My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Original US album omitted “Sunday’s Best” and added (What’s So Funny ‘Bout)…”
Brief Background: Armed Forces is the third album by Elvis Costello and his second with The Attractions. The album was recorded during September and October of 1978 and released in January of 1979. Like his previous albums, this was also produced by Nick Lowe.
What I think: I’ve always enjoyed this album, especially the singles “Oliver’s Army” and “Accidents Will Happen”. I also really love (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding, a song that some Costello fans I know absolutely despise. I haven’t listened to it in almost fifteen years though and now I’m wondering why. Maybe I aged into it a little better? The songs are all Costello, but they are tighter, and more dense while maintaining a pop element. I really like how he is able to do all of that when the lyrics on many of the songs have a political element to them. You can be singing joyfully along to “Oliver’s Army” to only realize it’s about war, murder and contains a stark (but justified) racial slur. In a way, that makes these songs perfect. Most of us will just sing along, but a few of us will look into it deeper to find some context for these songs.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I agree it should be here, I’m glad I was reintroduced to it.
Rating (Out of 5): 4.5/5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (107/454)
Amount that are new to me: 77%