Elvis Costello Kit Rachlis - Essay

Kit Rachlis

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"I'll do anything to confuse the enemy." If Elvis Costello had a business card, those words (from "The Beat") would be on it, the equivalent of Paladin's "Have Gun Will Travel." Costello doesn't go on to tell us who the enemy is because he doesn't have to. He has made it clear from the first that he doesn't trust anyone entirely—the British government, the music industry, his fans, his lovers, least of all himself. These are the armed forces that the title of his new album is referring to. If Costello is not quite as belligerent on Armed Forces as he was on his previous two albums, the title announces that he still sees the world in terms of power. It's this fascination with power—more than his command of...

(The entire section is 514 words.)