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Top 20 Political Songs: Shipbuilding | Robert Wyatt/Elvis Costello | 1982

Complex examination of the futility of war combined with empathy for soldiers in the Falklands confl

"I wasn't being alarmist or trying to be morbid in any way," Elvis Costello would later say of his thought-provoking evocation of war and loss written during the Britain-Argentina Falklands conflict.

"Shipbuilding" examines how the conflict could potentially revive the traditional ship-building areas going into decline in the UK, only for the sons of those areas to potentially be lost in those same ships as the war progresses: initial euphoria at news that they'll be reopening the shipyards will become sadness as the letters notifying the next of kin arrive.

"Is it worth it?" the opening line asks, with workers anticipating the goods they will buy with new wages -- of course, the answer could not be clearer.

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