Note: the CD I listened to was the 2002 Rhino reissue which includes a 2nd CD containing 23 bonus tracks.
As I've written before, I'm not much of an Elvis Costello fan, but occasionally I'll pick up a Costello release because I sometimes think I should like him. But I always reach the same conclusion: Costello is a great songwriter and usually includes 3 or 4 wonderfully crafted pop songs on each of his albums. So, to me, he's more of a singles artist than an albums artist. Imperial Bedroom is just another in a long list of critically acclaimed, award winning albums that I can't muster much enthusiasm for. Yeah, I'll take a lot of grief for these remarks, but to paraphrase a statement I often hear on the Maury show, "The ear wants what the ear wants."
Admittedly, I didn't listen to this album when it was released, so maybe if I had bought a copy in '82 around the same time I was listening to Sweets From A Stranger and Suburban Voodoo, I'd feel differently because I'd have the usual high school memories attached to it. Kudos to Rhino for great packaging and liner notes.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #30
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #33
Tracks: This album begins with my favorite Costello song, Beyond Belief, which I usually hear 2 or 3 times back-to-back. Also good are Tears Before Bedtime, Man Out Of Time, and Kid About It. I usually skip Shabby Doll and Town Cryer.
Bonus tracks: alternate versions, rehearsals, b-sides, and demos. Other than a fair Smokey Robinson cover (From Head To Toe), there's nothing to see here, move along.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This is one of those albums where the album cover art grabs you long before you know what any of the songs sound like. The mock-Picasso painting was credited to the fictitious Sal Forlenza, but was actually created by graphic designer Barney Bubbles. I don't think it is particularly attractive, but it certainly grabbed my attention and has held it for 30+ years.
Previously revisited for the blog:
Painted From Memory (1998)