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Elvis Costello and The Attractions – Imperial Bedroom (1982)

February 7, 2017


Spectacular Logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming


[Album 511/1001]

Admittedly, I was relatively incurious about this album through the first 13 tracks.

I attribute my incuriosity to both the medium & the messenger.

Streaming Imperial Bedroom through Apple Music requires so little investment from me as the listener (open app – search album – click play), I didn’t feel compelled to do much research.

Also, my approval of another Elvis Costello album (his third of six on the 1001 list) didn’t exactly seem like a longshot.

However, upon hearing the delightful harpsichord in the penultimate track, You Little Fool, I found myself on the Imperial Bedroom Wikipedia page in record time!



As confirmed by Wikipedia, Steve Nieve is the harpsichordist on You Little Fool (also an accordionist, among other -ists, elsewhere on the album).

Back in February 2012 when I reviewed This Year’s Model, I thought the keyboards on the album were often catchy but also felt perilously close to cheesy.

Perhaps I’m appreciating his work on Imperial Bedroom as the harpsichord here is more like added texture, rather than the driving force of a song?elvis_costello__the_attractions-imperial_bedroom_album_cover

Perhaps it reminds me of Blur’s Clover Over Dover and benefits greatly from such an association?

Or perhaps, back in 2012, I just wasn’t ready for all those non-guitar sounds, and the loss was mine?

Oh 2012-me, You Little Fool?


Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate Music Waffle’s “10 Reasons to Love” series, especially since the most recent post featured my favourite group of Mancunians!

From → 1980s

  1. Harpsichord, eh? This is intriguing… I do like harpsichord. I’ve duly added this to the Elvis list!

    • I don’t know if the Harpsichord could be considered overrated/underrated, but it feels like it would qualify as under-used or under-appreciated these days!

      • Indeed. There should be more harpsichord!

  2. It’s funny. My best buddy over in England and I are both big EC fans. Many a long night over a few beers we’ve cogitated on his best album and he always arrives at “Imperial Bedroom”. I like it a lot, but I don’t think its a patch on an album that isn’t in the book, “Get Happy”. 20 songs in just over half an hour. I appreciate value for money.

    • It’s tough to beat that minute and a half per tune average length, very efficent!

    • I just double checked, as I didn’t remember Get Happy being that short, and it’s actually 48 minutes. Still feels frenetic, even with 2.5 minute songs.

      Imperial Bedroom is my favourite Costello album, and You Little Fool is my favourite song on it.

      • Thanks for stopping by – sorry this was initially forwarded to spam, nice to hear we agree on You Little Fool!

      • My bad, and thanks for the reminder. Maybe it’s just more frenetic than some of his other albums as you mentioned. Now I’m going to leave this thread, thoroughly ashamed “5ive Gears In Reverse”….brilliant song by the way!

  3. This is a great one. Yay!

    Now all we need is Christopher Walken, saying “Guess what. I’ve got a fver! And the only prescription is MORE HARPSICHORD!”

  4. I know a few Costello songs, but not familiar with the albums. Man Out of Time is a track I love from Imperial Bedroom. The artwork on the sleeve is definitely interesting.
    Apparently Bret Easton Ellis paid respect with his 2010 novel Imperial Bedrooms, although I haven’t read it, so don’t know the extent of the homage.

    • Sounds like Ellis at least intended to pay respect – apparently the director of Napoleon Dynamite didn’t intend the ‘tip of the hat’ to Costello’s ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ from Blood & Chocolate, just an impressive coincidence!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Elvis Costello and The Attractions – Armed Forces (1979) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. 1982 | 1001albumsin10years

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