Friday, April 17, 2009

Dead Horses Beaten Here: Nick Lowe!

I know, I know: Enough already with the Nick Lowe! After writing 10 or so posts on him, I should take the crickets-chirping silence from my colleagues as a sign that they simply aren't on board for his idiosyncratic genius. But give him one more chance! Or in this case, five more. Five songs, below, each a polished gem from an alternate Top 40 universe where the IQ of the listening public is about 50 points higher. What's interesting about Lowe's 1984 album, Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit, is that it's clear he's actually responding to the Top 40 radio of the time. In some of these songs you'll hear bits of Dire Straits, Springsteen, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Steely Dan, all reconfigured with Lowe's pop classicism. My read of the cover of Lowe's album is that he's saying, "OK, move over and let me show you blokes how this is done." Gotta love the hoisting of the slacks. A pub scrapper with a pop hook. In "Love Like a Glove," it almost seems like he's writing a better Billy Joel song than Billy Joel can write. In the case of "Half a Boy and Half a Man," I think there was actually a counter-response a year later with Dire Straits' "Walk of Life" and John Fogerty's "Centerfield" (listen to Nick's song: there's just no way these guys didn't hear it). The stuff from The Rose of England sounds more like his take on The Byrds, almost the blue print for Teenage Fanclub.


From Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit, 1984:

Love Like a Glove - Nick Lowe

The Gee and the Rick and the Three Card Trick - Nick Lowe

Half a Boy and Half a Man - Nick Lowe

From The Rose of England, 1985:

Everyone - Nick Lowe

The Rose of England - Nick Lowe

[Note: If I don't get some feedback on these songs, I'm going to have to continue my Nick Lowe jihad for a few more weeks. Whether that's a promise or a threat is up to you!]


Contrararian said...

OK, fine. Nick. Lowe. Is. A. Great. Man. You happy?
No? Why, because you still don't know what a musical worm is?

Well, I'm the wrong guy to ask. I found your site when I googled "musical worm" trying to get the answer to that question.

Jason Bugg said...

Nick Lowe is awesome. Please continue spreading the word.

Silverado said...

he's a legend. from brinsley shwartz to 'get happy' to 'high on a hilltop', what's not to love?

ps. i like your work

Fleece said...

Someday someone might tell me what "The Gee & The Rick & The Three Card Trick" is.

Keep up with the Lowe. I've been a fan since the late 70's.