Acclaimed Albums – Elvis Is Back! by Elvis Presley

Like I mentioned with the switch over to the Top 1000 list, there are a number of older albums that I listened to as part of a previous blog. This was back in 2009 … and I think my views on music have changed somewhat. Or maybe not, but hey it’s good to keep crossing these off so for these three weeks will be playing a game of catch-up.

List item: Listen to the 1000 Most Acclaimed Albums
Progress: 299/1000
Title: Elvis Is Back!
Artist: Elvis Presley
Year: 1960

The phrase ‘comeback’ is thrown around rather liberally nowadays. If you have been touring for 2 years and then release an album a year after you are done it’s labelled as some great comeback. For me the casing point is I’m Not Dead by Pink who took great offence to having her fourth album being called a comeback as in her opinion she had never really been away.

So when I label Elvis Is Back! as a true comeback album consider that this was his first album since he finished his military service. I mean OK I am not sure if he really had much to do much apart from be garrisoned at some army station in Germany but he wasn’t touring or recording any new material while he was away so this really was time off for him. Also this ‘respite’ from his musical career marked the death of Elvis’s mother which was really the catalyst for his spiralling into sex, drugs and obesity.

So how does Elvis Is Back! measure up as a comeback album? Well he’s back there is no denying that. Apart from that the majority of this offering is the same stuff he had been recording back in the mid fifties. You would feel that when attempting to break your way to the top the charts after a long break the tactic would be to release something more revolutionary instead of more of the same shtick.

Instead you get him crooning along to songs like ‘The Thrill of Your Love’ which just leaves me cold and the sickly ‘Soldier Boy’ that frankly leaves me with a slight uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Not butterflies, the bad sort of uneasy feeling. The shame is that, like his eponymous debut, Elvis Is Back! starts with a bang and I was feeling very hopeful that this would be a swinging good fun time album as promised by the titles exclamation mark.

Make Me Know It is a toe-tapping winner of a song with so much promise that you can not wait for the next track. Next comes a cover of ‘Fever’ that is so deliciously sultry that I actually believed that I had the first 10 on my hands. Third comes ‘The Girl of My Best Friend’, ok a slight decrease in quality but after the opening two tracks is forgivable. But still, two knock-out tracks in a row. Fantastic! Then what does he do!? Croon after croon after croon. And this is how the album progresses apart from ‘Such A Night’ and ‘Girl Next Door Went A Walking’ where the bopping of the shoulders returns once more.

Maybe I was expecting too much but in the end this album is probably on-par with his debut. However, the wasting of ‘Fever’ and ‘Make Me Know’ It just made me plain angry. It is also true that there was a slight improvement in the latter half of the album. However, too high a proportion of the tracks in my eyes are so insufferable that as ratings go you have a perfect balance of the sublime and the ridiculous to give a middling rating. Sorry Elvis, I’ll see you again in Memphis.

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