2020 Album Draft- Round 5- Pick 2- Hanspostcard selects- Elvis Costello & The Attractions- Imperial Bedroom
This for me is a sentimental pick. I realized last week that my pick- on August 16, 2020- was the day before the 38th anniversary of the first time I saw The King- Elvis Costello- it remains the favorite concert I’ve ever attended. Three years ago I wrote about that big event in my life- attached below.
Elvis is one of my big four- The Beatles/ Bob Dylan/ EC/ Steve Earle. To select a favorite Elvis album is difficult because he has been very consistent over his career in putting out stellar albums. For example his classic period- the first six studio albums -of which this is #6- I give all of them an A+. So how do you choose a favorite? Actually if I had to- I’d go with Music City Mike’s earlier pick- Armed Forces as my favorite but its close. I will go with my pick of Imperial Bedroom for those reasons I mentioned above.
The first four Elvis albums- My Aim Is True/ This Years Model/ Armed Forces and Get Happy featured an angry Elvis- great albums but with Trust he started to get away from that- and began composing his music on the piano.
Imperial Bedroom was released on July 2, 1982- six weeks before the concert. As with every other EC album to that point- I played it to death. By the time the concert came around I was pumped. I was also looking forward to hearing some of these songs in concert. It’s always great when you see an artist- who has a current album out which is fantastic.
Imperial Bedroom’s sound reminds me of The Beatles- and its not a coincidence because the engineer on The Beatles Abbey Road- Geoff Emerick was the producer of the album. This was the first album of Costello written songs- not produced by Nick Lowe. That going with Elvis writing Beatlesque songs- a perfect match. The fifteen songs range from 2:34- to 5:26 in length. Imperial Bedroom’s songs show a maturing Elvis. There were two singles which didn’t do well in England- but then again like many of the greats Elvis is an album artist-not a singles artist. The album would peak at #6 in the UK and #30 in the U.S. Rolling Stone ranks it at #166 in their 500 Greatest Albums ever list. There were reviews which compared Elvis to George Gershwin- which prompted 85 year old Ira Gershwin to send an assistant out to buy the album for him. Wonder what he thought? There is not a song out of the 15 here that I would give less than 4 stars out of 5. Tomorrow I will be thinking about that concert 38 years ago- and be giving this album a few more spins. I have listened to it so often the past ten days that the songs are constantly playing in my head- when I am not listening.