But I digress, though Costello doesn't. “I don't wanna be a lover, I just wanna be your victim,” he says in “The Beat,” and there’s many insecurities, mixed emotions, crossed signals and interpersonal bluffing and feinting going on in this album to ensure that Model's thematic concern remains largely focused on the hell of other people, relationships that pass in the night or true love gone bad. There’s an awful lot of done-wrong Costello, then, bloodied but unbowed, neither deviating nor dissuaded, who gets right to the matter at hand on the first track of the album, staying the main course where revenge is still a dish best served cold: “I don't wanna kiss you. I don't wanna touch / I don't wanna see you 'cause I don't miss you that much.” “No Action,” indeed, but perhaps he protests too much.
Just in case such a romantic magic of the moment dissipates over the course of the first side — which includes “This Year’s Girl's” berating of a man with “fancy manners” and “English grammar” because “you don't really give a damn about this year's girl — Costello is on the ball at the start of side two (that would be “Hand In Hand” for those of you following along on CD) with a little bit of a reminder that “you can’t show me any kind of hell that I don’t know already,” and moreover: “don't ask me to apologise, I won't ask you to forgive me / If I'm gonna go down, you're gonna come with me.”
Not exactly a passport to paradise. But in Costello‘s conception of heaven, “everyone in paradise carries a gun,” as conveyed in a song in which he also declares “I don't like those other guys looking at your curves / I don't like you walking 'round with physical jerks” (“Living In Paradise”). But Model is more than an opportunity to “Listen to the propaganda, listen to the latest slander” ("Pump It Up”); or a chance to bite the hand that feeds while the “Radio, Radio” is “in the hands of such a lot of fools tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel”; or an occasion to hurl a side-swipe censure that “You're easily led, but you're much too scared to follow” (“You Belong To Me”).