Friday, 5 April 2013

Albums for Life: 27: Lloyd Cole: Don't Get Weird on Me Babe

I know, I screwed up by putting 'Rattlesnakes' in the 100s.
It should be a top 30 album.
I listened to it recently and it still shines brightly.
But what of Lloyds's solo output? He's been a prolific boy, but that generosity has led to some questionable quality control.
I really thought that it was going to be 'Don't Get Weird On Me Babe'...
I played it a couple of days ago to confirm this.
It was all going so well; the first side is a sumptuous thing; faultless and quite beautiful; the Buckmaster orchestrations are... masterful. But then the 2nd 'band' side kicks in and it all became a bit 'Lloyd by Numbers' for me.  
I turned to 'Love Story' instead and I'm surprised to say that that left me a little underwhelmed also, there were fine moments but where was the consistency?
We are talking Top 30 here...
So I then I went back to this solo debut from 1990 and I just loved the whole thing. You can still hear the ghost of The Commotions with the retention of keyboard player Blair Cowan but, now in league with a couple of Lou Reed's side men (Fred Maher/drums & Robert Quine/guitar) and pop magpie Mathew Sweet on bass; there's the confident reach of a man unfettered and strutting his stuff, most obvious in the rawness of the 'up' tunes.
That Lloyd's a contrary fellow: He's a little bit Lou, a little bit Scott. He's a cynic, he's a tortured soul, he's a romantic. I guess it depends on your mood to help you decide on your favourite. 
And guess what? I'm back from work, slightly knackered; Di's just run me a bath and poured me a glass of 'The Full Fifteen', a 15% Australian red that's sure to see me in bed by 9pm. 
And here I am, soaking in the suds, re-reading Carver's 'Cathedral' and my soundtrack is just perfect... 
It's 'Don't Get Weird On Me Babe'. 

Romantic for sure, with just the right blend of vinegar to balance the saccharine strings. The string side was originally the 'B' side; unsure why they changed that for the CD. I resequenced things and it really works better that way; the rockers see the return of Quine, Maher and Sweet and their cocky twang sets the quieter stuff up really well; it's like a heavenly double act where Lloyd switches from jeans and t shirt at half time and dons a tuxedo to front the wondrous orchestrations of what was the original side two.
So there you are; it was never in doubt folks... DGWOM is Cole's finest by a mile.
Isn't it?
I'll probably wake up with a slight twinge after 'The Full Fifteen', reach for the quieter more reflective 'Love Story' and have to rewrite this whole pigging piece...
Until then, here's my favourite solo song of Lloyd's followed by some fine live performances.


  1. you see - it always should have been the side 2 for the strings!

  2. It makes much better sense musically. Strange decision by someone.
    Maybe they thought that the strings would panic the horses....

  3. I was sincerely hoping that you would have a Lloyd Cole album at some point, and could appreciate that you felt you could not use Rattlesnakes, but for me the choice would have to be Mainstream. What a box of amazing crackers that album is, the Jennifer, She Said bringing it all hoe to roost!

    1. Thanks for reminding me of 'Mainstream' Issy. Another trip to the attic...

  4. "You know just as well as I
    He's a better man than I --- could ever be..."

    I can't imagine how 'Don't Get Weird On Me' could close any other way? Blasphemy! Order a US copy!!!

    Nice write-up on LC. I like what you said about his contrary nature. He's mellowed a lot, but there's still an edge there. I think he deliberately avoids pulling heart-strings directly. One of the smartest writers around...

    I've read quotes on Lloyd's weblog, where he says he regrets that the entire album wasn't recorded as an entirely orchestral affair. As much as I enjoy the "band" side, the "other" side is exquisite... I wish he'd done it.

    PS: You don't need to apologize for Rattlesnakes. You are forgiven. It was early in the evolution of "The List" and we were all greenhorns adapting. I've blundered horribly, missing a dozen that deserved slots. I've come to accept that it ain't rocket science, just having a lot of fun with it. I don't think David is grading us, is he?

    'Bus Stop" playing on TV... I'm off for an ogle!

  5. We should make a list of the things that were omitted TT.
    'Bus Stop'?

  6. Marilyn Munroe?

  7. But of course!
    Funny, we were watching a documentary on her last night. The press were disgustingly intrusive around the Joe D M fall out...
    She was a stunner though...