University of Chattanooga Echo, January 28, 1983

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Imperial Bedroom

Elvis Costello

Johnny Shuster

Over the past few years, Elvis Costello has continued to amaze and amuse a relatively small but loyal audience with his impressive talents. Each album is a wonderfully unique adventure in popular music, with countless surprises tucked among the generous selection of material. Hot on the heels of a dazzling Country and Western effort, last year's Almost Blue, EC assumes the role of nightclub crooner on his newest collection, Imperial Bedroom.

Bedroom is the kind of record one may not fully appreciate until the tenth hearing. The songs are a bit of a shock for a fan of tunes like "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes," but they really grow on you. A couple of cuts, "Long Honeymoon" comes to mind first, demonstrate that Elvis is not quite ready to shake Country as a vehicle for his expression. That wonderfully nasal vocal carries us through the trials and tribulations of a troubled marriage.

In fact, the entire record deals with slightly imperfect romance. "Human Hands" delivers a heart-rending message of penitence ("all I ever wanted was just to fall into your human hands") over a spunkily subtle melody. "Little Fool" laments the dangers of teenage love to the tune of a clever little trot. The album's best cut, however, is "Man Out of Time," a truly touching song about patching up a busted romance in the wake of the disruption of its successor. Costello delivers a beautiful vocal here, full of emotion and more than able to carry the melodic weight of the song.

Elvis Costello is a performer who makes a lasting impression on anyone willing to give his music a fair listen. There's no "New Wave" here, Costello has at least momentarily abandoned it to fuse a Country-musicish emotional honesty with a style owing as much to Bing Crosby or George Jones as Bob Dylan or Smokey Robinson. Elvis successfully digests the best of modern popular music and uses that energy to give us a new and exciting old-fashioned album. Thanks El.


The Echo, January 28, 1983

Johnny Shuster reviews Imperial Bedroom.


1983-01-28 University of Chattanooga Echo page 15 clipping 01.jpg

1983-01-28 University of Chattanooga Echo page 15.jpg
Page scan.


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