After the insanely prolific first five years of Elvis Costello’s recording career, eventually something had to give, and it turned out that something was quality control, as he followed up Imperial Bedroom with a pair of relative duds, signified by the titles he gave them.
1983’s Punch The Clock was shrill and full of uninteresting horns, though it gave him his first ever U.S. Top 40 hit with the cloying “Everyday I Write The Book,” and is probably worth me revisiting at some point. And Goodbye Cruel World was just dull.
So Elvis did two things: he took a year off, and he started recording again without The Attractions. The result was the stunning King of America, the first of two records that made 1986 arguably the best year of his career.