To catch y’all up, last Saturday we took a trip to Rasputin in Berkeley and couldn’t decide between two Elvis Costello albums: My Aim Is True and This Year’s Model. So we chose both. We realized that the main reason most albums are on our list is because they are by artists we haven’t listened to. So why stop at one record?
We also found some other awesome albums over the weekend. In Berkeley we picked up Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust (etc.) and Kishi Bashi’s 151a (which I was SUPER excited to find). Then we stopped briefly at the Alemany Flea Market (more on that below) and then finally went to the Genco household and brought back Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Derek and the Dominoes: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
But anyway, back to Elvis.
[Side note: I really love these album covers for some reason. There’s nothing too special about them…maybe it’s the old-timey, Buddy Holly look that I just think is so cool.]
Turns out Alex prefers the 50’s-flavored My Aim Is True, while I like This Year’s Model better (*dat organ*). Either way, I realized after the first few listens that Elvis Costello is a lot more punk than I originally thought. A lot of those catchy upbeat songs are actually pretty dark and cynical. Plus, “Alison” sounds like a pretty love song but is quite bitter/sad (some people interpret the classic “my aim is true” line to mean the singer’s aim with a gun??). Tricky for someone like me who often doesn’t pay attention to lyrics, haha.
I think the best word to describe both of these albums is solid. Unlike Rumours, I wouldn’t call every song a hit. And unlike Dirty Mind, I didn’t immediately latch on to a lot of them. It took a few listens to get really into it. But each song, on each album, is just incredibly solid. We’ve listened to these albums every day this past week, and I just keep getting more and more fond of them.
A lesson learned this time around: just because it’s a classic/popular album does not mean you will be able to find it in record stores. It’s obvious that these are records people want to hold onto. So, of course they’ll be hard to find in used record bins. Buying reissues is all well and good, but I refuse to do it. I’m not going to pay $30 for a brand new record when there are used gems to be found in a dusty crate somewhere. That’s what makes the search fun! Case in point: when we went to the (rainy) Alemany Flea Market, we came across a whole bunch of 60s and 70s records that a talkative boomer was selling for $1 or $2 apiece. So in addition to an imported version of Janis Joplin’s Pearl and CSNY’s Deja Vu, we also got some free stories about the 60s.
So continues the search. We’ve now got a couple weeks’ worth of albums lined up, but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of heading to Haight and seeing what I can find.