Allentown Morning Call, February 10, 1979

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Armed Forces

Elvis Costello

Len Righi

Framing Costello's picture on the cover of his debut LP was a grid of tiny letters proclaiming Elvis Is King. My Aim Is True was released in the U.S. just a few months before Presley died upon the throne, and This Year's Model, Costello's second LP, came out a few months after Presley's death. Those two discs vaulted Costello over other pretenders; and Armed Forces should be the crowning achievement of his young career. The album is loaded: Costello's writing is forceful and direct, yet full of intelligent word play. And while the sound he and The Attractions generate is often fuller and grander than in the past, with more reliance on keyboards than guitar, the music is lean and muscular, even if it's a bit thin on melody in spots. While there's a decided political tone to this LP (Costello originally wanted it titled "Emotional Fascism"), Costello's concerns lie mostly with the politics of people's often shabby treatment of one another. For example, in "Accidents Will Happen," Costello admits "It's the words we don't say that scare me;" in "Party Girl" he confesses, "I could give you everything but time... You're not the guilty party, girl;" and in "Green Shirt" he asks, "Who put the fingerprints on my imagination?" Costello caps the LP with producer Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding," which is rendered with all the fire of the Stones' "Street Fighting Man." As a bonus, the LP comes with a 7-inch disc, Live At Hollywood High. It includes a slower, starker "Accidents Will Happen," a more affectionate "Alison," and a lengthier (6:06) "Watching The Detectives." On all levels, Armed Forces is this year's winner.


The Morning Call, February 10, 1979

Len Righi reviews Armed Forces.


1979-02-10 Allentown Morning Call, Weekender page 41 clipping 01.jpg

Page scan.
1979-02-10 Allentown Morning Call, Weekender page 41.jpg


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