You know, you can never go wrong with any of Elvis Costello's first seven albums (with Punch the Clock and Goodbye Cruel World showing that EC can be mediocre, if he wants to be). December's Record You Should Own is, in this humble blogger's opinion, one of his most underrated - Trust.
Although this and Armed Forces often clash in my CD player, this is the one that seems to get slightly more airplay. It shows Costello beginning to branch out from the "angry young man" label and beginning stylistic detours that would take him into country, beautiful Beatle-esque pop, and lay out the blueprint for the rest of his career. This is where Costello's lyrical ability matches wits with the Attractions' musical chops, creating a collection of tunes that could just as easily be played during a cocktail party as in a loud and rowdy party.
You could almost hear the curtains part during the opening notes of "Clubland", a slightly noir-ish take on night life (Sample lyric: "The long arm of the law slides up the outskirts of town/Meanwhile in Clubland, they are ready to pull them down"). A Bo-Diddley-esque beat meets Latin piano in "Lovers Walk"; just feel the Elvis-meets-Jerry-Lee-Lewis vibe of "Luxembourg" or the slight paranoia of "Watch Your Step." You name the genre, it's covered, whether it's jazz ("New Lace Sleeves"), guitar rawk ("Whisper to a Scream") to country ("Different Finger") - this is the sound of an artist coming into his own.
So, if you're looking to listen to an underappreciated album; seeking a little sophisticated music for your New Year's Eve party; or just like solid tunes - Trust is well worth a listen.