Baruch College Ticker, September 28, 1982

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Imperial Bedroom

Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Paul Golden

After a short detour via Nashville, the King rolled back through En Why on his whistle-stop tour of the empire, hot on the heels of his latest regal offering, Imperial Bedroom. Fifteen flights of fancy, fantasy, and finesse mark EC's return to the limelight in his newest guise among the peasants, the aspirant classic lyricist a la Johnny Mercer, Lorenz Hart et al.

Some courtier wags have hinted that his Majesty bath lost the fiery fury of his princely days, and as such, bath mellowed. Fie! say I. His Highness needs be a gentleman for his worldly wars, and thus bath he his dagger more finely sharpen'd. The strings, the horns, nay, even the harpsichord, cry his detractors, are all ample proof of his continu'd settling, and verily, in sooth must I in parts agree. But in the main, the King employs these instruments as mere subterfuge, a clever ruse intended not to confuse the people, but to act as counterbalance to his rapier tongue and wit. Witness "The Long Honeymoon," in which he claims "there's been a long honeymoon / she thought too late and spoke too soon / There's no monevback guarantee on future happiness" or "Loved Ones," a searing declamation 'gainst those who feel it's cool to live fast and die young because, as he explained in an interview, somebody's got to bury the poor sod. "Pidgin English" bemoans society's linguistic regression to Cro-Magnon monosyllabic utterings, and the death of expressive English.

The King has indeed grown as a songsmith, and by now his canon is enormously impressive. EC's recent appearances in town (I was granted an audience at the Pier) displayed his wealth and grandeur to such a degree that lesser mortals pale by comparison. Indeed, his two hour non-stop set indicated that he could have played all night and then some. Good thing he didn't. The sustained emotional intensity would surely have landed everyone, band and audience alike, in the hospital.

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The Ticker, September 28, 1982


Paul Golden reviews Imperial Bedroom.

Images

1982-09-28 Baruch College Ticker page 09 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

1982-09-28 Baruch College Ticker page 09.jpg
Page scan.

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