Archive for February, 2008


Nick Lowe “Pure Pop for Now People”

I don’t think it was very cool to want to be a pop star in 1978, when this album came out, at least in the punk rock crowd who were reacting against that, so the title of this record is meant to be ironic (as well as the import title, “Jesus of Cool”). The thing is, he’s secretly sincere, and that’s when he’s at his best: “Tonight,” “Heart of the City,” “Little Hitler.” But he can’t help being cute, ironic, cynical, and forced weird much of the time. I’m being critical, but I have a great warm feeling about this record and still think of it as one of the great records of the time period.

One thing that is really interesting now– on the cover there are six photos of him dressed in extreme different pop styles (and on the back in a “Riddler” suit) and now, THIRTY YEARS LATER– every last one of these looks would look perfectly natural out at some club or music venue. Talk about not being dated! The music isn’t dated at all, either, particularly “No Reason” and “36 Inches High.”


Nils Lofgren “Nils Lofgren”

I picked up this record for some reason (must have been the Rolling Stone review) around 1975 when it came out, and I’ve continued to listen to it from time to time ever since.  It’s uneven, though all listenable– but there are some really great songs on it. I also liked the ridiculous picture on the cover– Nils in extreme 1970s rock get-up– and I took similar pictures of myself at the time, with sunglasses, scarves– carelessly holding a bottle of Drambuie.

It’s a very stripped down rock record– Wornell Jones playing bass, Aynsley Dunbar on drums, and Nils Lofgren singing, guitars, piano. The best songs are “Back It Up,” “Keith Don’t Go,” “Can’t Buy A Break,” “Rock’n’roll Crook,” “Duty,” and “If I Say It It’s So.” I can guarantee that you’ll like “Duty”– it’s so ridiculous, completely excessive in every way– yet there is still an amazing amount of space. If I was professor at Rock’n’Roll University, I would TEACH this song! “If I Say It It’s So” is even more amazing– particularly for the drums, which are almost like the lead instrument. Aynsley Dunbar played with EVERYBODY– kind of like the Scott Pickering from an earlier generation. He’s the drummer you’d want with you going into battle, or stuck on a desert island. This song is the best example I can think of (besides Keith Moon) of acceptable drummer excess– he’s totally overplaying, yet it’s still tight– and most of all fun and exciting.

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February 2008