I’d forgotten how finding a great new CD is a lot like finding a heart-thumping new crush. You get that little flutter of excitement when you know you’re going to listen to it. You feel anxious when it’s not within arm’s reach. And you have that satisfied, happy feeling for each and every second you hear it.
All of this is to say I have a serious crush on Nick Lowe’s new CD, “At My Age,” his first in six years. Lowe is probably best known for his success in the ‘80s with songs like “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” which Elvis Costello covered, and “Cruel to Be Kind” Lowe’s new CD is miles away from “Cruel to Be Kind” although it has a seriously pop undertone – it’s sly with a playful gravitas. The songs are an amalgamation of pop and country with a bit of Frank Sinatra-y lounge act, early ‘60s rock and post-war standards thrown in. No matter what the style, each song is infinitely enjoyable, cohesive yet diverse. “The Club,” “Long-Limbed Girl” and “I Trained Her to Love Me,” which is a tongue-in-cheek narrative of a man who woos women simply so he can break their hearts, are particular stand outs. Mature and charming, you can tell these are the songs of someone who’s lived a life and can still smile wryly as he recounts the tale. As he sings on one track, “If I’d done half the things people said I’d done, I’d be buried or on the run.”
Mellifluous and rich, Lowe’s voice is the star of the production, evoking at various times Johnny Cash, Elvis, Tom Jones and even, I swear to you, Bruce Campbell if he could be sincere. These aren’t caricatures in any way, though. Lowe’s voice is wholly his own. It simply feels familiar.
So if you’re looking for a thoughtful album filled with gentle surprises and dedicated to the ups, downs and so-what’s of love, “At My Age” might just be the one for you. I know he’s the best musical crush I’ve had in years.