Despite its title, Armed Forces is not so much about the military as about warfare between individuals. Costello's songs explore power and revenge and people who get in over their heads, often without realizing it. Everyone is armed, not with guns, but with schemes. If Elvis lives the way he writes and sings, he should get combat pay just for being alive. Scary, funny and brilliant, Armed Forces is probably the best of the so-called New Wave records to date.