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Punch the Clock (2cd)

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 177.95
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 16 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Rhino-Atlantic
  • ASIN: B0000B1A5U
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #272,903 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. Let Them All Talk
2. Everyday I Write The Book
3. The Greatest Thing
4. The Element Within Her
5. Love Went Mad
6. Shipbuilding
7. TKO (Boxing Day)
8. Charm School
9. The Invisible Man
10. Mouth Almighty
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Everyday I Write The Book
2. Baby Pictures
3. Heathen Town
4. The Flirting Kind
5. Walking On Thin Ice
6. Big Sister's Clothes/Stand Down Margaret (BBC Session)
7. Danger Zone
8. Seconds Of Pleasure
9. The Town Where Time Stood Still
10. The World And His Wife
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Product Description

At times more ear-rending than the much maligned Goodbye Cruel World--thank the blaring horns, which augment an uneven bunch of songs--Punch the Clock nonetheless has its great moments. The searing political statements "Shipbuilding" and "Pills and Soap" are obvious high points (as is Chet Baker's solo on the former), while on the poppier side "Everyday I Write the Book" is sweetly distressed, "Let Them All Talk" definitively defiant, and "The World and His Wife" high-level sneering wordplay. At least a couple of the bonus tracks in Rykodisc's edition, though, trump some of the original Clock's weaker cuts. --Rickey Wright --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Before anyone gets upset with what I'm about to write, let me state that I'm a dedicated Costello fan and have been listening to him and buying his records (yes, when records were vinyl LPs) since day one. I think that he is one of the truly great and gifted musicians and songwriters and my favourite musical artist (next to the Beatles).
It's acknowledged by EC cognoscentes that 'Goodbye Cruel World' (the album that immediately followed 'Punch' and was released a year later) marks the nadir of his career and that 'Punch the Clock' isn't far behind. The two albums are often paired together and I think justifiably regarded as parts 1 and 2 of a set. In fact, Elvis lost a sizeable portion of his audience after the release of these two albums. He has been fighting an uphill battle ever since to recover the level of support lost after 'Goodbye Cruel World'.
Despite respectable sales of 'Punch the Clock', I've always suspected that post 'Goodbye Cruel World' a lot of Elvis fans, upon reflection, suffered from buyer's remorse over 'Punch' and perhaps even some embarrassment. If this album was in their music libraries, the owners were probably hesitant to admit so and the album probably never left the shelf or the box at the back of the closet until some garage sale called out for it. I also suspect that those who bought the cd edition of this album did so more out of a sense of obligation than anything else.
I am not critizing Elvis' decision to try something different (i.e. a more "pop" oriented sound). (Although doing something different in and of itself does not guarantee that the results will be interesting, entertaining, artistically successful or even done well). Perhaps he was motivated by an understandable sense of disappointment over the sales of 'Imperial Bedroom'.
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Format: Audio CD
Flush with artistic raves and the critical success of "Imperial Bedroom," Elvis Costello did exactly what we should have expected him to do. He made an album absolutely nothing like the one we'd all been listening to for the entire previous year. I even remember a scathing review of this album at the time that opened with a comment akin to "Well, nobody's going to call this album a masterpiece."
OK, so that was a pretty accurate assessment. "Punch The Clock" was a maniacally obsessive pop album, primarily due to the choice of Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley as producers. Their track momentum was unstoppable at the time, and they wrapped EC and the Attractions with soul vocals, punchy horns and a free swinging style of production that was the polar opposite of Nick Lowe's. If you can, imagine "Get Happy" with more breathing space in the songs.
The result might have been "Punch The Clock's" irresistibly catchy opening track "Let Them All Talk." L&W layered the production with what was common to the period...the lush horns, the steamy r'n'b pulse, etc. Just as important was their finger on the popbeat of the moment, which suddenly saw Elvis flirting with the American Top 40 via "Everyday I Write The Book." While the video was more topical than the song, it didn't mean Elvis was shying away from biting lyrics. "Punch The Clock" is loaded with such notable quotes like "I wish you luck with a capitol F" and "He said 'are you cold,' she said 'no but you are,' la la la."
It also didn't mean that Elvis' definition of "pop" didn't include some heartfelt jabs at the current state of England.
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Format: Audio CD
For me, at least, this wasn't up to the quality of EC's first 5 albums. It's not a disaster. I can think of very few EC albums that deserve that moniker. The weakness is in the inconsistent songwriting. The best material here holds up well compared to his best but there's too much filler. What makes Punch The Clock so compelling and still a great listen is EC's willingness to embrace a wide variety of musical styles including the pop of its era. Punch The Clock is a search for a new direction after reaching a creative peak with the brilliant Trust and Imperial Bedroom. The albums it most recalls are John Lennon's trio of mid-70's albums Mind Games, Walls and Bridges and Rock 'n' Roll in its slick production style and attempt to merge the soul of the performer to the flesh of the marketplace.
There was something endearing and powerful about Nick Lowe's claustrophobic production. Lowe would have been a poor fit for Punch. Even when EC and Geoff Emerick opened the songs up to a new sonic world on Imperial Bedroom, they withstood the challenge. There are a few tracks, though, where EC and L&W meet head on. The collison produces a couple of strong masterpieces including the sublimely realized Shipbuilding with the aching horn solo by the late, great Chet Baker. Pills and Soap, Let Them All Talk (the catchy opening track) and the brilliant single Everyday I Write The Book demonstrate that the match isn't a miss so much as a hit and miss depending on the material.
The bonus tracks have, again, been relocated to the bonus disc. Punch The Clock benefits from the bonus tracks even more than Trust or the other reissues do. There is a flaw, however, because Punch isn't as complete as it should be with a few missing tracks that were on the original Rykodisc version.
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