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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Nick Lowe
Jesus of Cool
Yep Rock

Rating: 8.9/10 ?


February 4, 2008
Aging sucks, and one thing Mike Doughty and Nick Lowe have in common is that they prove the hell out of it. In their respective primes, they had no parallels and no equals in (not very) popular music when you consider not just wit but catchiness. Lowe strutted into Stiff Records as a hyperproductive triple threat - a songwriter/producer/singer - who helmed records for Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and the Damned, and wrote wickedly funny, hooky solo records in his spare time. After choogling through the '80s respectfully, his career took a turn for the bizarre and he became a millionaire when the royalty check from the blockbuster-selling soundtrack of The Bodyguard (where his "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love & Understanding?" was covered) cleared.

This rare industry-victory-for-talent begat an even rarer occurrence, though: getting rich let loose a freak flag no one expected from a well-to-do popmeister, and it turns out that all Lowe ever wanted to be was a boring singer-songwriter with a propensity for creaky lounge stylings. Since the fantastic, short-lived rockabilly triumph Party of One in 1990, Lowe has released four albums of new material, and not one of them is any good. He rarely plays the inspired (fast) ones from his "youth" anymore live, and doesn't appear to look back on his beginnings fondly. Some telling treason from his new reissue: "In those days, I wasn't interested in creating serious art. I was much more interested in the mischief. I wanted to make music that was accessible… I do regret it somewhat, but time was of the essence and it had to be disposable."

"Disposable?" Why even reissue it then? I guess in a way, stapling that fuck-you to old fans onto the 30th Anniversary Edition of his first and what many consider, seminal work is the most Nick Lowe thing the guy's done in years. Jesus of Cool, known to U.S. admirers like myself as a reshuffle of Pure Pop For Now People, is still great, still hooky (er… disposable), still - if you couldn't tell from those titles - loaded with funny jokes. And with a wiseguy like Lowe, the funniest ones are the best ones: "So it Goes," with its nonchalant roadie dismemberment and conscious plagiarism of Steely Dan, and "Marie Provost," with the dachshund that eats the title corpse. By all means, add this overdue, essential purchase to your audio collection, just remember to be ashamed of yourself for appreciating it more than his "serious art," which last year handed out such keen wisdom as "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day" (duh) and "People Change" (double duh, and not funny, asshole).

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss

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