The White Noise, Revisited: Imperial Bedroom
Have you ever purchased an album upon the recommendation of a magazine review or a friend, listened to it, hated it, put it aside, forgotten about it, only to revisit it many years later and wonder to yourself “What the bloody hell was I smoking’?”
Or, worse yet, purchased an album, hated it, SOLD IT or gave it away to a friend, rediscovered the genius and kicked yourself in the ass because now you’re gonna have to re-buy it?
I have. Many, many times, I’m afraid.
One such album was Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello. Being accustomed to the fidgety sonics of “May Aim Is True” through “Trust” era Costello, and hating “Almost Blue” (I have come to appreciate it over time, though), I decided to give the old boy another shot with what the critics call his “Sgt. Pepper” album.
Imperial Bedroom sounded a little…too serious for me at the time. It was too sophisticated for my brain at the time, I felt, and didn’t contain even one song I could really absorb. It was produced so slickly (Geoff Emerick, yet another Beatles connection) it almost felt inconsequential, and a little bit pretentious. Not my cup of tea at that point in my life.
So I sold it.
I moved on throughout the 80’s and 90’s, oblivious to my old pal Elvis (post 1985—pre-’85 Costello has always remained in rotation) and any sonic adventures he was currently embarking upon. My musical pallet matured, I believe, during the two decades since I last listened to Imperial Bedroom. I remember listening to the expanded re-mastered editions of Aim and This Year’s Model and thinking, “I really miss this guy! Wonder if I should revisit his catalog?” I heard him with new ears and luckily I married a gal who happened to love Elvis Costello and who, of course, had a weathered old CD of Imperial Bedroom in her collection.
Long story short it is now one of my absolute favorite Elvis Costello releases, and Man Out Of Time and Beyond Belief are currently in my top 5 Elvis Costello songs.
Has this happened to you?
Do tell, do share.