bad he went crap, but this is my second favorite Attractions album.


Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

This album, hell this artist, is far to good for the people that visit this site. Costello has always been light years ahead of music. In a perfect world this review would get 100000 hits...sadly that will not happen.


Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

fuckin a.

costello is god.

i think this years model will always be my favorite (living in paradise, you belong to me, lipstick vogue, hand in hand) but this record is amazing as well. his first four are his best four i think, although the lack of the attractions on my aim is true really hurts it.

Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

I love Costello. Watching The Detectives is kick assssssss


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