Showing posts with label power pop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label power pop. Show all posts

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The records that made me (some of 'em): Labour of Lust


The rules of the album challenge on Facebook was that you pick (just) 10 that influenced you big-time, and this is No. 10 -- Nick Lowe's "Labour of Lust."

I loved Lowe's music the first time I heard it, probably a year before this came out in June 1979, right between me graduating high school and starting college at LSU. Before I'd figured out that he was one of the driving forces and producers behind the whole Brit New Wave scene that was saving American rock 'n' roll, one great college-radio single at a time.

And years before I figured out he and I share a birthday.
 

Nick Lowe is a hell of a songwriter, and he writes an even better hook. The man, in the late '70s, was the power in power pop. Four words: "Cruel to Be Kind."

By the way, did I mention Rockpile? And that Lowe produced the first five albums of Elvis Costello, who used to be a roadie for Brinsley Schwarz, the pub-rock band (1969-'74) from which all things New Wave and power pop flowed (including Nick Lowe).


HOW BIG an influence is Nick Lowe in my musical world? Let me elucidate: 10a, 10b, 10c and 10d on my list probably would be Costello's "My Aim Is True," "This Year's Model" and "Armed Forces," then Lowe's 1978 LP "Jesus of Cool," which in this country became "Pure Pop for Now People" because the suits remembered what happened to the Beatles in 1966.

That about cover it, Skipper?

Seriously, by 1978 or so, rock 'n' roll was a bloated, self-satisfied son of a bitch, and (once again) needed the Brits to come to the rescue, mind the bollocks, then pry ours out of a corporate vise. As much as anyone, Nick Lowe took on what was a dirty job amid a music scene that couldn't be unseen, and made the extraction quite painless, actually.

There's an "American Squirm" joke in there somewhere, but I'm just not seeing it right now.

The End.