Just kidding. Elvis Costello is retiring the song Oliver’s Army from his setlist and he’s asking radio stations to stop playing it. It uses the N word. It’s his song, and I have no issue with him retiring it.
I hope he doesn’t pull it from the streaming services, because it will screw up the album sequence on Armed Forces – I’ve listened to the album so many times that I know the sequence.
That song is kinda racist for other lyrics as well. You can find the lyrics anywhere, so I’m not going to post any here. If he does pull it from the streaming services, I’ll just have to listen to that album from the mp3s that I ripped years ago and are already on my phone.
Something I didn’t know: That song was the highest charting song of his career???
How it that possible? I would have thought Alison, Watching the Detectives, What’s So Funny (bout Peace Love and Understanding), Pump it Up, Radio Radio, Every Day I Write the Book, and Veronica did better, at least.
In the US, he charted 3 times, with Veronica being highest at #19. Everyday I Write The Book (the only thing of his I can remember seeing on MTV) hit #36. I’m surprised to see Pump It Up didn’t chart - that’s probably the song I heard most on the radio.
I don’t think I ever heard it on the radio - even KROQ which played all the punk/new wave/alternative stuff - but I had the cassette (oy, am I old) and it was / is one if my favorites.
It’s his decision to make but it disappoints me. The song is about pointing out the injustice of colonization and the degradation of minorities by The Empire. Not really related to U.S. race relations, and “nigger” in this sense is referring to those downtrodden minorities. It’s a song of protest and disdain; he is in no way expressing racist sentiments. At least that’s how I’ve always interpreted it.
Context is the key; or are there people whose ears will literally go up in flames at the sound of a racial slur?
Given that E.C. successfully made major alterations to the lyrics of “Less Than Zero” to make it more pertinent to American audiences by referencing the JFK assassination, I find it odd that he doesn’t simply re-write that one small rhyme and keep the rest of the song.