Imperial Bedroom is the seventh album by Elvis Costello and his sixth album recorded with The Attractions. Released in 1982, it was the second Costello album, after Almost Blue, not produced by Nick Lowe: production was instead by Geoff Emerick, who was well known for his engineering work with Beatles. "I wanted to try a few things in the studio that I suspected would quickly exhaust Nick's patience," Costello wrote in the liner notes to the 1994 Rykodisc reissue.It was voted the best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll. In 1998 readers of Q magazine named it the 96th greatest album ever. In 1989, it was ranked No. 38 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 80s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 166 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list. It was voted number 321 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000). In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at No. 59 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s". The album reached number 6 in the UK charts and number 30 in the USA but the singles were less successful. "You Little Fool" and "Man Out of Time" each briefly appeared in the UK Singles Chart, but neither charted in the USA.Wikipedia
Is it me or is it the case that anything ever farted by Elvis Costello has made it into this list? So this is a protest vote. Yes, I can see how this music would feel the peak of musicness to many, but I find it boring and repetitive. Especially the fifth time around.
Like a slice of slightly burnt, dry toast. Edible, but not very satisfying. If it was a footballer, it'd be James Tarkowski.
Elvis #2. I've never listened to him before. He's British, so I imagine we will get a handful of his albums before the list is through. It's hard to pin a genre label on this, it's all over the place. I'll say off the bat that I do not like his singing voice, it strikes me as whiny and annoying. The instrumentals were good, but overall quite bland. It doesn't add up to much, aside from a collection of posh, "adult" pop songs. This is certainly not for me. Favorite tracks: And In Every Home, Shabby Doll. Album art: Really digging this one, love the abstract picture, great colors. The text of the title is a little confusing but also creative. A shame the album is nowhere near as interesting or exciting as this cover. 2/5
Costello's voice has always annoyed me, and the songs on this album are all so bland. It's completely unoffensive and mostly biege. Tedious.
Kinda boring, can't remember a single thing about it
Very hard album to get through though it had a couple of decent tracks.
I hate to rate this so low, since Elvis Costello has other records I absolutely adore, but this...was not great. It was dull for me, and for once I found myself annoyed at his vocals. Other than a few tracks, I wouldn't revisit.
Might require a second listen. It’s a really weird, interesting, quirky record. Definitely some Beatles influence. I think you can draw a line from this to some of the chamber pop of the 2010s. I don’t LOVE it but I think it’s pretty fun, pretty solid, I don’t know if I like it better than his earlier records, but it feels very distinctly Elvis Costello
Beautifully crafted but also smug and soulless. Not much fun
Eh, Elvis Costello never really appealed to me. This album is pretty typical of my experience with him -- OK singing, and music that I don't like very much. 2 stars.
Fucking Elvis Costello.
It's fine. None of it's bad. It's good, but not great. It's also all over the place, and it's Declan at his most pretentious period. I'm an unabashed Elvis Costello fan, but dude has SIX albums on the list, and that's probably two too many. Let's bump this one from the list.
Well, I guess it’s true what they say: “all good things come to an end”. I had a run of 15 records over the last two or so weeks, that, even if they weren’t all knock-outs, were all (save one) extremely solid and enjoyable. Everything was going great. I was imbued with a newfound sense of joy each morning while partaking in this list. And who should come along, to bring my hopes and dreams crashing down? Elvis fucking Costello, the bespectacled pied piper of shitty records. If he comes to your town, jam oily rags in your ears to drown out his nerdy siren song. Imperial Bedroom (1982) is his sixth studio album and the 32nd of his that appears on this godforsaken list. I don’t even know how to classify the music on this record, it’s like circus-jazz. Yep, that’s it…Circus-Jazz (TM) and Elvis Costello is the lion tamer: We, the audience, watch him intently, secretly hoping to see him mauled by the lion, but, alas, he tempts fate and survives another day.
Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello and The Attractions (1982) “Ineluctable modality of the visible . . . nebeneinander” “Ineluctable modality of the audible . . . nacheinander” —James Joyce, Ulysses (1922), chapter 3, “Proteus” In plain English, these two quoted snippets mean: (1) The inescapable way in which we perceive objects by seeing is adjacently, side by side (German nebeneinander), linking the visible with space. (2) The inescapable way in which we perceive objects by hearing is sequentially, one after another (German nacheinander), linking the audible with time. Space/visible and Time/audible. (This goes back to Aristotle’s Sense and Sensibilia [Περὶ αἰσθήσεως καὶ αἰσθητῶν] section 7, but let’s not get carried away.) There is great wisdom here, which is essential to our fullest understanding of poetry, and hence, our fullest understanding of Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom. The best poetry incorporates both the spatial and temporal modes of perceiving, by producing mental images and setting them forth in an aural sequence. Yet it is helpful to distinguish (without separating) the two modes as our minds absorb the artistry into our souls. Now, a peculiar (perhaps unique) feature of the album as it was originally released is that the lyrics were printed on the inner sleeve, but the hole in the middle of the sleeve was ‘filled in’ by lyrics printed on the label on Side One (!) of the vinyl disk itself. This means that one could only read the entire lyrics with the LP in the sleeve (and properly rotated), and therefore, not on one’s turntable. Thus, since it was impossible to play the record and read the lyrics at the same time, the perplexed owner was forced to not listen to the music if he/she wanted to fully appreciate the message (Perhaps they got complaints, because later RCA versions of the LP simply printed a normal label and the full lyrics on an inner sleeve without a hole). Now this original packaging design may have seemed to be a quirky and annoyingly meaningless gimmick, but I’m sure it was quite intentional. Read these lyrics before you listen. It will keep you, whether you’re aware of it or not, from confusing the nacheinander and the nebeneinander. And what we find when we let the poetry speak first (I recommend the Genius app) is that Elvis Costello had some pretty strange things to say, and he said them quite well. With very clever wordplay (sometimes bordering on the trite, but always entertaining), superior euphony, vivid word pictures, multivalent allusions, clear cadence, and bold emotional evocations, Costello treats themes of troubled and ended relationships, social isolation, philosophical conundrums, lament for the departed, longing for seriousness, savagery in intimacy, frustration in being misunderstood, inexpressible love, the foolishness of adolescent promiscuity. And I won’t spoil it by connecting particular themes with particular tracks. If you just ‘play’ this album, it will zoom right past you. This is the poverty of MTV, YouTube, and the whole phenomenon of streaming, young folks. You’ll have to work hard to overcome the deficiency. I mean, just take his opening quatrain: “History repeats the old conceits The glib replies, the same defeats Keep your finger on important issues With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues” This is not hopscotch. This is T.S. Eliot territory (well, I exaggerate, but hyperbole can be found in Eliot himself, although he’d deny it). Hundreds of gems like this in only fifteen compositions. Now the music, well, it’s Elvis Costello, produced by Geoff Emerick, known for his previous legendary engineering work for an obscure British combo called The Beatles, and backed by The (superb) Attractions. What’s not to like? As I’ve said elsewhere, in terms of his music, Elvis Costello is fond of the compositional device of ‘bending’ classic rock & roll, jazz, and pop sonic tropes toward the irrational. It’s more sophisticated than mere mockery. It reflects a redemptive abandonment of mid-60s popular culture’s self-inflicted illusion of hopefulness. It’s a musical expression of the reason why a question mark is curvy and an exclamation point is straight. On the minus side, there is sometimes a slight disconnect on the record between the musical and lyrical moods, but, hey, get over it. This album is a rare combination of musical and poetic sense. By distinguishing these elements as Costello undoubtedly originally intended, we can absorb the interplay as art. 5/5
This album has been giving me goosebumps since it came out 40 years ago. The Attractions are at the top of their game in mellow, loud, chamber pop and everything else. Elvis’s songs cover relationships as usual with biting sarcasm and wordplay. The opening trio of Beyond Belief, Tears Before Bedtime, and Shabby Doll set a level of brilliance followed up through the whole album
What a fantastic album, no incredible songs but consistently good. Well matched to his voice in particular. Will listen to this again for sure
He’s a good song writer, but I’m kinda sick of hearing his voice
Another Elvis Costello album proving he has too many albums on this list. One was worthy, the rest are mediocre.
p487, 1982. 2 stars I know he's a great wordsmith, but lyrically this is just depressing and bloody miserable to listen to. Very few standout tunes either. And something about Elvis Costello's voice leaves me cold, its either a whine or a sneer or a whiney sneer. Well done but definitely not my thing. Not likely to listen to this again. And will avoid sharp objects, pills and alcohol if I do.
Shut up Elvis
One of my favorite albums.
Great listening to the other Elvis.... quite a popular album when I was in college.....
Wow. Can't believe I didn't know this album.
4.5/5. Prob my fav Costello so far. Quite zany
Amazingly good, Costello doing what he does best
I was an ignorant 1 star wanker about Elvis myself once. Since I’ve hit 40 I’ve learned to embrace his snide, sneering, whinging cynicism. Y’all need to grow up.
"Imperial Bedroom" is the 7th album by Elvis Costello and the 6th album with the Attractions. And what a great album this is! It helps that it has my favorite two Elvis Costello songs ("Beyond Belief" and "Almost Blue"). It was produced by Geoff Emerick not Nick Lowe whom Elvis typically have produce. Elvis said this was his happiest album to date. I don't know; the lyrics are utterly brilliant but I don't know if I'd call them happy. The music is pretty happy though and is definitely a variety of styles. In addition, you can find something musically in almost every song making it worth a listen. The first single released was "You Little Fool" at the insistence of the record company due to its happy music. It is fairly happy music with the piano carrying the chorus and a song about a daughter's cry for attention and romantic misery. Not so happy. The album actually starts with "Beyond Belief" a song which slowly build to a musical climax. Great lyrics and imagery about the cycle of pursuing love....just fantastic. "Man Out of Time" is what Elvis said was the heart of the album and kind of autobiographical about a man disgusted with himself. Great well-balanced music too. "Almost Blue" is a sad piano song about two people growing apart. It needs to be heard in a smokey bar (which don't exist anymore). Pitchfork only ranked this at #155 for albums in the 1980's. There are 154 better albums? Anyway, I have heard a lot of Elvis Costello and this definitely near the top.
10/10 fucking LOVED the diversity it was so fresh and fun the whole time some parts were definitely a little too experimental for some people but I loved every second I’m definitely disappointed by how many people gave this a negative review why you gotta do this banger of an album like that?
Superb album. His best.
"History repeats the old conceits...the quick replies the same repeats", this album is tattooed on my brain..."so teddy bear tender and tragically hip", I love this record. This was his third album after his first early period of signature tunes. Trust was a fine lo fi album, then his country covers the wonderful Almost Blue and then this, and let me say his version of Almost Blue on this album wiped the floor with Chet Baker's sodden sulk. EC had been working up to this record, it is truly about the songs and he'd finally got the Attractions where he wanted them. Kid About It (the chorus vocal lines..."say you wouldn't", Beyond Belief, the epic Man Out of Time, Tears Before Bedtime, the Chris Difford penned and superb Boy With A Problem, this is EC in his lyrical and musical pomp, album that is played with monotonous regularity in our house her indoors also rates it highly. For the post new wave punk EC I'd start here.
I think is this Elvis Costello’s apex in terms of experimentation. The album is dense, highly melodic and dabbles in unusual melodies and chord changes. It seems influenced by the early 20th century American songbook yet it also looks forward to college rock.
Unexpectedly great. I loved how intricate all of the songs were. Lots of different instruments and moving pieces.
This album doesn’t have the instantly recognizable hits of his early albums, but I agree with the critics who say it was his masterpiece. He borrows from a lot of different styles: jazz, country, baroque pop and blends everything together beautifully. You don’t know what’s coming up next but it always seems to fit. The songwriting is outstanding –Shabby Doll, Man out of Time, and Kid About It are my favorites but there really isn’t a weak track on the album. The production and instrumentation are very sophisticated, and his voice, which can be grating at times is breathy and at its best, due to the mixing I would think. It’s a “mature” sound, different than what came before, and better than what he did afterward.
This album is so good. I would give a 10 rating to 5 of the first 6 songs.
Enjoyed more than expected, though took a while to get through. Almost Blue is cracking.
Another classic Elvis Costello record, out of all the ones he made this one would definitely be in my top 3.
Good cooking album!!
Pretty dope album. 'Man Out of Time' is the standout track for me. 4 stars.
I liked this a lot!
I haven't listened to a ton of Elvis Costello. I enjoyed this album, very one note... it might just be the dynamics of a-side vs b-side, but i enjoyed the first 6 songs way more than the rest.
This didn't jump out at me as much as I had hoped, but I do like Elvis and will listen again
Very nice. Hadn't heard most of this before.
Wonderful stuff - love both the lyrics and the melodies. I could definitely sink more listens into this album and hear new discoveries every time... Fave track - "Beyond Belief" - I think I've loved this track for ages and didn't know what it was called or which album it was on, so good to find it!
great album “Shabby Doll” suck, though.
Like a bit of Declan
Genau genommen 3,8 Punkte für eine sehr angenehme und erste echte Entdeckung in diesem Reigen. Besserer Schmelz als Morissey, prächtige Arrangements, überhaupt keine Angst vor Seele auch über die Schmalzgrenze hinaus, zeitlose Produktion, schickes Cover, smarter Titel. Überhaupt: sehr smart das alles. Vorstellbar, dass sogar Bowie in schlechten Momenten neidisch, in guten aber sicher mit viel Wohlwollen auf einen offensichtlichen Schüler geschaut hat. Warum nicht direkt 4? Gute Frage, warum eigentlich nicht? Fragen Sie mich doch in einem halben Jahr nochmal, das geht mir jetzt zu schnell wir kennen uns doch noch gar nicht. Waas, ins Hotel?! Hmmm...oknagut
Love on first sight Spent the night in the Imperial Bedroom with this dorky melancholic who I thought I knew already for ages. Strange chemistry. I hope he calls.
Tolles Ding: Sound, Stimme, Erzählweise. Aber fürs »Slapping in the face« eines Mädchens gibts Abzüge.
Not really my cup of tea, but sounds good!
Solid, inventive, and timeless
Double Elvis day/back to back Elvis’s! They couldn’t be more polar opposite. Costello has a beautiful voice and a wide array of song types. Long honeymoon made me feel like I was walking the cobblestone streets of France. The album cover too, reminded me of French beatniks. Still trying to figure out what the Album cover is representing. If you find time listen to my favorite Costello song “Every Day I Write the Book” He is a breath of fresh air. I feel like Costello was the 80’s John Mayer only hipper .
Energiek en tijdloos.
Onbekend Costello album voor mij, maar erg goed!
Toffe plaat en mooie liedjes! Had me nooit echt in hem verdiept, maar het is zeer de moeite waard.
a lovely variety of instrumentation, kind of unusual singing voice, and some lyrics that make me wistful for... something. An oddly shaped and unique pop album. Kind of reminds me of Bohemian Rhapsody a bit (but I'm a total layman to Queen...)
Mooi, dit album kende ik nog niet!
I'd forgotten how good this album is from front to back. Two songs from the cooking playlist, too. Such a great record.
Meilleure que les autres que j’ai entendue. 4
Fantastic album. Costello's voice never sounded more rich.
I never liked too much of Elvis Costello, but this is another surprise brought to me by this project. I never like it because I never listened to the phase with "The Attractions". This album is the second one of "Elvis Costello & The Attractions" and it's another classical with a lot of references and good songs. It's not so linear and has one or two downsides, but it's definitively a great album!
I've always shied away from Elvis Costello, just wasn't my thing, but this had me squeezing my butt cheeks to the beat.
Why do I want to not like Elvis Costello? Is it because he’s like a Hipster Bruce Springsteen? He’s a good songwriter, he’s got good hooks and good lyrics, interesting delivery, this album is multi-genre. I hear Spoon and King Khan. I’m not sure, I don’t think he’ll ever get a 5 from me, really solid stuff, but something, some pazazz is missing. Maybe it’s intentionally understated? B.
On the first song you shoooowed so much potential Now I'm here hearing ooooonly shabeedah Do I have to tell you whaaaat I need you singing Not an AM station loooonely shabeedah Elvis you wrote this soooooo perfect and loungy I enjoyed every tuuuuuuune in shabeedah A-
Et udemærket album. Lidt langt måske. Flere gode sange og den første halvdel er bedst. Den ligger Et sted mellem 3 og 4 stjerner men jeg giver den 4 på grund af at lytte venligheden
This is clearly a great album… so it’s getting a 4, but something just ain’t clicking with me and Elvs!
Solid album with a mellow sound from start to finish.
i like the album, composed well and decent overall. Its lacking something that stands out however.
i like elvis i think. 4 stars. easy listening even if he is a tool of the patriarchy.
Unmistakably Costello, lovely album (I do like his voice though!) - some great tracks on without any massive hits. Surprised that Shabby Doll is the least listened to track on the album (according to Spotify).
Enjoyed it, no individual track stands out as amazing but the overall whole was great
tears before bedtime - i feel you bruurs
ну пропустим пожалуй, хотя вроде и не плохо
I liked it. Quirky, but a nice sound.
Quite a good album. Elvis Costello always surprises me with his lyrics. 4
first Costello album I've enjoyed
Great album. Great arrangements; instrumentation is varied and brings a lot of different colours to the music. One of a few artists who reinvents himself over time which makes Costello an important figure , arguably the most important, coming out of the eighties. I put a 4 because couldn’t give a 4.5.
Entertaining album, reminds me a lot of Elton John with an Edge due to the piano focus. Definitely a good album though without any big standouts
For some reason, it feels like I keep getting Elvis Costello albums. And while I'm not a fan and still don't get his legacy in the music world, this is the best one generated for me so far and as a whole is pretty enjoyable. Beyond Belief was probably my favourite on here.
This was good.
I saw the entry for this on a different list that included it just for Beyond Belief, which is a pretty ridiculous reason to include an album on an essentials list - if you're including an album for a single, song, you're doing it wrong. Now Beyond Belief IS a damn near perfect pop song, and the standout of the album, but there is more here. I'm not a fan of the song Shabby Doll, but this album is a high point in Costello's career, and the Beatlesque pop polish Geoff Emerick brought is on point throughout. This might be Costello's third best after Blood & Chocolate and When I Was Cruel.
I found this to be an altogether charming album experience, with a few boring moments.
Elvis Costello is one of the best. And this is one of the best of Elvis Costello. This album doesn't have any hits, or numbers that really stick out, but it's quality throughout the album, with superb lyrics and musical arrangements. I personally prefer the more new wavy and straightforward Costello, but this is a class album
I enjoyed but didn't love anything about it. Just all around a very easy and good listen.
While it sounded a bit too close to a billy Joel album, I enjoyed listening to this. Nothing ultra standout but just a nice 50 minutes
I didn't get the option to input a review for Heaven17, but I really dug that album. Never heard of that group before in my life and I'm so confused by so much of what they do, from the album cover to the idea of a fascist groove thang to taking the M out of M-A-D and on and on. But it all added up to a really wonderfully strange experience. "Geisha Boys" and "Let's Make a Bomb" are a great one-two punch on the back half of the album. I do wonder though... if these guys thought Reagan was a fascist, did they even survive the last six years on this planet or did their heads explode? Hope they're okay. Four stars. If nothing else, this list has turned me into an Elvis Costello fan. I wouldn't complain if they press the chill button on having every single one of his records on this list, but I've enjoyed them all. I'd argue this one is maybe five songs too long, but there's some great stuff here. Lots of range, variety and his voice/lyrics are stellar. Loved "Almost Blue."
Never heard this one before and ended up liking every song on it. I can't really put my finger on exactly why, so I'll chalk it up to 'good songwriting' and leave it at that. It's possible that I'm an Elvis Costello fan.
"He`s got a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge"
He's got some pretty out their ideas
very well-crafted album. lots going on here sonically, musically, lyrically...