H, 1951: A wonderful album. Produced by Nick Lowe, the music is open and inviting pop, catchy and listenable, not as raw and edgy as the music from Costello and the Attractions’ prior two albums. The lyrics are clever and insightful messages from a perpetual observer fascinated by all of the intertwining power structures running throughout the society he finds himself in. Is Costello angry or just amused? Is he making judgments or only observations? Is he an observer or a participant? Is he more interested in cogent commentary or clever lyrics? The album offers no definitive answers to any of these questions, and is probably all the stronger because it cannot be simply reduced to any of these elements, but instead insists on blending all of them together. Great stuff. Costello’s version of Nick Lowe’s song “(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” is the most straightforward, and my favorite, but really all of these thirteen tracks (many under three minutes) are just terrific.