Much of Costello's work to this point had been sort of punk/at rock/songwriter material, appealing to a very specific audience, occasionally resulting in something like "Pump it Up" with his band The Attractions. But this was his first solo effort to garner much mainstream attention. This was mostly based off the single "Veronica". This was a song about an aging prostitute, but with an upbeat rhythm and a catchy hook. The song peaked at number nineteen, his best ever chart performance.
The rest of the album isn't quite so radio friendly. "This Town", released as a single but never charting, having something of a hook, and an interesting melody, but lyrics that are a bit too deep for the casual listener to really grasp. "Let Him Dangle" is a statement against the death penalty, more in keeping with the social commentary Costello goes for, a true album track not in the same vein as the popular music of the time. The rest of the album goes along these lines; it's tonally in many places, as scattered as the inspiration as his writing sessions with McCartney took him.
If you are looking for a standard eighties album, this isn't it. There is one song that was a minor hit; the song is far better than it's chart position, but the rest is maybe too atristic for it's own good. The lyrics are great, but the music often eschews melody, and Costello's scratchy voice is best handled in small bits. For Costello fans, you either own this already, or it's the one you avoid because it was too popular. Most listeners will do fine discovering "Veronica" on a song collection.