Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Elvis Costello and the Attractions: Get Happy! [Columbia, 1980]
This Stax-based twenty-song loss leader establishes not his fecundity but his fallibility--lotsa duds. I count maybe eight originals I'll remember half as well as the Sam & Dave obscurity, and n.b.: the Sam & Dave obscurity was the hit (U.K. hit, of course I mean). His rueful disavowal of "Knock on Wood" (in a dud) is no less impressive than his proud claim on "Time Is Tight" (in a keeper), and tropes and hooks abound--why deny lines like "You lack lust you're so lackluster" or "I speak double dutch to a real double duchess"? On the other hand, why bother digging them out? B