Elvis Costello

Get Happy - F-Beat 1980

Tracks: 1. Love for Tender / 2. Opportunity / 3. The Imposter / 4. Secondary Modern / 5. King Horse / 6. Possession / 7. Men Called Uncle / 8. Clowntime Is Over / 9. 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 // 1. I Stand Accused / 2. So Young / 3. Girls Talk / 4. Human Touch / 5. Temptation / 6. Motel Matches / 7. Clowntime Is Over, No.2 / 8. B Movie / 9. Girls Talk / 10. Getting Mighty Crowded / 11. From a Whisper to a Scream / 12. Watch Your Step / 13. Dr. Luther's Assistant / 14. Ghost Train / 15. New Lace Sleeves / 16. Hoover Factory / 17. Just a Memory / 18. I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down / 19. New Amsterdam / 20. Black & White World / 21. Riot Act / 22. 5ive Gears in Reverse / 23. Love for Tender / 24. Men Called Uncle / 25. King Horse / 26. Seven O'Clock / 27. High Fidelity / 28. Opportunity / 29. The Imposter / 30. Don't Look Back


It can hardly give rise to greater discussion among Elvis Costello fans claiming that his fourth album "Get Happy" from 1980 is one of his very best. Like the previous albums "Get Happy" was produced by Nick Lowe, but this does not mean that Costello does not seek new sides in his musical output. Where "Armed Forces" was a very "produced" album, with a great and big sound, and a great deal of inspiration from Abba's, "Get Happy" more simple in its expression, and generally very much Motown influenced.

Another striking thing is the vast number of songs - no less than twenty tracks were found on the original version, which might well seem a little confusing nd overwhelming, making it harder to get an overview of the album. On "Get Happy" Costello is still backed by the Attractions, and you can't help noting keyboard player Steve Nieve's distinctive organ sound throughout the album.

As mentioned, it may be difficult to comprehend and remember the many new songs - especially the many upbeat and very Motown inspired numbers may at first seem very similar. My favourites are generally found outside this category. I must highlight the fine and waltzy "New Amsterdam" which was also used a the title track to a great 4-tracks EP which Costello also released in 1980. The other three tracks on The EP were not included on the "Get Happy", which they very well might have deserved. They are all of course incluede as bonus tracks on this extended version.

The soulful and melodic "Secondary Modern" is another big favorite of mine. A bit in the same vein is "Possession", with its catchy and great retro approach. Also very melodic ice "Clowntime is Over", which is also included in an alternate ballad version on CD 2.

"Motel Matches" is a wistful and melodic ballad, and another key track that helps set the mood on the album. "Opportunity" was another of the songs I first stapled me - funky and soulful.

The final track "Riot Act" is a distinguished and distinctive final song which beautifully rounds up the album. With its three and a half minutes playing time it is the album's longest - and thus one of the few times allows to really dwell with his great songwriting.

The bonus CD also contains a great number of fine recordings. Here special mention should be given to "Just a Memory" and "Dr Luther's Assistant" - both from the aforementioned EP - you notice big inpiration from the Beatles on "Dr Luther's Assistant". The two versions of Nick Lowe's "Girls Talk" are both fine - but may well seem a bit unfinished. Very Motwon style is "Getting Mighty Crowded" - could this song have been a great comeback for The Four Tops?

The alternate reggae version of "New Lace Sleeves", which was first released on Costello's next album "Trust" from 1981 - is almost as good as the well-known version, and refreshingly different. Several songs are included in alternate versions - which of course is interesting, but may be felt slightly overwhelming - especially the demo recordings, may give CD 2 a somewhat uneven character.

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