ARTIST: Elvis Costello
TITLE: Armed Forces
YEAR RELEASED: 1979
CHART ACTION: #10 US, #2 UK
SINGLES: Oliver’s Army (#2 UK), Accidents Will Happen (#28 UK, #101 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
LINEUP: Elvis Costello, Steve Nieve, Bruce Thomas, Pete Thomas
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Costello records a world-wide hit and continues his songwriting excellence.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This album isn’t as good as This Years Model, but that being said, it’s damn good.
Songs such as “Party Girl”, “Goon Squad” and “Green Shirt” as all excellent, as are the singles and the one everyone knows from MTV. The Attractions are fierce as always and Costello’s material and performance also excellent.
This was the first album to really get traction in the US, and the hooks of songs like “Oliver’s Army” are a big reason. But my favorite is “Party Girl” – I can see a movie being played out in my head when I hear that song.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding” was written by Nick Lowe and originally done by Brinsley Schwarz in 1974. This version was recorded as a B-side to a Lowe single (!) before it took a life of its own. It wasn’t on the UK album but was quickly added to the US version.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, two deluxe editions with B-sides and live cuts.
GRADE: A: Not quite perfection, but still a must have in a library.