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Armed Forces

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

1979

Armed Forces

Album Summary

Armed Forces is the third studio album by English singer-songwriter Elvis Costello, released on 5 January 1979 in the United Kingdom through Radar Records. It was his second album with the Attractions–bassist Bruce Thomas, drummer Pete Thomas (no relation) and keyboardist Steve Nieve–and the first to officially credit them on the cover. The album was recorded in six weeks from August to September 1978 at Eden Studios in London under the working title Emotional Fascism. Produced by Nick Lowe and engineered by Roger Béchirian, the sessions saw Costello exert more control over production compared to This Year's Model (1978), while Nieve contributed more to song arrangements. Most of the material for Armed Forces was written on the road throughout 1978. For the album, Costello sought a more commercial sound than the punk rock style employed on his two previous records, resulting in a more pop-oriented production reflecting the new wave era. Musical influences included David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Kraftwerk, the Beatles and ABBA. The overtly political lyrics concern the effect of politics on human relationships. The UK release featured an elaborate fold-out LP packaging, with a cover depicting a herd of elephants, which was simplified for the US release through Columbia Records, which featured an alternate drip-cover. Initial pressings of also included a promotional three-song EP titled Live at Hollywood High. Supported by the successful UK singles "Oliver's Army" and "Accidents Will Happen", Armed Forces reached number two in the UK, becoming Costello's biggest commercial success up to that point. The American version, released in February 1979, omitted "Sunday's Best" and replaced it with Costello's version of Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding". The album received positive reviews from music critics and appeared on several lists of the year's best albums. Costello and the Attractions supported the album on the Armed Funk tour in America, which was plagued with issues, including an incident with Stephen Stills that nearly destroyed Costello's reputation in the country. In later decades, Armed Forces has continued to receive positive reviews, with many highlighting the production. Others noted that it contained musical styles Costello would utilise for later records. It is considered one of Costello's best works and has appeared on various best-of lists. The album has been reissued multiple times, including in 2020 as a super deluxe edition, which was positively received.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.17

Votes

4095

Genres

  • Rock
  • New Wave
  • Pop
Reviews
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3

Good album, unexpected slur

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2

Elvis Costello is highly overrated. This album is no exception. Literally. There is not a single exceptional track on this album. The mixing and production isn't even very good on this album. It's all mids and compressed to hell so everthing sounds flat.

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5

I don’t need to listen to this. I could sing it to you I’ve played it so many times. A favourite album by a favourite performer. The lyrics and the ever changing arrangements, his voice gets richer with age.

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5

Elvis Costello was huge for me and my friends in college. Got a taste for his music in high school from my stepdad. Especially the 77-80 albums. Some of the most brilliant lyrics. So intelligent yet they still have have real emotional punch.

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5

I love this album. So smart, so melodic, such great production. The songs are varied, each with its own identity, great playing, whip-smart lyrics, great melodies, inventive and tight playing. Beatle-esque in places, this album was great leap forward, and showed much more of the breadth of what E.C. could achieve. I could listen to this album over and over without getting bored. The singles are classics.

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5

The angry nerd returns, spitting lyrics as sharp as the twanging chords on his guitar. He originally wanted to call this album 'Emotional Fascism". If that doesn't let you know the theme of this album then nothing will. Best Tracks: Accident Will Happen; Oliver's Army; Green Shirt

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4

I really enjoyed this album. Funnily, I had never listened to an Elvis Costello album despite loving all of the singles. The sound is really lush and well produced. I enjoyed it, although the singles are definitely the most singalongable of all the tracks on the album. I do enjoy Elvis's lyrics too. He is very witty.

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2

I've given Elvis Costello's music so many chances with selections from across the decades, and no matter what I listen to I find his singing and songwriting to be absolutely insufferable.

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5

Besides the weirdness of a time where progressive dudes thought they could throw around the n-word, this is a back to back classic.

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5

The middle album of what I like to think of EC's Big 3. Great song after great song. The run from Senior Services through Goon Squad is absolute song writing gold. It bogs down slightly after that with the next three songs which aren't quite as strong, but we finish with a bang with Chemistry Class, Two Little Hitlers and the Nick Lowe penned; Peace Love and Understanding (though that last one is not included on my British pressing). A great album easily worthy of a 5 star rating.

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5

This is a work of genius. Pastiche meets pop. I’ve forgotten how brilliant the lyrics are. How dense each song is. How distinctively Elvis Costello’s voice is in each song. Puns and deft rhymes. Rhythms pushing each track forward. One of the greats.

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4

Enjoyed it a lot more overall than I thought I would when I first put it on. His voice isn’t the best, but he wrote some meat songs that lyrically were surprising densely packed. Favorite Track(s): “Senior Service,” “Party Girl,” and “Two Little Hitlers

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4

Fortuitously enough for me, Elvis Costello’s third album appeared in sequential order, having already heard My Aim Is True and This Year’s Model. Fortuitous, because it gave me a chance to really hear his songwriting and musicality develop. The angry spiky first album, gave way to a more fleshed out sound with The Attractions on the second; and this, Armed Forces, builds on everything with a more soulful sound. I also love the depth of songwriting, clever word play and range of subjects (not just aggressive, brooding internal monologues on unobtainable women). This could be his best album yet. It’s terrific.

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3

On This Year's Model his paranoia was a dazzle of primarily romantic barbs and hexes, deliberately flirting with nastiness, which makes this Zevonian fixation on geopolitics a refreshing change. He's a phrase maker above all, so it's longer on rhetoric than ideas, but that's fine with me when his word slinging is this good - "a breath you took too late... a death that's worse than fate", "it's no laughing party / when you've been on the murder mile", "you tease and you flirt / and you shine all the buttons on your green shirt", "somewhere in the Quisling Clinic / there's a shorthand typist taking seconds over minutes", "two little Hitlers will fight out until one little Hitler does the other one's will" - and his rhythmic smarts this sharp. And then amidst all the political wordplay, "He wants as no one can / he wants to know the names of / all those he's better than" comes across like an accidental nugget of self-knowledge. Bet that describes Elvis to a T.

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3

Yet another Elvia Costello album. Find him incredibly beige!

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5

One of my fav Costello albums and maybe my fav with the Attractions.

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5

I liked this pretty well actually.

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5

These guys rock, Oliver's Army is one the all time best.

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5

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5

On some days this is my favorite Elvis Costello album.

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5

Just need to say that this album sounds so clean.

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5

Great album, classic

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5

Bongo

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5

You can’t go wrong with early Elvis.

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5

I liked it - upbeat but not over the top, some cool inatrumentals

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5

The middle album of what I like to think of EC's Big 3. Great song after great song. The run from Senior Services through Goon Squad is absolute song writing gold. It bogs down slightly after that with the next three songs which aren't quite as strong, but we finish with a bang with Chemistry Class, Two Little Hitlers and the Nick Lowe penned; Peace Love and Understanding (though that last one is not included on my British pressing). A great album easily worthy of a 5 star rating.

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5

¡Qué agradable sujeto! Ya habíamos hablado de lo agradable que puede ser la música de Elvis Costello, y sin embargo, creo que este disco es todavía mejor y hasta lo agrego a mi biblioteca. Creo que mi único y muy pequeño pero, es que su voz no es mi favorita. No como que sea desafinado, sino que el siento que sus canciones podrían sonar aún mejor con otro timbre.

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5

Creo que nunca le había puesto atención a algo de Elvis Costello y vaya que me gustó. Siempre me ha causado un poco de problema cuando cantan letras que no riman y se hacen cuadrar con la música un poco a fuerza y aunque esto sucede en varias de las canciones, las letras son muy buenas y puedo hacer caso omiso de esto. Las mayoría de las melodías son pegajosas con letras que dicen más que lo que está escrito. Sí me dejó un poco de arrepentimiento no haberle pegado antes a Elvis Costello. Songs: Senior Service, Sunday's Best, Two Little Hitlers, (What's so Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding

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5

I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, you’d know what a drag it is to see you. You’re an idiot, babe, it’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe. You say you’re lookin’ for someone… to close his eyes for you, someone to close his heart, someone who will die for you and more- but it ain’t me babe. ‘Mr Narrator, this is Bob Dylan to me. My story could be his songs. I’m his soldier child.’ So writes the late D. Boon- guitarist, singer/songwriter of The Minutemen- on ‘History Lesson-Part II. Surely, Elvis Costello is Dylan’s other soldier child. He possesses every characteristic that makes Dylan Dylan: brutal honesty (including self-assessment), civil/cultural/political/martial/ecclesiastical awareness/astuteness, humor; and, let’s not forget, a supportive backing band as good as any Dylan ever led (and he led some great ones.) Elvis and The Attractions are categorized as new wave, but that’s like labeling Dylan folk rock. Sure, sometimes. But artists like these (Neil Young, as another example) just don’t fit and remain in one place very long. Too melodic for punk, too deep for new wave, too modern for classic rock- look, I don’t care what you call it, 'Armed Forces' is just a great LP every which way you experience it. It might even sound good played backwards, or repeatedly beaten with a plunger. I bet your bangers and mash would even taste better if you ate ‘em off this LP! I sat on this CD once in my bare ass and then wrote three good songs. ‘For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise,’ the early Christian evangelist Paul sarcastically wrote to one of his congregations. Elvis, though, like Dylan before him, really IS wise, IS speaking wisdom. And most certainly IS NOT suffering gladly fools or fascists, fortunate fledglings or feckless forbears. Elvis may have been willing to give his ‘Party Girl’ ‘anything but time,’ but as a lifelong fan (upon hearing his debut LP in college) I’m ‘pledging my time, to you (Elvis), hoping you’ll come through too.’ And you always do.

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5

Great tunes.

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5

Great Album. Genuine Classic

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5

Paul says: I just don't know where to begin. One of my favourite Elvis albums, with three of my favourite Elvis songs: Accidents Will Happen and What's so Funny (yeah, I know it's a Nick Lowe tune, but like Jeff Buckley singing Hallelujah, it's become the definitive version) and Oliver's Army. Steve Nieve became his George Martin and made Elvis's songs into post-punk treasures.

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5

wonderful

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5

Oh, I just don't know where to begin Love doesn't wait forever It's now or never But she keeps 'em hangin' on The silly champion She says she can't go home without a chaperone Accidents will happen They only hit and run You used to be a victim now you're not the only one

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5

Anything Elvis Costello did with the Attractions is magic, but Armed Forces is one of their very best. The band's chemistry is rock solid, Nick Lowe's production is rich and nuanced, and Costello's songwriting is witty and incisive in a way most lyricists could only dream of being. The man can turn a phrase like no one else. These songs are incredibly listenable with stellar pop hooks and some beautiful arrangements, but it's not always easy music. It's beyond clever to couch interpersonal and sexual politics in the language of sociopolitical conflict (and vice versa), but it's also the kind of songwriting that leaves some listeners cold. I happen to love it. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Oliver's Army; Two Little Hitlers; (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding; Big Boys; Accidents Will Happen; Goon Squad; Party Girl; Senior Service; Green Shirt; Busy Bodies; Chemistry Class; Sunday's Best; Moods for Moderns

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5

Really good

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5

goon squad banging,

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5

This is a six stars album.

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5

The randomizer did not give me a lot of time between Elvis Costello albums. That's fine with me. "Armed Forces" is the third album from Elvis Costello and his second with The Attractions. It found Elvis moving in a more pop direction relative to his first two which were more punk focused. Produced by Nick Lowe. I would say the music is fairly more complex for pop with great layers of keyboards and an outstanding rhthym section. Influences were and appear to be David Bowie, the Beatles, Beach Boys and 60's pop in general. There's also a dance and funk element. The song themes are politics and relationships. And just some wonderful lyrical interplay between the two in some of the relationship songs. The political theme focuses on the armed forces and bigger companies taking advantage of the underprivileged. The original title was called "Emotional Facism." The title change was probably a good move. The album starts with "Accidents Will Happen," the second single, and a more pop-oriented song with great keyboards and styled after The Left Banke's "Walk Away Renee." Based on a relationship Elvis had with a taxi driver in Tucson. The first single was the politically charged "Oliver's Army" with a piano intro and great drumming. It's about the army taking advantage of disadvantaged young people in Northern Ireland and Oliver is Oliver Cromwell. Some other great politically-themed songs are "Senior Service," "Green Short" and "Goon Squad." "Moods for Moderns" has always been a favorite of mine with again great keyboards and a dance groove. The narrator is defintely bitter towards his ex-girlfriend. A special mention goes to his Nick Lowe cover "What's So Funny (About Peace, Love and Understanding). It was not included on the initial UK release but appeared on the US edition and reissues. A concert highlight in the couple of times I've seen him. This is a fantastic album and one of Elivs' best for sure.

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4

Really good!

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4

Clever (& audible!) lyrics. catchy, well-written songs all round. Some of them (Goonsquad, Peace Love & Understanding) still get indie radio play.

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4

Lots of good songs on there

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4

Pretty good!

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4

rock sympa precurseur

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4

That's how Buzzcocks should have sounded. I will probably listen to it again.

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4

This was really fun. I can't believe I'd never listened before!

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4

Klingt find ich nach ruhigen The Cure

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4

Very, very solid Elvis Costello album. A few more experimental tracks on here, which was fun to hear in his style!

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4

Quite good, I liked it!

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4

There is a certain energy in his performances, and his recognizable voice make it easy for me to say that I like Elvis Costello. I’ve heard a lot of songs from Costello before, but up until now, I think that the only album I’ve listened to is a greatest hits compilation. Hearing this studio album was a pleasant surprise. About 1/4 of the tracks are, “I WILL listen to this song again” (5 stars), 1/4 are “I WOULD listen to this song again” (4 stars) and rest of the album was at least likeable (3 stars). There were familiar tracks that I still like ("Oliver's Army", "Accidents Will Happen", and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" <-- the album I listened to contained this additional track from the US / Canadian release). Interestingly enough, my favorite track was "Green Shirt", which I don't think I've ever heard before. "Busy Bodies" was also a pleasant surprise. My least favorite track was "Sunday's Best". I would listen to this album again as a whole (4 stars).

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4

Not groundbreaking, but upbeat and solidly enjoyable the whole way through.

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4

Pretty good!

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4

Never listened to the whole album before. Liked it.

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4

Very different than what I’m used to listening to, but surprisingly enjoyed most of the tracts. Added Oliver’s Army to my 1001 playlist

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4

Nice album

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4

Insisto: Elvis Costello tiene una gran voz y fluye bien con todo lo que sucede alrededor. Me quedo sobre todo con "Accidents Will Happen", "Senior Service", "Sunday's Best" (canción juguetona) y "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding". 8/10

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4

A gusto, supongo que súper popular en la época. Siento que es el ancestro del britpop (hasta lo culero y a la vez satisfactorio de escuchar a los vocalistas, entre voz de embrios y con un atisbo de que en realidad sí podrían cantar mejor, pero deciden no hacerlo) y predecesor de lo único interesante que pudo ofrecer el britpop: un rock pegajoso, semibailable y exitoso con las juventudes jajajaja :V Favs: Goons Squat.

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4

14 canciones. 3 muy malas, incluyendo la que le da nombre al album. Aún así, es muy bueno. Tiene Big Boys, que es de mis favoritas de este wey.

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4

I cannot get enough of Mr Costello’s voice. It has an elasticity and a fragility, a tenderness and a boisterousness. Here it’s put to good effect rolling with the punkish punches of the attractions. It’s consistently good and consistently danceable. High quality stuff.

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4

I had a joke for this I think but I forgot

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4

enjoyed this album, don't recall having previously heard any of the songs

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4

Elvis Costello is typically hit and miss with me, but this album was mostly hit. Pleasantly surprised. I do like his version of Peace Love and Understanding.

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4

Political and sarcastic songs. Nevertheless, there is also no shortage of danceable tempos in pure teenage style, like Chemistry Class and Green Shirt. This album will remain his masterpiece. (7/10) Favourite tracks: Olivers Army, Two Little Hitlers

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4

Sounds like the basis for Tom Petty's sound. Good album

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4

Another good one from Elvis (he's the king) Costello.

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4

141021 18:03 4

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4

While not as good as his previous album, he is 2 for 2 for good rock music and a great sound. I love Lowe’s timeless production.

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4

Enjoyable music. 0RS

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4

Enjoyable, hip album

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4

Het had niet twee dagen op rij gehoeven, maar ook deze plaat van Elvis C kan ik erg waarderen.

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4

Heerlijk, ik vind deze nog beter dan de vorige maar toch 4 sterren

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4

Yeah prettyvsolid stuff

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4

It was good!

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4

Had a Lenny Kravitz or Prince kinda vibe.

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4

Oliver’s Army was a cracking tune. Others didn’t make such an impression, but maybe they deserve another listen.

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4

Un disco que me agrada bastante, es una muestra muy sólida de por qué Elvic Costello sí es bueno a pesar de sus constantes cambios. Especialmente agradables los sencillos "Oliver's Army" y "Accidents Will Happen". También me encanta (What’s So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding, una canción que algunos fans de Costello sé que desprecian. No había escuchado nada de este disco quizá en quince años y en realidad ha envejecido muy bien. Las canciones son todas de Costello, pero son un poco más brillantes, ajustadas y densas, manteniendo bastante elemento pop. Me gusta cómo es capaz de hacer todo eso cuando la letra de muchas de las canciones tiene un elemento político. Puedes cantar alegremente "Oliver's Army" para darte cuenta de que se trata de una guerra, un asesinato y que contiene insultos raciales. En cierto modo, eso hace que estas canciones sean muy adecuadas al fondo y forma de este tipo de musicos como Costello (o Devo... que no viene al caso pero me recuerda un caso similar). La mayoría simplemente cantarán coros, pero algunos de nosotros lo investigaremos más a fondo para encontrar un contexto para estas canciones.

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4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Hanging tree,

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4

Die einzigen Probleme: die Lieder klingen einander sehr ähnlich und eine bestimmte Textstelle, die auch den meisten anderen hier aufgefallen ist.

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4

Good and solid

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4

4/5. Elvis Costello can make a banger sometimes

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4

I am all about Elvis Costello on this list. Clearly I should have made more of an effort to get to know his catalog before now, but I am lazy and was too busy listening to some other bullshit because that's the life I've chosen. Didn't flip for every song, but overall it's an easy 4 stars from me.

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4

Disliked it at first, but I slept on it and gave it another listen. Now I really like it!

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4

8'5

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4

Very solid Costello album, not quite up there with My Aim is True but still tons of funny lyrics and catchy tunes. 8/10

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4

8/10. Pretty fun, pretty good

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4

7/10 a little disappointed to see that Elvis Costello succumbed to the British musician instinct to make a song that sounds like circus music. Less frantic sounding than his prior two albums but also way less catchy. Lyrics are pretty strong though

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4

Meio sem graça...

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4

I'm surprised how negative the reviews of this album seem to be - it's pretty solid from start to finish, almost every track got me bopping along and there's enough lyrical depth to be worth paying attention without going full Cohen-level poetic nonsense.

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4

Forgot all the great songs on this one.

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4

It was alright.

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4

frekar góð

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4

Three absolute Declan classics (one of which is a cover and apparently not on the UK version of the album) sprinkled around some lesser known tracks that have never done much for me. The title and cover really turn me off for whatever reason. I guess I just don't care for elephants storming towards me. Just a notch below his first two albums.

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4

Great album by one of my favorite artists.

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4

I get the hate for Elvis Costello on this list, but Armed Forces is a tour deForce that definitely belongs and is a must listen. This 1979 near-masterpiece is a sonic balance of punk, post-punk and the oncoming 80s pop sound. Of course Nick Lowe's production does the heavy lifting here. 4/5.

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4

Smude saker. klassiker. Har hørt mye på denne tidligere også. Klar favoritt er olivers army, men det andre er også lyttbart. Egnede Bruksområder: Meget bra som bakgrunn på hytta eller når man arbeider på et kontor.

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4

Don't think I'd heard anything by Elvis Costello before. v enjoyable

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4

Better than expected for not proper Elvis

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4

Putting the Honky in Honky Tonk.

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4

Listened to on 6/26/22 4/5 Favorite song: Oliver’s Army, Green Shirt Elvis Costello continues to be a bop and I liked the military theme of the album

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4

Original and excellent throughout. "Party Girl" and "Accidents Wil Happen" are career highlights but every track has considerable merit.

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4

Yup, pretty captivating pop rock, generally quite a fun listen. Fave track - "Oliver's Army" is an awesome tune, but I think "Accidents Will Happen" beats it to the title!

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4

Classic Elvis Costello. Great album. 4 stars.

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4

One of Costello's greatest albums.

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3

a fun listen but wouldn't miss it if i never heard it again

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3

Fun listen. Love the album art

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3

He sounds like a frog, but fun jams.

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3

Hauska levy. Pitänee joskus kuunnella enemmänkin.

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3

One of those records I heard as a kid that still sends me back. Pretty solid grouping of songs

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3

very light and boppy, band sound is catchy even if lyrics aren't

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3

More upbeat British rock. Elvis Costello's voice kind of annoys me.

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3

Solid

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3

Best wel fijn album, prima prima

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3

he's the Ben Folds of the 70s so I dig it

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3

peace love and understanding! oliver's army! and...honestly, not much else really leapt out at me, which is weird.

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3

Correct, genre de pop rock. Les tounes sont bien produites et la musique est bonne mais on dirait qu’il manque quekque chose. Peut etre pas mon style.

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3

I like a lot of EC's hits, but all of EC's music sounds identical to me. It's good, peppy, 60s style rock with a more modern sound. But it's so generic. I want to like it more than I do. Also, pretty sure Elvis drops the N bomb on one of these songs. That ain't great!

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3

I guess this is a bit of a let down after Elvis' simply brilliant debut album - My aim is true. The songs are pleasant enough but don't have the same bite, so this is only a 3 from me.

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3

I'm not a big fan of post-punk, but this was a good discovery

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3

generic pop rock. probably wouldn't seek out but listened whole thing in 1 sitting

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3

nice songs with a nice range of instruments in the backing but for some reason the voice just didnt sit right with me and not 100% enjoyable

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3

Mr. Costello didn't quite click with me on his last album "This Year's Model", but I've found myself enjoying this one! Pretty straight-forward new-wave pop rock stuff; nothing revolutionary, but still a light and fun listenin- wait, did he just drop the n-word with a hard r in Oliver's Army? Oh my god he did. What the fuck?

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3

I enjoyed this. I like Elvis but never had many of his vinyl. I know there are some tunes of his I like more so will vote in the middle on this one.

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3

Se escucha bien y suena fresco, a pesar de ser hijo de su tiempo, sobresaliendo por encima de todo los arreglos pop que, a mí parecer, le quitan la suciedad al disco que lo hubiera hecho genial. Luminoso y cumplidor pero se queda a las puertas.

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3

I think it's 30 years since I last listened to it. It doesn't really stand the test of time for me.

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3

It was fine. Not crazy about the lyrics.

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3

I liked Elvis Costello in high school and college, and saw him in concert a couple times. Real fun pop with a twist, and he's a solid entertainer. It was nice to revisit and listen to this album again. I don't plan to start listening to his music again--the songs are a little too similar to each other for my taste--but I understand the appeal.

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3

Extra star for Olivers Army, but all a bit meh

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3

To be honest his singing style starts to bug me very quickly. All I can think about is SNL's "The Californians," even though he is English.

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3

Too clever - not half pop pickers. It has been many years since I last listened to this album. Feisty when I bought it; it's Elvis!, but just OK now.

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3

Un disco che non mi ha entusiasmato ma neanche schifato. L'ho trovato un pò monocorde.

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3

Much poppy-er then I was expecting. I feel like I'd need to listen this a dozen times to actually wrap my head around it. I think some context is needed as to why this is a "must listen to" album

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3

Had never listened to Elvis Costello before, but found him to be very listenable. But...not very exciting. Just middle of the road. Moods for Moderns was my favorite though.

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3

Sound was good, not a fan of Costellos voice though

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3

Pros: Anche se a tratti sento quelle sfumature fine anni '70, quest'album potrebbe quasi essere spacciato per uno indie-rock moderno. Tecnicamente suonato molto bene. La produzione originale non è nemmeno niente male. Cons: Faccio fatica ad assorbire le canzoni, come se non mi entrassero in testa. Trovo l'album un po' ripetitivo e ho l'impressione che a volte abbia messo troppa carne al fuoco. E poi, scusa Elvis Costello, a un certo punto la tua voce mi ha scocciato. Conclusione: sono combattuto. Non so se premiare per la lungimiranza, l'evidente duro lavoro e l'intuito indie-rock o penalizzare per il fatto che questi 39 minuti sono sembrati 2 ore. Voto con un 3 di cui non sono sicuro.

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3

xd?

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3

Kind of has a pop rock tone to it with an old school vibe.

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3

Great melodic sensibility on this album. I particularly like the chord changes in the opening track.

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3

One big hit

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3

Might grow on me with time. Needs a few more listens maybe.

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3

Nice enough album, not sure if I like it or not. But it is promising to grow on me.

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3

Yep, songwriting chops are evident. Something about the sound just winds ms up a bit. Not quite the tempo I’m running in today.

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3

Gotta be in a certain mood to enjoy but I was in that mood so…

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3

Anti-disco in the throughs of the disco era. A rocker when the money was going to others. Not the hero we needed. The hero we deserved

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3

Why are there so many Elvis Costello albums on this list? He’s good at best but never great. Some good songs on this one but nothing that blew me away

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3

Heard before. I like EC, but even though this is one of the “biggies”, it doesn’t land as well as some of the others, either the slightly punkier early ones or the more expansive later ones. Still enjoyed it.

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3

Очень нормально

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3

Production-wise very polished. However I really am not into the vocals, which is likely a huge draw for fans of Elvis Costello. I will say it does not sound like 79, it sounds late 90s/early 2000s to me. I can see why people would like it. Kind of reminds me of Prince for some reason. I checked out the music video for Oliver's Army and for some reason watching him makes me like it more, probably cause he has a such a nerdy look that it feels a bit more fun. I could see if I listened to his whole catalog I'd get more into it and go higher, but for now I think 3 is fair.

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3

I don't like some of the things I've heard about Elvis Costello as a person, but this is a good album. 3.5, almost 4, but not quite pulling the trigger on that high of a rating yet.

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3

Fairly indifferent about this one, neither great nor bad, just bang average

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3

It's alright. Not my favorite album but its decent. Dudes supposed to be woke, but throws around the n-word? one of those weird things that show times have changed for the better. Outside of that it's alright.

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3

Het algoritme probeert ons te bekeren tot Elvis Costello. Ik heb een zwak voor het laatste nummer, verder kon ik deze plaat beter hebben dan die van gisteren. Over het algemeen vind ik Elvis Costello prima te hebben maar soms gaat die stem me ineens tegenstaan.

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3

Half geluisterd, best aardig, maar toch niet echt voor mij.

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3

Not a big Elvis Costello fan, but got further in this album than other previous listening attempts. Just can't get past his nasal delivery, and his song writing seems to come more from the head than the soul.

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3

Not my cup of tea. Loved the piano on some of the tracks. Poppy yet niche. A fun album.

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3

eerste is wack, latere zijn beter

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3

Good album didn't love it but was easy to listen to

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3

A rockstar that has lots of songs (that sounds) the same.

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3

The third Elvis Costello album we got and another 3 stars from me. Unlike the other two, Spotify has a remastered version of this one. That helps a lot, considering my main criticism of the other two was horrible production. Most songs on here were decent (and with very good vocals) but unremarkable. Sunday's Best and Moods For Moderns stood out as being annoying, but that's cancelled out by (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding being a five-star song.

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3

Okay

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3

First of all, the album cover is EPIC as all hell. It doesn’t open very epic though as the first song “Accidents Will Happen” is kind of a throwaway. “senior Service” is a bit more danceable and then you get the epic feel finally on track three with “Oliver’s Army”. Fave tracks: “Goon Squad” “Green Shirt” “Oliver’s Army”

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3

Familiar in places and fun, but not one I'll go back to

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3

Pop. No está mal

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3

Elvis Costello is known. His compositions are quite good.

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3

I'm not super familiar with this particular Costello album, I mostly know it as the one with (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding and that song where Costello drops the N bomb. It's pretty good. I would call it mid-tier Costello. A little too smooth to be the top of the barrel for his early work, but it's got some serious highlights.

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3

promises fun! 3. not my favorite e costello, but great, high energy music overall.

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3

Not exactly my cup of tea

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3

nondescript

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3

Did I just hear the n-word?

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3

Too poppy for my taste, but not bad otherwise. 2.5/5

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3

Concept album, mediocre

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3

some classics on there. Glad i listened to this.

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3

3 1/2

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3

I’ve liked Elvis Costello going way back: I don’t think this is his best and forebodes his being another artist who is frustratingly over-represented on this list. His worse tendencies as a writer are on display here: over-written lyrics that fall short as songs per se, resulting in a kind of plodding delivery.

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3

I enjoyed the last couple of tracks?

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3

bit better than the "My Aim is True" for sure. not bad album but I won't relisten it soon; 3-

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3

bättre än elvis costello, men det kanske fortfarande inte är det bästa jag vet.

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3

Meh

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3

I'm cautious with yet another Elvis Costello album, as so far they have all been passably average. This, at least, has Oliver's Army on it, which is above average. It's probably the best of the three(!) Costello albums this far. Still very much Everton rather than Man City though - OA and the Nick Lowe cover at the end are the highlights, and between this, there are good, more piano led cuts which don't drag, even if they don't blow you away.

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3

Armed Forces by Elvis Costello and The Attractions (1979) Elvis Costello’s third album, Armed Forces (1979) is not quite as good as his debut album My Aim Is True (1977) or even close to his next release This Year’s Model (1978), because, in my view, it tries to do too much and still make a broad appeal to mainstream listeners. It’s too pop. The record has been described as “a cross between The Clash and Abba”, which is apt, but I wish he had left both The Clash and Abba out of it (and David Bowie while we’re at it), and just given us Elvis Costello. Lyrics (with the exception of “Oliver’s Army”, which is excellent) don’t have the ‘edge’ of either his earlier albums or his later Imperial Bedroom (1982). His backing band, The Attractions, seems willing to follow Costello wherever he wants to go, and they do it with skill, if not passion. “Hey, guys, as long as we’re getting paid to do pop, let’s do good pop.” But I can’t imagine they were all completely happy about it. It’s no wonder the atmosphere was tense as they toured these tunes in America. And Costello’s use of highly offensive language aimed at the Irish (in “Oliver’s Army”) to drunkenly insult James Brown and Ray Charles didn’t help matters. I won’t go into details. Now the most representative track on the album is the very good song, “Oliver’s Army”, which ponders the internal contradictions and sundry miseries swirling in the minds of young men who find themselves serving in the British armed forces in the late 1970’s (full disclosure: This reviewer spent the mid-1970s in the US armed forces, so that may account for some of the appeal here.) It treats a serious subject in a pop vein, which I think is Costello’s point in this album as a whole. But this song is the only one that does it well. And it does it very well. Without this track, Armed Forces would not rate a 3/5. So the record falls short as pure pop. On some tracks (especially “Accidents Will Happen”), chord progressions and meter are all over the compositional map, even though they are well executed. Hard for kids to follow. Hard for adults to swallow. In short, the album is good (barely), but at the same time it’s perplexing and disappointing. I was hoping for better. 3/5

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3

Good

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3

This is now my 2nd Costello album and it's fine. I don't get why this guy is on the list so much. The music is okay but it never really felt challenging at all. The songs just feel a bit bland and meld together.

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3

3 stars. I just can’t get in to Elvis Costello. I tried. Maybe when I’m older and more wise?

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3

So, yeah racial epitaphs They weren't ok then, still not ok. Makes it difficult to objectively judge the music. Part of the problem is time and place change and I can't know what the context was without Elvis giving an explanation. From a perspective 30 yrs in the future, they seem out of place and unnecessary in the context of the rest of the lyrics.

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3

Few very good songs and a fair bit of average.

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3

Similar to the last Elvis Costello album, it doesn't feel like there's anything particularly unusual going on, just good solid songs. I'm definitely more of a fan of his thanks to the generator. The first and last few songs are really strong (the version of Peace, Love & Understanding being the highlight) but there's some more average stuff in the middle. 3.5

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3

This is Elvis Costello's third album and the backing band is The Attractions. This album's music is more commercial, which results in a pop / new wave sound instead of Costello's past albums of punk rock. This album is considered one of Costello's best, and it received many favorable reviews. The production of every song is superb and Costello's lyrics shine through to bring it all together. This was an awesome album to listen to, because the smart, political lyrics give your mind something to think about while your body is dancing to the beautiful pop music.

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3

Denne Elvisen sin stemme irriterer meg litt, når han tydelig gjør til stemmen sin. Synes det er mye kule sekvenser, men så bytter det kjapt over til at noe annet skjer. Skulle gjerne strippet det ned litt, så melodien og hovedtemaene er tydeligere. Ser for meg at dette blir bedre jo mer man hører på det, hvor man klarer å sortere ut melodien bedre. Favoritter: "Peace, love and understanding", "Green shirt" og "Olivers army" - gladsang med tydelig melodi. Har lyst til å gi den 2.5.

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3

Elvis Costello is just not my thing, but I do think his writing is good.

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3

Upbeat but a bit samey

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3

Enjoyed it more than other Costello albums

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3

Jolly. I really like the album cover (with the title)

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3

Não me pegou muito, legalzinho só.

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3

i like positive songs

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3

This is the 3rd Elvis Costello album coming past on my list, and I'm only 140 albums in. Side A has two highlights: opening song "Accidents Will Happen", with its lovely melody, and Party Girl, a somewhat languid song, different from the rest of the album with some nice piano work. On the B-side, Busy Bodies in particular stood out, with a faded intro, uptempo and this albums characteristic organ; again that fresh new wave atmosphere. And yet, the other songs do much less for me, even after repeated rotations. While at the same time, they do rise above the average, I hear that. I don't really understand why they bore me faster than most of the songs on the other 2 albums I've heard. This album is a great, fresh, up-tempo and razor-sharp produced record, to which I nevertheless and to my surprise can only award 3*

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3

The lyrics were pretty odd and the music itself was meh.

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3

My palate is not sophisticated enough to truly appreciate Elvis Costello's catalog. Is it blue or periwinkle? My Aim is True or This Year's Model? Which are both better than this.

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3

ok kinda middling - may be a grower

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3

Was okay, some lovely parts.

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3

Elvis had one great album in him and he got it out of the way with My Aim is True. After that he got eaten by his giant ego and pretty much everything else he did was pap. It's not that his stuff was terrible, it was just kind of mundane. I always wondered what would happen if you got Elvis's and Van Morrison's egos together - probably some kind of fusion chain reaction that could destroy civilization.

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3

.ok, voice a tad much

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3

Fun

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3

Not bad, just a little dull for me. Not a fan of his voice though which doesn't help

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3

Timeless classic and very enjoyable.

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3

Reminded me of scrubs.

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3

3.5. Really great

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2

n word again !!??

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2

I've heard a bit of this guy but not sure if this album. Wiki describes it as new wave/post punk (ew) but the first song isn't. aaaaand never mind, by the second song it's the same old. The entire album isn't new wave, most of it is just rock really, but it is pretty boring. Went nowhere. 2/5.

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2

2

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2

Nope

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2

Taustahälinää

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2

2.5

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2

Meh.

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2

Wow I hate this! Expected to be a fan but... nope. Whiny and unmemorable,and what's with all the nursery, stalkery, and racist lyrics?

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2

Meh not really into Elvis Costello

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2

Not really for me

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2

Meh

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2

Most Elvis Costello albums are just fine. This is the same. It's not terrible, but man, there is nothing special about it. I feel like a lot of these albums are just chosen because of ONE song, and this album feels like the perfect example of that. No song is really amazing, except for the closer (Peace, Love and Understanding). I also choked on my beer when he dropped the N Bomb.

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2

- annoying voice

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2

Never liked that guitar and piano song writer structure and heard Olivers Army way too much over the years

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2

Didn’t listen.Elvis just isn't for me.

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2

Dropped the N word in one of their songs but also just not very good. Like one up beat cool song

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2

Lots of 'too clever by half' but still brilliant lyrics, ridiculously affected but still pleasing vocal style, perfectly delivered but mostly unsatisfying and echoingly repetitive tunes/themes (big boys/good year for the roses, party girl/alison etc), oh yes and the coda to party girls is unforgivably stolen directly from Abbey Road's: \"1234567, all good children go to heaven...\" so overall I ended up just thinking, \"it's sort of good, but not for me, thanks. It's all a bit samey in a different sort of way. I would have stopped listening after 2 or 3 tracks but I didn't want to miss out on something good, but in the end there wasn't anything - except the singles, and the best song was written by Nick Lowe.

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2

Album Song Ranking: Accidents Will Happen Moods For Moderns Goon Squad Big Boys Party Girl (H.M.) Two Little Hitlers Chemistry Class Busy Bodies Senior Service Green Shirt Sunday's Best (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding Oliver's Army

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2

In conclusione: Me lo sono sentito due volte perchè sto album non lo capisco. Sulla carta sembra fatto bene (tralasciando la produzione e il remaster che lasci a deiderare), gli arrangiamenti so curati, i pezzi so diversi, però dopo due ascolti non m'è rimasto nulla. Costello c'ha il problema di Patton su sto disco di essere na mezza macchietta nel modo in cui canta e rende tutto na mezza pagliacciata e anche se musicalmente sembra ben costruito alla fine te scivola addosso. Peccato, per me è un 2.5.

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2

D'album en album, Elvis Costello nous prouve qu'il est un proche de l'auteur du classement des 1001. Six de ses projets y figurent, contre aucun de Céline Dion ; pas besoin d'en rajouter. Armed Forces aurait certainement mérité trois étoiles, mais j'ai décidé d'en retirer une en raison des propos maladroits qu'il a tenus envers l'introverti Ray Charles. Replaçons les faits dans leur contexte : Nous sommes en 1978, Elvis Costello cartonne sous son surnom de King of Rock and Roll tandis que Ray Charles est depuis plusieurs années paralysé par sa timidité. Un soir où Elvis apparaît un peu éméché, il lance à ses amis la réflexion suivante: "Ray Charles est tellement timide qu'il y a un décalage horaire entre ses deux fesses." Manque de pot pour Costello, Céline Dion se trouve quelques tables plus loin et ne se fera pas prier pour tout répéter à la presse. J'ai beaucoup aimé les éléphants de la pochette.

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2

If only he’d have someone else sing. Just shy of a 3.

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2

Forgettable, did not hold my interest.

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A bit bland tbh, nothing really stood out as particularly memorable and it all just kind of merged into one lump.

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2

It's very average, and I don't see myself listening to it again. It's more enjoyable than This Year's Model, but I really don't care for his voice at all. Highlights: 1, and 3.

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2

De eerste paar nummers hadden me niet meteen mee. Het middenstuk was wel oké, maar naar het einde toe had ik het ook wel wat gehad

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2

Imdb puani 5lik filmlerde calmalik birkac tatlis sarki var ama benim icin bile cok miy miy bir album, 2,5/5

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2

Not as good as My Aim is True so probably wouldn't listen again

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2

middelmådig rock

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2

Never been sure about Elvis Costello. His voice gets on my nerves. This wasn't a bad album and had some good bits but just didn't get me going.

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2

First Listen. I know a couple of the songs. The rest of the album seems solid. 2/5

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This was just not my thing. I didn’t care about any of these songs.

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2

Eh

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2

Du hast Ironie erfunden du wacker Nerd, gib mir dein Pausenbrot

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2

I concluded several albums ago that Costello's success is lost on me. This follows the trend

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2

Can never really warm up to Elvis costello but at the same time can feel some brilliance in rhythms and Melodies pop out of most songs. This album also isn’t the most accessible

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2

Pretty much like any other Elvis Costello that I have listened to. Solid but not amazing. 2.5/5 PS I do like the UK artwork FAR more than the US version.

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2

2.5/5

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2

I can't get past his vocals

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2

Not a fan, boring album. 2

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Where to begin? I have nothing personal against Costello, he seems like a fine guy. His voice can be grating at times, though I did appreciate the variety it provides due to various inflections, etc. I like certain parts of songs, but never the whole song. Just never really clicks with me. Favorite tracks: "Moods for Moderns", "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding"

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2

It was kinda annoying

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Instrumentals were nice, but the lyrics? Choices.

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Only enjoyed the first song because of the vocals. The rest, meh.

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Questão de gosto musical

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Overrated.

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Costello just doesn’t do it for me. 2 is probably harsh, but it’s just not clicking. He sounds like someone I would like, but I just never get there.

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2

Bits of it were admittedly catchy, so I can't completely destroy it. But I really didn't like this. I thought it was corny and soulless and really had nothing about it

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2

I think I'm just not a huge fan of post punk...or Elvis Costello...or this album. It was fine. Maybe a little less than fine, actually. I'd give it a 2.5 if I could, but I'm rounding down because I got really tired of this album's sound.

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2

Not as engaging as we would have liked. Some good songs here and there but his vocal delivery became tedious. Nice bass though. Shannah 1.5/5 Conor 2.5/5 Bill 2/5 (2/5)

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Yikes. Between dropping an n-bomb without warning and making light of comparisons to Hitler, Costello comes off as deeply ignorant in the best of circumstances. Good thing I didn't care much for him in the first place lmao.

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Eeeh de första elvis costello albumet på listan va bättre fr!! Å hans röst va lite störande

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Are you KIDDING me? Elvis Costello has too many albums on this list and it is beginning to border on criminal. The best song was the cover.

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2

Elvis Costello again?!?!? How much more of this do we have to take??? Only song I enjoyed was written by Nick Lowe.

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2

No different than any of the other albums of his on here.1-2 is fine but I feel like we have had 4-5 already

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No me pasa nada con Costello. No es un mal disco, ni de cerca, pero hay algo en su particular versión del rock que no me hace nada. Es curioso, porque a veces suena muy parecido a Springsteen y a él si le creo.

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6/26/22 I hate Elvis Costello. This album is odd and not the mood. The lyrics suck, his voice sucks. I actually did get through all of it which is why I won’t give it a one, but I don’t like it. Favorite song: I don’t like them

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2

Everything is there to make a great album, but yet I still can't manage to get to the point of connecting with the tracks and immersing in the album.

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2

Pretty mid, always thought Elvis Costello was overrated, this album more or less proves it, plus I cannot stand his voice at all.

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2

I don’t find Elvis Costello that impressive. His voice is rather average and the instrumentals isn’t that great pop rock. He has a style that seems to be either you like it or you don’t. There were a couple songs that were enjoyed but I wouldn’t seek them out. 4.6/10

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Was not remotely attracted to this album. But was very unique.

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2

Chip Skylark vibes??

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2

Eugh. The voice of a nasally pedophile. Also I'm pretty sure he ripped the bassline on "Party Girl" from The Beatles' "You Never Give Me Your Money."

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2

A well-crafted pop album, good production, expertly composed, but somehow, the whole thing feels.. toothless. Lyrics are interesting, but need an annotated companion to decipher. Won't be coming back to this one.

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1

meh

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Listening to this scarred me. Of all the voices that got fame...

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1

Some of this album is fine. However, that's speaking strictly about the music in the background, which is alright in its own right. The main grievance is that the singer's voice is unbearable all the time, and it's the main focus in the majority of songs on this album. It sounds like he's trying too hard to sing or that he's plugging his nose. It's out of place most of the time.

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1

I must not understand this album. The lyrics at times feel nonsensical, Elvis Costello's voice is okay at best but it's hard to even understand him sometimes, like he's putting on a slur for show. The tone of the album goes all over the place and doesn't flow at all. Disappointing.

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did not enjoy it a bit. lame from beggining to end

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Not for me. I've never really understood the appeal.

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1

ırkçı abilere tahammül yok

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My god that was a slog, just really annoying. Couldn't wait for it to be done. I've never liked Elvis Costello, mainly the voice. Irritating music.

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1

Don’t like his voice, don’t enjoy his music

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Costello's voice sounds like what would result if you asked an AI to recreate Lenny Kravitz and it produced a soulless, uncanny-valley esque replica but also it kind of sounds squeaky and clown-like? If that wasn't enough there are some boggling songwriting decisions on this one - never mind several of the tracks borrow chord progressions from each other, ending a verse on you crooning 'garbage' or 'barbershop' with way too much vibrato is just odd and a little disconcerting. Never mind the fact Elvis thinks he has an n-word pass...

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This album is unbearable.

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it’s elvis costello, all right

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Kan vara att ja e sjuk o int har sovit ordentligt men dehä lät legit som de sämsta skitet nånsin?????

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1

Meh

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1

I find Elvis Costello's voice to be pretty annoying. Also, the instrumentation and lyrics seem to be pretty bland.

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1

A few observations: (1) I was already thinking about how much I hated this album when Elvis C dropped an N-bomb and made my head snap up from the work I was doing to Google and make sure I heard him right. Unfortunately, I did. (2) The voice is even smarmier than normal. It's so bad. (3) There's lots of wordplay that compares love and war, which is sort of a timeless trope, so fair play, but it gets icky when we compare love and fascism. Stop it. (4) "You've got Chemistry Class / I want a piece of your...mind" might be a clever lyric in someone else's...hands, but not in his (see point 3). This album sucks

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1

I usually finish albums even if I don’t like them. I did not finish this one.

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1

Wow this is an annoying album. His voice is hard to listen to and the instruments compliment how bad it is. I'm not impressed with his lyrics, I don't take them as witty or clever. I'm also pretty surprised he just drops the n-word with a hard R. That definitely woke me up this morning.

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1

Annoying

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Surprised by how modern the album sounds. Sounds like a 90s pop-rock album, but it's from '79. I enjoy the song "Party Girl"

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