Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No. 166: Imperial Bedroom

Band: Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Album: Imperial Bedroom
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Lyrically, Costello sits on the edge of smart and pretentious, never really falling into pretentious on "Imperial Bedroom." While there's no real fantastic hit, the record is incredibly clever.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: There's no real fantastic hit because none of the songs are great. Sure, it's clever, but is it interesting? Not really. It's a mostly forgettable record, in my mind.
Best song: "The Long Honeymoon" is a very good song about the boredom of marriage.
Worst song: "Shabby Doll" is kind of annoying.
Is it awesome?: I don't think so.

I know I should love Elvis Costello. I imagine it's because his music is decidedly '80s -- Christ, just look at the cover of this album -- or maybe because Costello's lyrics are nuanced and I might not be smart enough to get it all.

Still, a record like "Imperial Bedroom" just doesn't do it for me. I understand I should like it; I just don't. "The Long Honeymoon" is slow and pretty, but it never really gains a crescendo that would sound satisfying. On the other hand, it's a song about married life and monotony, so maybe that's the purpose?

"Man Out Of Time" has a grandiose production to it (longtime Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick produced this record), but the song just isn't anything spectacular. "The Loved Ones" has the air of a Beatles-type pop record, but it never really goes anywhere interesting. "Little Savage" brings Costello back to his New Wave roots in its intro, but falls into boringness 15 seconds in.

It's pleasant but it's background music to me. I imagine it's going over my head or something.

1 comment:

fft said...

I am with you on this. My Aim is True is one of my favorites period but Imperial Bedroom doesn't come close in my book. Its hard to see this album as high up as it is.