Elvis Costello Tony Rayns - Essay

Tony Rayns

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"Armed Forces" consolidates everything that Elvis Costello achieved with The Attractions on Last Year's Model. Some of the songs and arrangements here would have fitted on the last album ["This Year's Model"]; others seem designed to 'stretch' the band and demonstrate its flexibility. There's less gut attack, less overall aggression this time; instead a more relaxed display of energy and precision, of the kind that springs from unusual self-confidence. And the confidence is largely justified. Who else currently makes 12-cut albums without a single duff track?…

But it's still a sideways step. Costello has moved away from the put-down-by-numbers approach of his earlier songwriting towards—what? A...

(The entire section is 711 words.)