Cover image for Punch the clock
Punch the clock
Costello, Elvis.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[United States] : Rhino, [2003]

Physical Description:
2 audio discs : digital ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 insert (27 pages)
General Note:
Compact disc.

Reissue of 1983-2003 recordings.

Historical/biographical information and lyrics included in insert.
Let them all talk -- Everyday I write the book -- Greatest thing -- Element within her -- Love went mad -- Shipbuilding -- TKO (Boxing day) -- Charm school -- Invisible man -- Mouth almighty -- King of thieves -- Pills and soap -- World and his wife.

Bonus disc. Everyday I write the book : alternate version -- Baby pictures -- Heathen town -- Flirting kind -- Walking on thin ice -- Big sister's clothes/Stand down Margaret : BBC session -- Danger zone : BBC session -- Seconds of pleasure -- Town where time stood still -- World and his wife : solo version -- Shatterproof -- Heathen town : demo -- Flirting kind : demo -- Let them all talk : demo -- King of thieves : demo -- Invisible man : demo -- Element within her : demo -- Love went mad : demo -- Greatest thing : demo -- Mouth almighty : demo -- Charm school : demo -- Possession : live -- Secondary modern : live -- Bells : live -- Watch your step : live -- Back stabbers/King horse : live.
Added Corporate Author:
Format :
Music CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ROCK .C841 P Compact Disc Central Library

On Order



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