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Imperial Bedroom (Dig) (Spkg)
Elvis Costello
Imperial Bedroom (Dig) (Spkg)
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1



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All Artists: Elvis Costello
Title: Imperial Bedroom (Dig) (Spkg)
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Hip-O Records
Original Release Date: 5/1/2007
Release Date: 5/1/2007
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: New Wave & Post-Punk, Singer-Songwriters, Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 602517260856, 4988002453832, 766482954148


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Mark O. (bigfig) from SAINT CHARLES, MO
Reviewed on 9/19/2009...

CD Reviews

Elvis shatters the expectations
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 05/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When "Imperial Bedroom" first hit the shelves, critics were falling over themselves with superlatives. Even Columbia's "Artist...Masterpiece?" ad campaign was begging the question. Was this the album that would crack the new wave stereotype that had been hung around Elvis Costello's neck since "My Aim Is True?"
The answer was yes...and no.

Granted, hiring Geoff Emerick to put his Beatle-esque touches made for a handsome, rich sound, more than any other album in EC's discography. The expansiveness paid off right from the album's opener, "Beyond Belief." Toying with his own range and the overlapping vocal parts, Elvis' willingness to experiment rocked the foundations of all the early "punks" of the period. (Think of how closely Joe Jackson's "Night And Day" and The Police's "Synchronicity" followed.) The experiments were also inherent to the arrangements. The high pitched strings that slip out of the album's fade to "Town Cryer" were four cellos overdubbed to sound like an entire string section, as I recall.

Working from the pretext that they could experiment like the Beatles did, each song was tinkered and toyed with till (as you can hear in the comparisons to the bonus disc's demo versions) they barely resembled their original ideas. It made the original album's side one a song suite of near "Sgt. Pepper" proportions, with the standout of "Man Out Of Time" marking the perfect bridge between the Elvis of old and the Elvis of new. His anguished howl that breaks the song open and then ushers it into the heartbreak of "Almost Blue" reset the boundaries of compositions in 1982.

Comparisons to Gershwin and Porter were also being tossed around when "Imperial Bedroom" first came out, one suspects they had more to do with overzealous critics trying to make associations with "serious music" than to the obvious merits of Elvis' songwriting prowess. The debt to Tin Pan Alley ("The Long Honeymoon") is truly there. But the lyrical jabs and jibes are still pure Costello, and a line like "In a private detective overcoat and dirty deadman's shoes" would be perfect for that kind of stage production cross. I'd be hard pressed to imagine Cole Porter working up the anger behind "Shabby Doll."

In short, the dark and introspective "Imperial Bedroom" was a turning point for Elvis, final proof that he was at the crest of the still expanding wave of British writers that had begun emerging in the early 80's. It was likely the best album of 1982 as well."
From The Truth Society to Neurotic Erotica
K. H. Orton | New York, NY USA | 04/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Almost 27 years since its initial release, I find I keep coming back to this album. I must confess, it was the 1st Costello record I bought (we're talking 1985 here) & it made enough of an impact for me to tear through everything that came before it with relish & abandon. In short, it made a fan out of me.

Among Costello devotees there is obviously a healthy, ongoing debate as to which albums deserve "classic" status. By & large, most agree Imperial Bedroom is on that list. The Costello admirers who hoist their fickle disdain on the likes of "Man Out Of Time" are few & far between. The fact that legendary Jazz trumpet great, Chet Baker covered "Almost Blue" to his dying day might also make one think twice as to it's merit.

A lot of ink has been spilled on the "Beatlesque" production, courtesy of Geoff Emerick (The man who twiddled the nobs on a little album called "Sgt. Pepper's"). But one thing that seems to set Bedroom apart from its predecessors is the fact that this is an album Costello pretty much composed on the piano, rather than the guitar. More than anything that preceded it, Cocktail Lounge Cabaret & Rogers & Hart musical stylings take precedence over 1-2-3-4- Rock & Roll. All of which, might just account for any cries of "he's lost his edge".

Yet, regardless of the lavish, chirpy production or the absurd "Gershwin" comparisons Bedroom received, the sentiments of the songs are as dark & jaded as ever. Here domestic unrest meets morning-after malaise. The infectious "insult & flattery" of "Beyond Belief" soon gives way to the eviscerating self-portrait of "Shabby Doll". The best way to sum up might be: all the strings in the world couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Personally, I don't find a single dud among Bedroom's 15 tracks. And while, "Man Out of Time" & "Almost Blue" are usually on any given Greatest Hits compilation, lesser known greats like, "Human Hands" & "Pidgin English" need not be overlooked.

For all its seemingly sophisticated studio trickery, Costello's liner notes reveal it actually took 3 Attractions to play the 1 accordion on "Long Honeymoon"...One to hold it in place, another to work the bellows, while Steve Nieve played the keyboard. So perhaps Punk is not dead after all.

Despite this little footnote, Imperial Bedroom is without a doubt one of Costello's most elegant & concise albums. I suppose a case could also be made for it being one of his most self-obsessed. But for me, he rises above the fray of his own self-conflict in a way we all can relate to.

While a bit of a flop in its day, Columbia advertised the album with one word: "Masterpiece?"(much to Costello's embarrassment).

For this discerning fan, the answer is simple: Yes.