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iTunes Editors’ Notes

By 1982, Elvis Costello had tried his hand at pub rock, punk rock, new wave, Stax-Volt-influenced soul music, country and even torch ballads. Enlisting Beatles’ engineer Geoff Emerick for the producer’s chair, Costello set out to make an artfully ambitious collection of tunes that drew upon every influence. While his backing group, the Attractions, were a formidable live band and their studio recordings reflected their taut, manic energy, it was now time to expand their influence and reach. Costello’s lyrics are still caustic and often obscure, but Imperial Bedroom is gentler in sound and approach than any of his previous albums. “Beyond Belief” opens things with a hallucinatory production that juxtaposes a muted, time-bomb ticking intro with a carefully layered explosion of backing vocals and psychedelia. “Man Out of Time” reigns as one of Costello’s most ambitious and satisfying recordings, fleshing out what is primarily a one-chord verse with Steve Nieve’s luxurious organ and piano. The pop songs (“The Loved Ones,” “Human Hands,” “You Little Fool”) are most endearing, but it was the gentle nod to Gershwin (“Almost Blue”), the accordion-introduced “The Long Honeymoon” and the orchestration of “Town Cryer” that screamed of a new “sophistication” from this once-viewed punk rocker.

Customer Reviews

Deserves 10 stars

Costello fans have exquisite taste in music. Most of us consider this one of his masterpieces. So many of his records are just OK the first spin or two, and then the possession begins, slowly evolving into obssession, and by the tenth spin, they become more important than breathing & nourishment. This is one of those. Buy the whole album.

This is the Zenith

It does not get any better than this. The writing. The band. A masterpiece

Paradoxical but perfext

Both typical. And ATYPICAL. This paradox is what makes it so &^^$*!ING great! This was (and, to me, still remains) Costello's finest masterpiece among many of his other masterpieces. The melodies - blissfully wafting into to my ears. The lyrics -continually igniting their way through my brain The album- firmly living in my heart.


Born: August 25, 1954 in Paddington, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When Elvis Costello's first record was released in 1977, his bristling cynicism and anger linked him with the punk and new wave explosion. A cursory listen to My Aim Is True proves that the main connection that Costello had with the punks was his unbridled passion; he tore through rock's back pages taking whatever he wanted, as well as borrowing from country, Tin Pan Alley pop, reggae, and many other musical genres. Over his career, that musical eclecticism distinguished his records as much as his...
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