My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Imperial Bedroom is Costello’s seventh album and his first album of original songs not to be produced by Nick Lowe. It was instead produced by former Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick. The album was recorded during the first half of 1982 and released in July of that year.
What I think: At some point in my late teens, I picked up a battered used copy of this album up at a record store. It plays fine, but that doesn’t mean I listened to it a lot. I really missed the urgency of his earlier music and just wasn’t into the songs, which were composed primarily on piano instead of guitar. It was certainly too loungy, too baroque and certainly too adult.
So imagine my surprise at how much I like it now after listening to it twenty years later. To be honest, I think I still prefer the urgency of the early stuff, but I can also accept that this is something different and thoroughly enjoy it for what it is. The lyrics are just amazing and concern a man trying to gracefully grow into a domestic life, but is making too many mistakes in his journey. Costello was only 28 when the album was released, but sounds more like someone in his forty’s.
Individual songs that stick out for me are “Man Out of Time”, a wonderful song but also the single so I probably just know it better than the others. “Shabby Doll” reminds me of a late period REM song, “…And In Every Home” is a catchy song that shows the influence of Emerick’s production and “The Loved Ones” which is the closest Costello gets to his past stylings.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I like it a lot, who would have thought growing older changes our tastes.
Rating (Out of 5) 5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (120/509)
Amount that are new to me: 76%