Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool: 30th Anniversary Edition (Stiff Records/Yep Roc 1978, 2008)

This album was originally released in America as Pure Pop for Now People, and both album names have a grain of truth since it was a very cool album of pop music, released during the heyday of punk and disco which meant it sank without a trace. Released in a lovingly assembled package 30 years on with all of the music from the British and American versions as well as some live tracks and B sides, it makes for a model reissue. As a fan as well as a musician, many of the tracks on this LP are about the music industry. The snidely funny “I Love My Label” and the opening “Music for Money” are excellent satire as are “Rollers Show” and the riotously funny “The Called It Rock.” Lowe was also Elvis Costello's producer during this period, and anyone familiar with his breathless lyrics will be right at home here. Two of Lowe's most popular and enduring tracks, “Cruel to Be Kind” and “Heart of the City” are included here in the bonus material. This is a very fun disc filled with excellent music. The CD packaging is very interesting with a foldout design featuring the original album covers and many photos. The liner notes are well done, including original promotional material, and an essay putting the music in its historical context. Kudos all around for a fine job releasing some unjustly neglected music.

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