Released: Jul 1982
Label: Hip-O Records
Before Imperial Bedroom, Nick Lowe was Elvis Costello's producer of choice. For this 1982 masterwork, Costello turned to Beatles producer/engineer Geoff Emerick for an album that reaches for the grandeur of Lennon/McCArtney and to sophisticated songwriters such as Bacharach, Porter and Gershwyn. That's a tall artistic mountain to climb but Costello actually succeeds by always sounding like himself instead of just a pastiche of influences. Best song? Take your pick -- "Man Out of Time," "Kid About It," "Beyond Belief," "Town Cryer" or "Almost Blue" which has gone on to become a modern jazz standard. Costello would lose some of his intense focus after this, often releasing sets with many incredible songs on them instead of complete, knockout albums.