Monday, 3 June 2013

Cassette experiment day 90 - Nick Lowe 'The Jesus of Cool'

If you ever listen to BBC Radio 2 you’ll be only too familiar with their unofficial ‘one artist – one song’ policy, which states that stupid people will be able to enjoy listening to their radio even more if their radio station reduces the back-catalogue of every artist to only one song.
For example, if you only get your music from Radio 2, you’ll think that The B-52s only recorded ‘Love Shack’, because that’s the only B-52s track that they ever play.
It’s true for others too;
Simple Minds – ‘Promised you a miracle’

The Divine Comedy - 'National Express'

Pulp - 'Common people'
U2 – ‘The sweetest thing’
ABBA – ‘Knowing me, knowing you’
Michael Buble – Who knows (if I ever have to enter the alternative Olympics I’d like it to go on record that my personal best time to re-tune a radio after hearing the first bar of a Michael Buble track is 0.2 secs)
George Benson – ‘Give me the night’
Elton John – ‘I guess that’s why they call it the blues’ (all the good stuff he recorded in the 1970s and they choose that one?)
James Blunt – ‘You’re beautiful’ (why do I even listen to Radio 2 in the first place?)
Our cassette experiment subject today, ‘National Treasure’ Nick Lowe’s ‘The Jesus of Cool’ (or as the Americans know it ‘Pure Pop For Now People’), released in 1978 when he was still a dead-ringer for Jim-Bob Walton, includes Nick’s ‘one artist – one song’ tune, ‘I love the sound of breaking glass’.
‘I love the sound’ is now a bit blunted by over-familiarity, and, good as it is it’s by no means the best tune here. That accolade probably goes to ‘Marie Provost’, a song about a star of the silent film era who died in her house following acute alcohol abuse. Neighbours were alerted to her demise by the barking of her dog, trapped with her body in the house – hence the arresting ‘she was the winner, that became the doggy’s dinner’ lyric.
‘So it goes’, presumably inspired by the repeated phrase in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s ‘Slaughterhouse-five’ is also a brilliant piece of punk/new wave by one of its foremost producers. Also worthy of note is the fabulous ‘Nutted by reality’, which opens with the attention-grabbing line ‘Well, I heard they castrated Castro’. Maybe ‘De-nutted by reality’ would have been a more suitable title.
This album was released by Cladhurst Ltd, trading as Radar Records. Have you ever heard a more obviously bought off-the-shelf company name than Cladhurst Ltd? Me neither.
Label – Radar (Cat. No. RAC1)
Year – 1978
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