University of Detroit Varsity News, March 16, 1979

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Everybody loves Elvis Costello:
Armed Forces hits it big in U.S.

Walt Turowski

In these troubled times, almost everyone is singing the praises of Elvis, but unlike the swiveled hipster of the past, this Elvis is Costello. Elvis Costello has probably received most publicity of all artists in his genre be it seen as "punk," "new wave" or Ishmael. But unlike the others with which he is lumped with, Costello has more in common with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen than with the Clash and the Ramones.

Costello has the potential of becoming as big as Fleetwood Mac and his new album Armed Forces is rapidly showing his commercial viability. The album is one of the fastest rising on the current charts and two tracks off the album "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Accidents Will Happen" are number 20 and 19 respectively on the North American Radio Top Twenty Countdown on AM radio.

My Aim is True, his first album, was released barely over a year and a half ago to great critical acclaim. It was quickly followed by This Year's Model in early 1978, again to praise and acclaim.

And then comes Armed Forces, nee "Emotional Fascism." Now the fun started: Critics called everything from "very bad" to "a rock masterpiece," and all the while America is buying Costello and listening to him on the radio.

The album itself is without a clever work full of witticisms and musical wonderfulness. In terms of style, Armed Forces is an attempt to balance the lyricism of My Aim is True with the intensity of This Year's Model. As such, it is successful. Armed Forces features some of Costello's best songs "Oliver's Army," "Goon Squad," and "Two Little Hiders."

Unfortunately, Nick "The Jesus of Cool" Lowe's production lacks the lean, sparse sound of the previous albums by Costello which Lowe also had produced. That along with the much slower tempos on Armed Forces make the album commercially acceptable.

But luckily for us, Costello still sounds the same in concert and he will appear at Masonic tonight.


The Varsity News, March 16, 1979

Walt Turowski reviews Armed Forces.


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1979-03-16 University of Detroit Varsity News page 05.jpg
Page scan.


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