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Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deluxe version of Costello's Sgt-Pepper-style album..., 18 Feb. 2003
This review is from: Imperial Bedroom (Audio CD)
Imperial Bedroom ranks with such 80s albums as More Specials (1980) & Don't Stand Me Down (1985) as an experimental album in the Pet Sounds/Sgt Pepper-sense. It ranks amongst one of Costello's finest albums- This Year's Model, Get Happy!!, Blood & Chocolate, Mighty Like a Rose & All This Useless Beauty. This edition from Rhino has the same attention to detail that was so great about the expanded version of Velvet Underground's Loaded (released in 1997).
Disc One sees the original 15-track album, opening with the bleak Beyond Belief- which displays a vitriolic observation of early 80s Britain (tying in with later songs, such as Pills&Soap, Shipbuilding & Tramp the Dirt Down). It doesn't sound very Elvis Costello- interesting to contrast it with the demo take 'Land of Give&Take' on the second disc- the song building up around a pulsing beat & an amazing mix of vocals. Lambchop's cover of this on 2000's Loose Vol 2 compilation shows what a great song this is; certainly one of my fave Costello moments.
The rest of this album is as good- the belated title track to last album Almost Blue, the epic Man Out of Time, the missing link between Party Girl & I Want You (Shabby Doll) & the gorgeous Loved Ones (whose opening riff appears in Oasis' Digsy's Dinner!). Squeeze's Chris Difford (who worked with Costello on East Side Story) co-writes Boy with a Problem, while ...And in Every Home showcases those Sgt Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour influences. A great album alone...
Disc 2 sees a wealth of unreleased material- alternate & demo versions of various tracks from Imperial Bedroom, including an intrigueing fast version of Town Cryer & a demo of Man Out of Time. Amongst this disc is included the 9-tracks that made up the 'Extended Play' section on 1994's issue of this album- including the F-Beat single From Head to Toe/The World of Broken Hearts, Night Time (the flip of 12" of Everyday I Write the Book) & Seconds of Pleasure- a song EC wrote for ex-Abba member Anni-Frid Lyngstad (only to have it rejected by producer Phil Collins!). There's also a great version of The Merseybeat's Really Mystified, which ties in with the Merseybeat-inflected version of Everyday I Write the Book which found itself as an extra track on the CD-reissue of Punch the Clock. Finally, the song Imperial Bedroom appears- Costello having that Led Zep/Julian Cope/Doors-notion of putting the title track on a release after the album from which it takes its name. This is a great song, originally collected on the excellent Demon-compilation Out of Our Idiot...
This Rhino reissue offers the ultimate version of a highlight of the 1980s & ranks as a key album in Costello's vast back catalogue.
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