Song of the Day #877: ‘Human Hands’ – Imperial Bedroom

Those Elvis Costello fans confused and disappointed by his foray into country music with 1981’s Almost Blue didn’t have to wait long for his return to the sort of musical experimentation he started with Trust.

In 1982, he released Imperial Bedroom, his most ambitious and intricate album yet. Produced by Geoff Emerick, who served as the engineer on several Beatles classics, this record was Costello’s Sgt. Pepper’s — packed to the brim with musical flourishes, including a full orchestra on some tracks.

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Song of the Day #3,229: ‘The Beat’ – Elvis Costello

Here’s a nifty little New Wave cut from Elvis Costello’s second album, 1978’s This Year’s Model.

Costello has spent the last two decades or so in elder statesman mode, releasing chamber orchestra and country folk albums, so it’s easy to forget what a scrappy, literate punk rocker he was back in the day.

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Song of the Day #2,712: ‘Tokyo Storm Warning’ – Elvis Costello

bloodandThe Random iTunes Fairy was definitely in an Elvis Costello mood today. The first spin of the dial turned up an alternate version of Imperial Bedroom‘s ‘Kid About It,’ which already had its moment in the Random Weekend spotlight in April of 2013.

My second try landed on ‘Tokyo Storm Warning,’ one of a few epic tracks on 1986’s Blood & Chocolate.

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Song of the Day #2,677: ‘Little Savage (Alternate Version)’ – Elvis Costello

imperialbedroomElvis Costello’s many reissues of his back catalog have unearthed a lot of excellent tracks. Today’s Random iTunes selection is not among them.

This alternate take of Imperial Bedroom‘s ‘Little Savage’ is nearly incoherent, especially vocally, a fact that Costello himself acknowledges in the disc’s liner notes:

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Song of the Day #2,585: ‘How to Be Dumb’ – Elvis Costello

mightylikearoseI don’t return to Elvis Costello’s 1991 album Mighty Like a Rose very often, but when it first came out I was in love with it.

A sticker on the album’s cover promised it was his best, most inventive work since Imperial Bedroom, which was overselling it, but it does have its share of baroque gems.

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