THIS YEAR’S MODEL by Elvis Costello (1978) My personal favourite record of the 70’s. Costello harnesses an anger that is partly born of pure frustration, partly of negative encounters with other people (mostly the opposite sex), and partly mysterious. The Attractions were never better. They force Costello’s vocals along with incredible speed and precision.
SIREN by Roxy Music (1975) The peak of Roxy Music’s run of amazingly original futuristic records. Here Bryan Ferry’s vision is the most crystal clear-the lounge lizard as trendsetting icon, filled with regret. The band jams behind him in a way that would be copied by every British band in about five years after this record came out.
BLUE by Joni Mitchell (1971) Mitchell delivers her deeply personal, literate lyrics with such ease that these songs seem to be coming out of her spontaneously. Her off kilter song constructions remind me of Morrissey and the spare backing only increases the beauty, the power. A milestone for singer songwriters.
PIECES OF A MAN by Gil Scott Heron (1971) The revolution may not be televised but the bleak pictures Heron paints of inner city life(unemployment, drugs, crime) and institutionalized racism over a light semi-improvised jazz soundscape is the next best thing.
COOL FOR CATS by Squeeze (1979) The Difford/Tilbrook songwriting partnership really came into its own on Squeeze’s second album. Combining Beatles/Kinks influence, a more melodic take on pub rock, and some electronics, the clever tunes here are only helped by Tilbrook’s sweet McCartneyesque tenor (especially when contrasted with Difford’s bass harmonies).