Today’s song, a sped-up — practically disco — version of ‘Town Cryer,’ the stately closing track of Imperial Bedroom, is definitely worth a listen. The contrast between this song and its official counterpart is hilariously extreme. This is so bad it’s good… or maybe it’s just good.
OK, I understand that truly random groupings will always result in clusters that appear anything but random, but it still seems weird that this series has turned into Elvis Costello Bonus Track Weekends over the past several weeks.
Nothing against Mr. Costello, who is of course one of my very favorite artists, but it’s time to give somebody else a shot! And while all of these bonus tracks are enjoyable enough, they mostly justify the fact that they were left off of his official releases.
Imperial Bedroom – Elvis Costello (1982)
The third Elvis Costello album on this list is the one that blew my mind out in a car, to quote a song from a famous album engineered by Geoff Emerick, who handled production duties on this baroque masterpiece.
Yes, Imperial Bedroom is Elvis Costello’s Sgt. Pepper, bursting with creative energy and utilizing every trick in the studio playbook. It’s an acid trip and a carnival ride and a damn fine collection of songs to boot.
More Elvis Costello?? I’m sure those of you tiring of the Elvis Costello weekends won’t welcome this mid-week appearance by Mr. MacManus. To hell with ya! I can’t list my favorite albums without giving a nod to 1982’s Imperial Bedroom.
But as I’ve written about the album extensively on this blog already, I won’t clutter the tubes with a further exploration of its greatness.
Instead, I’ll let Costello make that argument for me with ‘You Little Fool,’ the album’s penultimate track. This has long been a favorite of mine, both on this album and in Costello’s catalog in general.
Imperial Bedroom, as you’ve likely guessed, is the second of the three albums I consider Elvis Costello’s masterpieces. And if I had to single out just one of his albums as his best, this would be the one.
It occurred to me recently that Elvis Costello isn’t really an album artist. By which I mean that he doesn’t often release complete albums that succeed start to finish. I can usually count a few duds among the gems, and he has a habit of overstaying his welcome and releasing 15 songs when 12 might have been more effective.