Notes: “The Ryko/Demon reissue contains no less than ten bonus tracks, including such Costello essentials as ‘Girls Talk,’ ‘So Young,’ ‘Getting Mighty Crowded,’ ‘Hoover Factory,’ ‘Dr. Luther’s Assistant,’ and ‘Just a Memory,’ written for Dusty Springfield” (Erlewine).
The 2003 Rhino double-disc edition upped the total of songs to a whopping 50, including the album’s original 20, the
aforementioned bonus tracks, and some demos and alternate takes.
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
“Get Happy!! was born as much from sincere love for soul as it was for Elvis Costello’s desire to distance himself from an unfortunate verbal faux pas where he insulted Ray Charles in an attempt to get Stephen Stills’ goat. Either way, it resulted in a 20-song blue-eyed soul tour de force, where Costello doesn’t just want to prove his love, he wants to prove his knowledge. So, he tries everything, starting with Motown and Northern soul, then touching on smooth uptown ballads and gritty Southern soul, even finding common ground between the two by recasting Sam & Dave’s I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down as a careening stomper” (Erlewine).
“What’s remarkable is that this approach dovetails with the pop carnival essayed by Armed Forces, standing as a full-fledged Costello record instead of a genre exercise. As it furiously flits through 20 songs, Costello's cynicisms, rage, humor, and misanthropic sensibility gel remarkably well. Some songs may not quite hit their targets, but that’s part of the album’s charm – it moves so fast that its lesser songs rush by on the way to such full-fledged masterpieces as New Amsterdam, High Fidelity, and Riot Act” (Erlewine).
“Get Happy!! bursts with energy and invention, standing as a testament to how Costello, the pop encyclopedia, can reinvent the past in his own image” (Erlewine).