Recorded when Presley was 25, fresh off a two-year military stint and musically fit to burst, Elvis Is Back! might be the King's greatest noncompilation LP: wildly varied material, revelatory singing, impeccable stereo sound. This reissue includes other period singles (check out the crazily operatic 1961 hit "Surrender") and the entire follow-up album, Something for Everybody. Yes, it's the beginning of schmaltzy Elvis; see the spoken-word bathos of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" Yet even there, the hook melodrama is dazzling. And when he rocks the hard-on blues "It Feels So Right," dude sounds like he could convert a nunnery.
From The Archives Issue 1125: March 3, 2011