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Elvis Costello|Punch The Clock

Punch The Clock

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

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Perhaps frustrated by the lack of commercial success Imperial Bedroom encountered, Elvis Costello enlisted British hitmakers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley to produce its follow-up, Punch the Clock. The difference between the two records is immediately noticeable. Punch the Clock has a slick, glossy surface, complete with layered synthesizers, horns, studio effects, and the backup vocals of Afrodiziak. The approach isn't necessarily a misguided one, since Costello is as much a pop musician as he is a singer/songwriter and many of the best moments on the record -- "Everyday I Write the Book," "Let Them All Talk" -- work well as shiny pop singles. However, the problem with Punch the Clock is that Costello is entering a fallow songwriting period; it is his least consistent set of original songs to date. The best moments, the antiwar ballad "Shipbuilding" and the eerie pseudo-rap "Pills and Soap," are as articulate and effective as any of his past work, but frequently Costello falls short of meeting his standards, particularly when he's trying to write a song in the style of his older songs. Nevertheless, the sheen of the Langer and Winstanley production makes Punch the Clock a pleasurable listen. Costello's uneven writing means that only portions of the album are memorable.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Punch The Clock

Elvis Costello

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1
Let Them All Talk (Album Version)
00:03:06

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

2
Everyday I Write The Book (Album Version)
00:03:54

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

3
The Greatest Thing (Album Version)
00:03:03

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

4
The Element Within Her (Album Version)
00:02:52

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

5
Love Went Mad (Album Version)
00:03:12

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

6
Shipbuilding (Album Version)
00:04:52

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chet Baker, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Wistanley, Producer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

7
TKO (Boxing Day) (Album Version)
00:03:28

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

8
Charm School (Album Version)
00:03:54

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

9
The Invisible Man (Album Version)
00:03:04

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

10
Mouth Almighty (Album Version)
00:03:04

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

11
King Of Thieves (Album Version)
00:03:45

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

12
Pills & Soap (Album Version)
00:03:42

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

13
The World And His Wife (Album Version)
00:03:23

David Bedford, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - CLIVE LANGER, Producer - Pete Thomas, Cymbals, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Claudia Fontaine, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Winstanley, Producer - Jeff Blythe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Paterson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Hammond Organ, Piano, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Guitar, Vocals, Synclavier, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - COLIN FAIRLEY, Producer, Assistant Producer - Gavin Greenaway, Producer, Assistant Producer - Bruce Thomas, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Caron Wheeler, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Morris Pert, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Russell, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elvis Costello & The Attractions, MainArtist - Paul Speare, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Plews, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Stuart Robson, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1983 Elvis Costello

Chronique

Perhaps frustrated by the lack of commercial success Imperial Bedroom encountered, Elvis Costello enlisted British hitmakers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley to produce its follow-up, Punch the Clock. The difference between the two records is immediately noticeable. Punch the Clock has a slick, glossy surface, complete with layered synthesizers, horns, studio effects, and the backup vocals of Afrodiziak. The approach isn't necessarily a misguided one, since Costello is as much a pop musician as he is a singer/songwriter and many of the best moments on the record -- "Everyday I Write the Book," "Let Them All Talk" -- work well as shiny pop singles. However, the problem with Punch the Clock is that Costello is entering a fallow songwriting period; it is his least consistent set of original songs to date. The best moments, the antiwar ballad "Shipbuilding" and the eerie pseudo-rap "Pills and Soap," are as articulate and effective as any of his past work, but frequently Costello falls short of meeting his standards, particularly when he's trying to write a song in the style of his older songs. Nevertheless, the sheen of the Langer and Winstanley production makes Punch the Clock a pleasurable listen. Costello's uneven writing means that only portions of the album are memorable.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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