Elvis Costello: ‘The Complete Armed Forces’ Deluxe Edition Announced, Out 11/6

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Rock Cellar Magazine

Armed Forces, the 1979 studio album from Elvis Costello, his third overall and second with the Attractions, ranks highly among the iconic singer/songwriter‘s career achievements.

Featuring now-classic singles such as “Accidents Will Happen,” “Green Shirt,” “Oliver’s Army” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding,” it’s one of Costello’s most definitive album, and on Nov. 6 The Complete Armed Forces will be released to honor its legacy.

Side note: This reissue comes as Costello also prepares to release a brand new studio album, Hey Clockface, on Oct. 30 — click here to pre-order that from our Rock Cellar Store.

Officially detailed on Friday, the massive set was personally curated by Elvis Costello and the announcement came with a new three-song live EP from performances in the late 1970s. Stream that below:

More details about the reissue, per a news release:

Leaving no musical stone unturned, no lyric notebook unrifled through and no detail left out, this new super deluxe edition vinyl box set is a thorough excavation of Costello’s vault from this metamorphic period of his early beginnings, painting as complete a picture as possible of the events that led to the making of the album, its creation, and the wild success that followed for him, and his band The Attractions, and ignited his career. Armed Forces is explored across nine pieces of vinyl (3 12-inch LPs, 3 10-inch LPs and 3 7-inch singles), including a new 2020 remaster of the album, B-sides, alternate versions and outtakes, demos, and a slew of live recordings – including 23 unreleased live tracks taken from three especially riotous concerts.

And a bit about the particular context of Armed Forces:

Produced by Nick Lowe, Armed Forces was Elvis Costello’s third album and his second with The Attractions – Steve Nieve (keyboards), Bruce Thomas (bass) and Pete Thomas (drums) – following on from the immense success of their first effort, This Year’s Model. As a result, the songs for the album were written on the road while the band were on a non-stop tour where they were becoming tighter and tighter by the show. Moving away from the punk that inspired the previous record, Armed Forces, as Pitchfork wrote in their nearly perfect review of the album, “is extravagantly layered with dense instrumentation and rich, effusive textures,” adding “the production works to the record’s advantage, filling the songs out with bombastic power-pop arrangements and giving weight to their urgency.” At just 23 years old, the album cemented Costello’s legacy as one of the most gifted and articulate songwriters of his generation. Since it’s release it has only grown in popularity and stature, continually landing on best albums ever lists and finding new fans each year.


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