Wednesday, April 19, 2017

137. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Imperial Bedroom

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On this work the original  album cover art design has been pared. With it went the artist's name and the album title.
What remained of the original image was pasted at left  and the image was extended  to the right with the addition
of a combination of mirrored images and some misplaced and altered elements.

Thus,  the snake  charmer's  double,  while trying  to stimulate the  "reclining  octopus,"  instead causes  the cobra to
respond to his crooked charms which,  in turn,  alarms him, and gets him ready to flee with an expanded right wing.
And not only that.  The letters "P-A-B-L-O"  on the holes of the  five creatures  that look like zippers handing over his
head now spell "O-L-B-A-P."  Luckily enough,  the snake charmer is able to control the "reclining octopus" by stepping
his platformed  left foot on her  last tentacle  which doesn't  look naughty  at all because  Barney Bubbles  called her
"reclining octopus" instead of something else.

Here's the original work of Barney Bubbles.

No. 166, Rolling Stone, The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 321, The Virgin All-Time Album Top 1000

Cover art design by Barney Bubbles, album produced by Geoff Emerick
from an  original idea by  Elvis  Costello.  F-Beat (UK),  Columbia (US)

The name of the album "Imperial Bedroom" appears on the sleeve as
IbMePdErRoIoAmL. The cover painting, titled "Snakecharmer &
Reclining Octopus" by Barney Bubbles (but credited to "Sal Forlenza")
is a pastiche of "Three Musicians" by Pablo Picasso, and letters on
the zipper-like creatures in the upper right spell "PABLO SI". wikipedia

Having gotten country out of his system with Almost Blue, Elvis Costello returned to pop music with Imperial Bedroom -
and it was  pop in the classic,  Tin Pan  Alley sense.  Costello  chose to hire  Geoff Emerick,  who engineered  all of the
Beatles' most ambitious records, to produce Imperial Bedroom,  which indicates what it sounds like - it's traditional pop
with a post-Sgt. Pepper production.

Essentially,  the songs on Imperial Bedroom are an extension of Costello's jazz and  pop infatuations on Trust.  Costello's
music is  complex  and intricate,  yet it flows  so smoothly, it's easy  to miss  the bitter, brutal lyrics.  The  interweaving
layers of  "Beyond  Belief"  and the whirlwind  intro  are the most overtly  dark sounds  on the record,  with most  of the
album given over to the orchestrated, melancholy torch songs and pop singles.  Never once do Costello & the Attractions
deliver a  rock & roll song  - the album is all  about  sonic detail,  from the accordion on  "The Long Honeymoon"  to the
lilting strings on "Town Cryer."

Of course,  the detail  and the ornate  arrangements  immediately peg  Imperial  Bedroom  as Costello's most  ambitious
album, but that doesn't mean it's his absolute masterpiece. Imperial Bedroom remains one of Costello's essential records
because it is the culmination of his ambitions and desires -  it's where he proves that he can play with the big boys, both
as a songwriter and a record-maker.  It may not have been a commercial blockbuster, but it certainly earned the respect
of legions of musicians and critics who would have previously disdained such a punk rocker.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

(A) Beyond Belief - Tears Before Bedtime - Shabby Doll - The Long Honeymoon - Man Out of Time - Almost Blue - . . . And in Every Home

(B) The Loved Ones - Human Hands - Kid About It - Little Savage - Boy with a Problem - Pidgin English - You Little Fool - Town Cryer

"You Little Fool" music video from ElvisCostelloVEVO on YouTube.

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