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I don't think of you that often

"She didn't understand him, so she thought he was deep."

Elvis Costello? No, that barbed wit is from the pen of Lloyd Cole, and today I was listening a bit in the car to his '91 effort, Don't Get Weird On Me Babe.

With an album title stolen from a Raymond Carver short story, and melodies stolen from the Beatles via Imperial Bedroom, it's not the best effort of the witty singer/songwriter who now, evidentally, lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. But it's got some swell songs. Particularly "Weeping Wine" -- which reminds me of XTC -- and "She's a Girl and I'm a Man," which almost has the crispness of Pete Townshend circa Empty Glass mixed with Johnny Marr. (In fact, I always felt that LC was a much more interesting version of Morrissey -- more of a moper for graduate student women, with Morrissey better suited for their high school little sisters.)

I've always felt that Lloyd Cole was underrated -- a British singer/songwriter who unfortunately produced his best work at a time when the intelligentsia wasn't favoring British singer/songwriters. His best record was his first one without his backing band, the Commotions -- his self-titled album -- and it is full of wonderful crisp Robert Quine guitar, with Matthew Sweet playing bass on much of it. It was produced by Fred Maher, whom I know I've talked about on here and who also produced my favorite Lou Reed record, New York. (A great guitar record, by the way.)

Lloyd Cole has its share of melancholy, but also a lot of sharp wit, such as in "No Blue Skies" with its chorus:

Baby you're too well read
Baby you're too well spoken
Baby you're far too clear
When I cry, do you hear anything?
There's also "Ice Cream Girl" and "Undressed," both with their wonderful melodies and chimey guitars. Everything in the production is crisp and clear, even though the emotions and states of mind in the songs are often very muddled.

LC still records, occasionally, though I stopped buying his records at one point; nothing was as good as that self-titled album. But he did record the best thing on that inconsistent Leonard Cohen tribute of a decade ago, I'm Your Fan -- a terrific version of perhaps my favorite song by that other LC: "Chelsea Hotel."

When Leonard sang it, it was plaintive and sad. But when Lloyd sings,
Those were the reasons, and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh;
And that was called love for the workers in song,
probably still is for those of them left.

it all feels like a hazy, bright summer memory, yellowed like yesterday's Polaroids. It's everything a cover should be.

posted by Anon. 10:23 PM
Catching up

Some articles and emails to catch up on...

First, Josh sends us the link to this interview with the inimitable Tom Waits, from Onion's AV Club. Waits interviews never disappoint.

Josh also beat his old entrepreneurial partner and current co-author Lockhart in directing our Angeleno eyes to the New York Observer last week, for this Ron Rosenbaum piece. Yes, it starts off as a catty piece about Jenna Bush's summer in NYC, but then evolves into... a piece about NYC Summer Songs. (An oddball list. Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" Not exactly a good beat that you can dance to.) The piece improves when Rosenbaum turns it into a memory piece, of his summer of 1965 and the soundtrack that accompanied it.

PMix reader Jason Lemons also writes in response to our recent Paul Young post. I mentioned in the post that Paul Young was kind of a British Daryl Hall. Turns out that Daryl Hall wrote and recorded the original version of Young's "Everytime You Go Away!" Jason writes:
It's interesting that you mention Daryl Hall as Paul Young's American
counterpart, because Hall & Oates wrote and originally performed "Everytime
You Go Away." It's on their "Voices" album from the early 80s, if I
remember correctly. They also performed it on their Live at the Apollo
album with Kendricks and Ruffin (which is worth picking up, if you can find
it used). I think Daryl prefaces the song on that album, defensively
mentioning that it was covered by a British artist but they performed it
originally. I always thought it funny that he never mentioned Paul Young by
name... you'd think he'd be appreciative of the royalties he earned thanks
to that version, but he sounds almost resentful.

Anyway, I generally like both versions of the song. Paul's version was the
first I ever heard, and I remember dedicating it to a girl I had a crush on
at summer camp (it worked... for that summer, at least). Hall and Oates'
version has a Righteous Brothers sound and it works for them. Still, I'd
love to hear someone like Sam Moore or Ben E. King give it a little more

Incidentally, the only other PY song I remember is a cover of the Chi-Lites'
"Oh Girl" he did in the early 90s. He sings it pretty well, but it suffers
from lite-rock production. I love the Chi-Lites' version, but we can thank
Paul for making the song safe for suburban housewives everywhere.
Frightening amount of Hall and Oates knowledge there, Jason. Yet, I confess, I find them a guilty pleasure. Less so for Maneater and Private Eyes, more for "She's Gone" and Daryl Hall's underrated solo "Dreamtime."

posted by Anon. 7:41 PM


One more cup of coffee (or Dylan post)

Just had to post this. Forgive the copyright violation.
Every step of the way we walk the line
Your days are numbered, so are mine
Time is pilin' up, we struggle and we scrape
We're all boxed in, nowhere to escape

City's just a jungle, more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, trying to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin' in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down

Got nothing for you, I had nothing before
Don't even have anything for myself anymore
Sky full of fire, pain pourin' down
Nothing you can sell me, I'll see you around

All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well, the devil's in the alley, mule's in the stall
Say anything you wanna, I have heard it all
I was thinkin' about the things that Rosie said
I was dreaming I was sleeping in Rosie's bed

Walking through the leaves, falling from the trees
Feeling like a stranger nobody sees
So many things that we never will undo
I know you're sorry, I'm sorry too

Some people will offer you their hand and some won't
Last night I knew you, tonight I don't
I need somethin' strong to distract my mind
I'm gonna look at you 'til my eyes go blind

Well I got here following the southern star
I crossed that river just to be where you are
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drownin' in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothin' but affection for all those who've sailed with me

Everybody movin' if they ain't already there
Everybody got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now

My clothes are wet, tight on my skin
Not as tight as the corner that I painted myself in
I know that fortune is waitin' to be kind
So give me your hand and say you'll be mine

Well, the emptiness is endless, cold as the clay
You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

When I read lyrics like that, I can't help but think of what George Harrison once said about Dylan: "Dylan is so brilliant. To me, he makes Shakespeare seem like Billy Joel."

posted by Anon. 12:31 PM


Not for all the tea in China

It would be hard to avoid the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, even if you tried. (And, even given its inconsistency, why would you try to avoid it?) "Absolutely Cuckoo" can be heard while listening to the played-endlessly-on-HBO Ashley Judd-Hugh Jackman Someone Like You.

This past weekend, I watched an episode of The Shield on DVD. Using Stephen Merritt as the backdrop to the tough and complex cop show on FX might sound out-of-whack.

Yet the use of "All My Little Words" was perfect in a montage showing different characters in their home-lives before ending with the discovery of a hideous love crime. (If you haven't watched the series, get on the Netflix ball or go to your local vidshop and check it out. One of the best narrative series on television.)

posted by Anon. 10:15 AM