01 March, 2008

I'm a little down, with a lifetime to go

Last year in one of the many non-TV-related editions of the Digi-Cream Times mailout (in other words, all of them) the suggestion was made that there's no such thing as a perfect album. One that has no weak links on it whatsover. One that, if a song were selected at random, or if you played it using the shuffle facility on a CD player, you wouldn't mind what track you heard.

This writer couldn't accept that such an album existed. Surely, on even the so-called masterpieces of popular music (Revolver, Pet Sounds, Dark Side Of The Moon, What's Going On, OK Computer), there's always one duff moment, one track to be tolerated rather than treasured?

An appeal was made for people to nominate examples that disputed such an assertion. Nobody replied. But then, where Digi-Cream Times is concerned, that's nothing new.

Anyway, I think I've found just such an album. In fact I know I have. I've owned it for around 10 years now, but only recently realised that, yeah, it doesn't matter where I join it, it's exceptional. It's faultless. All the way through. From start to finish.

It is Imperial Bedroom, by Elvis Costello and The Attractions, which is weird because it's not my favourite Costello album (which is Punch The Clock) nor his most consistent (which is Get Happy). Nonetheless it doesn't contain one song that is anything less than stunning and which, in and of themselves, are mini-masterpieces.

Anyway, the fact this album, hailing from 1982, has been sitting variously four inches, two metres and a corridor away from my nose for the last decade and not revealed itself in such a fashion to me until just the other week is a little disarming.

I might find myself warming to John Lennon's Imagine next.




4 comments:

FeedbackReport said...

As I said at the time(!), there is not a moment of duffness either on The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds or Nick Drake's Bryter Layter.

Ian Jones said...

What, you mean to say you get the same thrill on hearing The Sloop John B as you do God Only Knows?!

FeedbackReport said...

Yes. Yes indeed I do! In fact, I actually like Sloop John B better (admittedly more for the arrangement than the lyrics, bar the fantastically States-centric reference to 'grits').

Jack Kibble-White said...

Well I think the basic problem here is that for an album to be great it needs to have a duff track or two, otherwise the whole concoction is just too sweet. The White Album by The Beatles being the perfect example. It's the Fab's best LP in part because it features "Savoy Truffle" and "Birthday" which are both rubbish.