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Studio album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Released January 1981
Recorded October-November 1980
Genre New Wave
Length 41:09
Label F-Beat (UK)
Columbia (US)
Demon/Rykodisc (April 29, 1994 Reissue)
Rhino (September 9, 2003 Reissue)
Hip-O (May 1, 2007 Reissue)
Producer Nick Lowe, Roger Bechirian
Professional reviews
Elvis Costello and the Attractions chronology
Ten Bloody Marys & Ten How's Your Fathers
Almost Blue

Trust (1981) is an album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It is his fifth album, his fourth with the Attractions. It was also his fifth consecutive album produced by Nick Lowe, who handled production on all songs except "Big Sister's Clothes" (which the liner notes make clear by stating that Lowe was "not responsible" for it).



Costello's original intent with Trust was to cross the melody of Armed Forces with the rhythm of Get Happy!! The songs on the album dealt with a general sense of disenchantment he felt during the time, with the recent election of the Conservative government as well as tensions within his first marriage, which gave them an overall cynical tone.[1] As a result, the general lyrical content of the songs describe a world that is essentially the opposite of what the album title implies.

The initial recording sessions were held at DJM, but they were displeased with the results. It did not help that the bandmates were almost constantly under the influence of mood-altering drugs.[1] As Costello wrote in the liner notes of the Rhino reissue:

This was easily the most drug-influenced record of my career... It was completed close to a self-induced nervous collapse on a diet of rough 'scrumpy' cider, gin and tonic, various powders... and, in the final hours, Seconal and Johnnie Walker Black Label.[1]

Recording resumed at Eden Studios, where previous albums had been done. Although the band was no more sober, the resulting tracks were more to Costello's liking. Despite having previously expressed a desire to distance himself from the pop music mainstream, Costello revealed that a number of songs on the album were influenced by other contemporary artists. Specifically, "Clubland" incorporated the guitar style of The Police, "You'll Never Be A Man" borrowed from The Pretenders, "White Knuckles" was modelled on XTC records, and "Fish 'n' Chip Paper" was a homage to Squeeze. Lastly, "Big Sister's Clothes" had a bass line based on work by The Clash.[1]

Commercially, none of the singles on Trust entered the charts: the first time this had happened since My Aim Is True, his debut album.

LP track listing

All songs written by Elvis Costello except as indicated.


Side one

  1. "Clubland" – 3:42
  2. "Lovers Walk" – 2:17
  3. "You'll Never Be a Man" – 2:56
  4. "Pretty Words" – 3:11
  5. "Strict Time" – 2:40
  6. "Luxembourg" – 2:26
  7. "Watch Your Step" – 2:57

Side two

  1. "New Lace Sleeves" – 3:45
  2. "From a Whisper to a Scream" – 2:54
  3. "Different Finger" – 1:58
  4. "White Knuckles" – 3:47
  5. "Shot with His Own Gun" – 3:30
  6. "Fish 'n' Chip Paper" – 2:55
  7. "Big Sister's Clothes" – 2:11

CD reissue bonus tracks (1994 Rykodisc)

  1. "Black Sails in the Sunset" – 2:56
  2. "Big Sister" – 2:11
  3. "Sad About Girls" (Steve Nieve, Fay Hart) – 2:48
  4. "Twenty-Five to Twelve" – 3:52
  5. "Love for Sale" (Cole Porter) – 3:02
  6. "Weeper's Dream" – 1:05
  7. "Gloomy Sunday" (Sam M. Lewis, Rezső Seress) – 3:13
  8. "Boy with a Problem" (solo demo version) (Costello, Chris Difford) – 2:31
  9. "Seconds of Pleasure" (Version 1 of 'Invisible Man') – 3:18

Bonus disc (2003 Rhino)

  1. "Black Sails in the Sunset" – 2:56
  2. "Big Sister" – 2:11
  3. "Twenty-Five to Twelve" – 3:52
  4. "Sad About Girls" (Brain/Hart) – 2:48
  5. "From a Whisper to a Scream" (Alternate version) – 3:27
  6. "Watch Your Step" (Alternate version) – 2:47
  7. "Clubland" (Alternate take) – 4:03
  8. "You'll Never be a Man" (Alternate take) – 3:10
  9. "Slow Down" (Larry Williams) – 2:24
  10. "Big Sister" (Alternate version) – 5:07
  11. "Black Sails in the Sunset" (Alternate version) – 3:08
  12. "Hoover Factory" (Alternate version) – 1:47
  13. "Love for Sale" (Porter) – 3:02
  14. "Boy with a Problem" (Single version) (Costello, Difford) – 2:31
  15. "Weeper's Dream" – 1:05
  16. "Gloomy Sunday" (Lewis, Seress) – 3:13
  17. "The Long Honeymoon" (Instrumental piano demo) – 1:41

Note: The Rykodisc version has the original tracks and bonus tracks on one CD. The Rhino version has two CDs with the original tracks on the first CD.


Additional personnel



Year Chart Position
1981 Billboard Pop Albums 28
Year Song Chart Position
1981 "From a Whisper to a Scream" Billboard Mainstream Rock 46


  1. ^ a b c d (2003) Album notes for Trust by Elvis Costello and the Attractions [Inset]. USA: Rhino Entertainment (R2 73909).


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