Difference between revisions of "White Plains Journal News, February 2, 1979"

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{{n}}''give it a chance <br>
 
{{n}}''give it a chance <br>
 
{{n}}''starts like fascination <br>
 
{{n}}''starts like fascination <br>
{{n}}''ends up like a trance <br>
+
{{n}}''ends up like a trance
  
 
To a greater degree than either ''My Aim Is True'' or ''This Year's Model'', the album pulls the listener in conflicting, but equally compelling directions. Neither the lyrics nor the music strike as immediately as Costello's earlier work; the album doesn't rock as hard, but it penetrates deeper. Its perceptions are paranoid, funny and near-genius.
 
To a greater degree than either ''My Aim Is True'' or ''This Year's Model'', the album pulls the listener in conflicting, but equally compelling directions. Neither the lyrics nor the music strike as immediately as Costello's earlier work; the album doesn't rock as hard, but it penetrates deeper. Its perceptions are paranoid, funny and near-genius.
Line 25: Line 25:
 
But while Dylan's songs often threaten to short out from the array of symbols and images they incorporated, Costello's lyrics are more precise. His songs are definitely shorter and seemingly more to the point.
 
But while Dylan's songs often threaten to short out from the array of symbols and images they incorporated, Costello's lyrics are more precise. His songs are definitely shorter and seemingly more to the point.
  
The overtly political "Oliver's Army" sounds like a commercial for recruiting mercenaries. (''"If you're out of luck or out of work we can send you to Johannesburg."'') "Goon Squad," "Senior Service" and "Green Shirt" revolve around military and-or corporate evil. Most of the remaining tunes " describe the mystery dance of male-female relations. "Two Little Hitlers" is a sitcom fusing all of this.
+
The overtly political "Oliver's Army" sounds like a commercial for recruiting mercenaries. (''"If you're out of luck or out of work we can send you to Johannesburg."'') "Goon Squad," "Senior Service" and "Green Shirt" revolve around military and-or corporate evil. Most of the remaining tunes describe the mystery dance of male-female relations. "Two Little Hitlers" is a sitcom fusing all of this.
  
One might reasonably question the humor potential of nazism. ''"She's my soft-touch typewriter and I am the great dictator"'' provides a partial answer. Much of the rest lies in Costello's delivery of lines like ''"are you ready for the final solution?"'' in "Chemistry Class."
+
(One might reasonably question the humor potential of nazism. ''"She's my soft-touch typewriter and I am the great dictator"'' provides a partial answer. Much of the rest lies in Costello's delivery of lines like ''"are you ready for the final solution?"'' in "Chemistry Class.")
  
Such reduction doesn't do justice to the songs, however. They are all these things and more. And less. A series of shared images, including political and high school parties, severed heads and bodies and accidents, all in addition to the lilitary and corporate entities running throughout, the songs explode off into different directions and back upon each other.
+
Such reduction doesn't do justice to the songs, however. They are all these things and more. And less. A series of shared images, including political and high school parties, severed heads and bodies and accidents, all in addition to the military and corporate entities running throughout, the songs explode off into different directions and back upon each other.
  
 
At the same time, Costello continually plays word games within the tunes. Changing choruses. Reviving cliches. Constant puns. (''"I get hit looking for a miss."'') Scrambling the I's and you's. Costello is precise in his ambiguity. He stands amid, but not always behind, his words.
 
At the same time, Costello continually plays word games within the tunes. Changing choruses. Reviving cliches. Constant puns. (''"I get hit looking for a miss."'') Scrambling the I's and you's. Costello is precise in his ambiguity. He stands amid, but not always behind, his words.
  
In the music, Costello's slashing guitar has given way, under the production of Nick Lowe, to various keyboards. They have mobilized straight classical phrases, '60s quotes (the ''Abbey Road ''tag on "Party Girls") and Devo-like riffs into action. Playful melodies often couch the most threatening lyrics, further masking Costello's true aim.
+
In the music, Costello's slashing guitar has given way, under the production of Nick Lowe, to various keyboards. They have mobilized straight classical phrases, '60s quotes (the ''Abbey Road ''tag on "Party Girl") and Devo-like riffs into action. Playful melodies often couch the most threatening lyrics, further masking Costello's true aim.
  
 
Vocals are layered, in probably the most effective use of overdubbing rock has heard. No one would accuse Costello of possessing a "pure" voice, but, again like Dylan, he's a great singer, taking lyrics to places that a more technically proficient voice might disguise.
 
Vocals are layered, in probably the most effective use of overdubbing rock has heard. No one would accuse Costello of possessing a "pure" voice, but, again like Dylan, he's a great singer, taking lyrics to places that a more technically proficient voice might disguise.
  
The direct power clashes that struggled on ''My Aim Is True'' and ''This Year's Model'' have evolved into a more complex pathological warfare on ''Armed Forces''. They are no less brutal for that complexity, however, and fit well within the album's slogan and original titled-emotional fascism.
+
The direct power clashes that struggled on ''My Aim Is True'' and ''This Year's Model'' have evolved into a more complex psychological warfare on ''Armed Forces''. They are no less brutal for that complexity, however, and fit well within the album's slogan and original title — ''Emotional Fascism''.
  
 
Elvis Costello's music possesses power and lucidity, steeped in a healthy mockery of not only the word but himself. It's hard to ignore him.  
 
Elvis Costello's music possesses power and lucidity, steeped in a healthy mockery of not only the word but himself. It's hard to ignore him.  
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{{n}}''and I want my slice <br>
 
{{n}}''and I want my slice <br>
 
{{n}}''but I know you got me <br>
 
{{n}}''but I know you got me <br>
{{n}}''and I'm in a grip-like vise <br>
+
{{n}}''and I'm in a grip-like vise
  
 
Ends up like a trance. Elvis is king.  
 
Ends up like a trance. Elvis is king.  
  
 +
{{cx}}
 +
 +
{{tags}}[[Armed Forces]] {{-}} [[My Aim Is True]] {{-}} [[This Year's Model]] {{-}} [[Bob Dylan]] {{-}} [[Oliver's Army]] {{-}} [[Goon Squad]] {{-}} [[Senior Service]] {{-}} [[Green Shirt]] {{-}} [[Two Little Hitlers]] {{-}} [[Chemistry Class]] {{-}} [[Nick Lowe]] {{-}} [[Party Girl]] {{-}} [[Emotional Fascism]]
 
{{cx}}
 
{{cx}}
  
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{{Bibliography images}}
 
{{Bibliography images}}
  
[[image:1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page F-05.jpg|x120px|border]]
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[[image:1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page 05M clipping 01.jpg|350px]]
[[image:1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page F-14.jpg|x120px|border]]
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<br><small>Clipping.</small>
<br><small>Page scans.</small>
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 +
 
 +
[[image:1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page 14M clipping 01.jpg|350px]]
 +
<br><small>Clipping.</small>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<small>Page scans.</small><br>
 +
[[image:1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page 05M.jpg|x120px|border]]
 +
[[image:1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page 14M.jpg|x120px|border]]
  
 
{{Bibliography notes footer}}
 
{{Bibliography notes footer}}
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==External links==
 
==External links==
 
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Journal_News Wikipedia: The Journal News]
 
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Journal_News Wikipedia: The Journal News]
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https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/163918320/
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{{DEFAULTSORT:White Plains Journal News 1979-02-02}}
 
{{DEFAULTSORT:White Plains Journal News 1979-02-02}}

Latest revision as of 09:59, 16 January 2020

... Bibliography ...
7475761977787980
8182838485868788
8990919293949596
9798990001020304
0506070809101112
1314151617181920


White Plains Journal News

New York publications

Newspapers

University publications

Magazines and alt. weeklies


US publications by state
  • ALAKARAZCA
  • COCTDCDEFL
  • GAHA   IA      ID      IL
  • IN   KSKYLA   MA
  • MDME   MIMNMO
  • MSMTNC  ND  NE
  • NHNJNMNVNY
  • OHOKORPARI
  • SCSDTNTXUT
  • VAVTWAWIWY

-

Armed Forces: Emotional fascism?


Eric Shepard

Elvis Costello's new album, Armed Forces, is a dangerous flirt. Like the draw of a party girl.

Give it just one more try
give it a chance
starts like fascination
ends up like a trance

To a greater degree than either My Aim Is True or This Year's Model, the album pulls the listener in conflicting, but equally compelling directions. Neither the lyrics nor the music strike as immediately as Costello's earlier work; the album doesn't rock as hard, but it penetrates deeper. Its perceptions are paranoid, funny and near-genius.

The songs, shaped as brief puzzles, refer back on each other and fit together around images of nazism, corporate menace and adolescent sex. Starts like fascination.

Armed Forces invites the type of dissection that tempted many listeners of Bob Dylan's mid-sixties work. Both are eminently quotable, often bewildering and always as deadly comic as they are serious. And, with the work of both Costello and Dylan, each listening untangles another line, another pun, another insight.

But while Dylan's songs often threaten to short out from the array of symbols and images they incorporated, Costello's lyrics are more precise. His songs are definitely shorter and seemingly more to the point.

The overtly political "Oliver's Army" sounds like a commercial for recruiting mercenaries. ("If you're out of luck or out of work we can send you to Johannesburg.") "Goon Squad," "Senior Service" and "Green Shirt" revolve around military and-or corporate evil. Most of the remaining tunes describe the mystery dance of male-female relations. "Two Little Hitlers" is a sitcom fusing all of this.

(One might reasonably question the humor potential of nazism. "She's my soft-touch typewriter and I am the great dictator" provides a partial answer. Much of the rest lies in Costello's delivery of lines like "are you ready for the final solution?" in "Chemistry Class.")

Such reduction doesn't do justice to the songs, however. They are all these things and more. And less. A series of shared images, including political and high school parties, severed heads and bodies and accidents, all in addition to the military and corporate entities running throughout, the songs explode off into different directions and back upon each other.

At the same time, Costello continually plays word games within the tunes. Changing choruses. Reviving cliches. Constant puns. ("I get hit looking for a miss.") Scrambling the I's and you's. Costello is precise in his ambiguity. He stands amid, but not always behind, his words.

In the music, Costello's slashing guitar has given way, under the production of Nick Lowe, to various keyboards. They have mobilized straight classical phrases, '60s quotes (the Abbey Road tag on "Party Girl") and Devo-like riffs into action. Playful melodies often couch the most threatening lyrics, further masking Costello's true aim.

Vocals are layered, in probably the most effective use of overdubbing rock has heard. No one would accuse Costello of possessing a "pure" voice, but, again like Dylan, he's a great singer, taking lyrics to places that a more technically proficient voice might disguise.

The direct power clashes that struggled on My Aim Is True and This Year's Model have evolved into a more complex psychological warfare on Armed Forces. They are no less brutal for that complexity, however, and fit well within the album's slogan and original title — Emotional Fascism.

Elvis Costello's music possesses power and lucidity, steeped in a healthy mockery of not only the word but himself. It's hard to ignore him.

I'm a guilty party now
and I want my slice
but I know you got me
and I'm in a grip-like vise

Ends up like a trance. Elvis is king.


Tags: Armed ForcesMy Aim Is TrueThis Year's ModelBob DylanOliver's ArmyGoon SquadSenior ServiceGreen ShirtTwo Little HitlersChemistry ClassNick LoweParty GirlEmotional Fascism

-

The Journal News, Friday, February 2, 1979


Eric Shepard reviews Armed Forces.

Images

1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page 05M clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.


1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page 14M clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.


Page scans.
1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page 05M.jpg 1979-02-02 White Plains Journal News page 14M.jpg

-



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