Friday, July 20, 2007

Nick Lowe's "At My Age"

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.


Anonymous said...

Nothing nerdy about liking Nick Lowe's latest. Came upon your blog perusing the net today.

If you like "At My Age", you should check out his previous three releases. All great soulful and country pop music! And Nick was on Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross today. Hope you heard, or you can listen via the archive.

Cool blog you have.


Liz said...

I missed him on Fresh Air today, so thank you for the reminder. I'll definitely check it out online. Glad you like the blog. Hope you stop by again.

Anonymous said...

Curses! Bested by the literary/pop culture geek! (That's okay... I still have a decent cache of unknown/underappreciated musical gems...)

Regardless, I'll chime in:

eMusic has a nice Ira Robbins interview with Mr. Lowe:

This one's in my download queue for my next allocation from eMusic. (Unfortunately, I'm a bit like the proverbial "kid in a candy store" at the beginning of each month -- usually spending my 90 download allotment within a week or so.) Also, if you missed them, don't forget other recent titles in the "new model" Nick Lowe's catalog: The Impossible Bird and Dig My Mood (most underrated and undeserving of the pan or two that it took).

Nice blog.