The bilious emotions hurtling through Elvis Costello's previous release, This Year's Model, may've taken some attention off of the consistently high level of his songwriting. The less sonically brutal Armed Forces helped change that. The album's slightly retro-futurist keyboard sound still screams "NEW WAVE!" but the stylistic underpinnings of each track show that Costello had a keen interest in pretty much every single pop form of the past. The era-defining songs include "Oliver's Army," "Accidents Will Happen," Party Girl" and "Green Shirt." Costello's third masterwork in a row, this was his only album to enter the American Top 10.