Side One: Mint Minus Minus (w/ a mark that plays 10 times at a moderate level near the start of track 1)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This STUNNING copy of Costello's debut album earned Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides
- The sound is lively, punchy, and powerful - with all due respect, it should MURDER whatever copies you may have
- A massive step up sonically from most domestic pressings, early or otherwise, and guaranteed to handily beat the imports as well
- 5 stars: "A phenomenal debut, capturing a songwriter and musician whose words were as rich and clever as his music."
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Yes, it's lively and has that driving punk rock bass, but what sets this copy apart from the average pressing is the top end -- it's silky and smooth. As a consequence, the vocals end up being more present and transparent than we're used to, with almost none of the grit and spit so common to most of the copies anyone is ever likely to come across.
This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with Elvis and the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the best sides of My Aim Is True to have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1977
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Elvis Is Still The King
Remember, we're talking about one of the best records in the history of rock and roll. It will never sound dated. It will never go out of style. It will reward repeated listenings from now until you lose your hearing. In that respect, it's like all the best records you and I own: they are priceless treasures.
What We're Listening For on My Aim Is True
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
Welcome to the Working Week
Blame it on Cain
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Less Than Zero
Pay It Back
I'm Not Angry
Waiting For the End of the World
Elvis Costello was as much a pub rocker as he was a punk rocker and nowhere is that more evident than on his debut, My Aim Is True. That blend of classicist sensibilities and cleverness make this collection of shiny roots rock a punk record — it informs his nervy performances and his prickly songs.
Of all classic punk debuts, this remains perhaps the most idiosyncratic because it's not cathartic in sound, only in spirit. Costello went on to more ambitious territory fairly quickly, but My Aim Is True is a phenomenal debut, capturing a songwriter and musician whose words were as rich and clever as his music.
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