1979: “Armed Forces”- Elvis Costello And The Attractions


It turns out that not that many albums were released in 1979 that really made an impact on me. I suppose i was too busy concentrating on learning to walk and talk at the time. I would imagine that does tend to take your finger off the pulse of the current music scene.

Here’s me in 1979:


“I don’t think this is a squirrel monkey’s natural habitat. Yeah I’m pretty sure this is a welfare issue. In 35 years I’m going vegan”


I thought “Regatta De Blanc” by The Police would make the cut, but on a recent relisten it appears out that, “Message In A Bottle” and “Walking On The Moon” aside, it’s pretty rubbish!

I admit that “Armed Forces” is the only Elvis Costello album that i actually own. I’m not counting “The Greatest Hits Of Elvis Costello”. That’s something Alan Partridge would do. But anyway, I forgot what a great album it is! “Oliver’s Army” and “Accidents Will Happen” are as good pop singles as anyone could hope to write. Something I like about this album, (which has been talked about pretty much anytime anyone ever mentions it), is the fact that although he’s dishing out some fairly barbed political and personal lyrics, they’re all dressed up in infectious melodic hooks and bouncy arrangements.

I went on YouTube to have a look for a link to post at the end of this entry and it’s unbelievable how much outrage the lyrics to “Oliver’s Army” are still causing 34 years later. It reminds me of a quote from Caitlin Moran that “you should never read the bottom of the Internet”. I tend to agree with this fairly often.

In the USA the album was released with “Sunday’s Best” replaced with “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love And Understanding”. I think this was a good move. If I could get rid of any songs from the album to make it even better it would be “Sunday’s Best”. It doesn’t really seem to fit to me. All the others though, belting.

If you’ve never listened to Elvis Costello, why not give this a spin. His music always said more to me than that other musical Elvis. (*shhhhh*)



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