Elvis Costello

Welcome to the Working Week

Composed by Elvis Costello

Song Review by

"Oh, I know it don't thrill you, I hope it don't kill you/Welcome to the working week/You got to do it till you're through it so you'd better get to it" is the apt chorus to the lead-off track of Elvis Costello's debut album, My Aim Is True. Recorded in a mere 24 hours of studio time during sick days and holidays while Costello maintained his day job working as a computer programmer through late 1976 and early 1977, the song served as a spry opener to what would be a critical darling of the music press, considered the strongest debut of the year by Rolling Stone, though the album would enjoy only marginal commercial success.

The song is a compact pop gem, clocking in at a svelte one minute and 22 seconds. The opening verse is played as a kind of soul ballad intro, bass and guitar gently stroking chords as Costello croons over silky "ooh, aah" backing vocals, "Now that your picture's in the paper being rhythmically admired/And you can have anyone that you have ever desired/All you got to tell me now is why, why, why." The band builds into the light rocking tempo of the first chorus, guitar and bass coming down on the lurking rhythm. The second verse voices Costello's contempt for traditional nine-to-five drudgery, the words gushing in a snide rant, "All of your family had to kill to survive/And they're still waitin' for their big day to arrive/But if they knew how I felt they'd bury me alive." After a brief driving bridge section bolstered by lush layered backing vocals the song quickly ends on a shorted half-chorus.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
My Aim Is True 1977 Universal
Singles, Vol. 1 2003 Edsel 1:25
Rock and Roll Music 2007 Hip-O / Universal 1:26
blue highlight denotes editor's pick