Q, April 1998

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Q magazine
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Armed Forces

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Q

Elvis Costello allowed the pressure to drop, just a touch, for this, his third album - another work as tense as his previous album, This Year's Model, and he might well have exploded. Here the Attractions stretch themselves in new directions and have a ball in the process. The songs are still sung through clenched teeth, and the lyrics are verbal knuckledusters: the squabbling partnership of "Two Little Hitlers" is one of his most indelible images. But Costello's mentors were The Beatles, Burt Bacharach and Abba, and their lessons were not lost on him: the melodies, from "Oliver's Army" to "Chemistry Class," are still bright and hard as diamonds.

Magic moment: Steve Nieve's icepick piano intro (inspired by "Dancing Queen") for "Oliver's Army."

'90s act most likely to record it: Elvis Costello, we wish

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Q, No. 139, April 1998


Armed Forces is ranked 7 in the 50 Best Albums Of The '70s.

Images

1998-04-00 Q cover.jpg
Cover.


The 50 Best Albums Of The '70s


Q

 1. The Clash – London Calling 1979
 2. Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon 1973
 3. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours 1977
 4. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures 1979
 5. Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life 1976
 6. Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells 1973
 7. Elvis Costello – Armed Forces 1979
 8. The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks 1977
 9. Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express 1977
10. Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure 1973
11. David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust 1972
12. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street 1972
13. Led Zeppelin – IV 1971
14. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run 1975
15. Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks 1975
16. Blondie – Parallel Lines 1978
17. John Lennon – Imagine 1971
18. Electric Light Orchestra – Out Of The Blue 1977
19. David Bowie – Hunky Dory 1971
20. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On 1971
21. Neil Young – Harvest 1972
22. Lou Reed – Transformer 1972
23. Joni Mitchell – Blue 1971
24. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti 1972
25. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions 1973
26. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall 1979
27. Richard And Linda Thompson – I Want To See The Bright Lights
28. Iggy Pop – Lust For Life 1977
29. Nick Drake – Bryter Layter 1971
30. David Bowie – Low 1977
31. Pink Floyd – The Wall 1979
32. The Wailers – Catch A Fire 1973
33. The Stranglers – Rattus Norvegicus 1977
34. Funkadelic – One Nation Under A Groove 1978
35. Burning Spear – Marcus Garvey 1975
36. Kate Bush – The Kick Inside 1978
37. Buzzcocks – Love Bites 1978
38. Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell 1978
39. The Clash – The Clash 1977
40. The Jam – Setting Sons 1979
41. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973
42. Simon And Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water 1970
43. Ian Dury – New Boots And Panties 1977
44. Television – Marquee Moon 1977
45. Chic – Risqué 1979
46. Queen – A Night At The Opera 1975
47. Kiss – Alive! 1975
48. Deep Purple – Deep Purple In Rock 1970
49. Talking Heads – Fear Of Music 1979
50. Van Morrison – Moondance 1971

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