Punch The Clock
Released: Aug 1983
Label: Hip-O Records
Imperial Bedroom was a masterpiece without any standout radio hits. So Elvis Costello hired the trendy English new wave production team of Langer & Winstanley (Madness, Teardrop Explodes) and tried to produce a set of big, flashy hits. He succeeded without embarrassing himself: it's hard to get better 1980s radio songs than "Everyday I Write the Book, "Let Them All Talk" and "The World and His Wife." Some great songs don't make a great album though -- even if this was a major hit in Britain, Punch the Clock is still Costello's first non-essential collection of original songs. The set's shining star is the searing protest number, "Shipbuilding," which has Liverpool's unemployed and defeated hoping a war will bring their jobs back. The song features a trumpet solo by jazz legend Chet Baker, who went on perform Costello's "Almost Blue" for the rest of his life.
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