Nick Lowe: The Old Magic (Proper)

 |   |  1 min read

Nick Lowe: Stoplight Roses
Nick Lowe: The Old Magic (Proper)

Perhaps after the series of excellence on his albums The Impossible Bird (1994), Dig My Mood ('98, Elsewhere's pick), The Convincer (2001) and At My Age (2007), it was maybe too much to expect the standard from Nick Lowe could remain as high again.

But The Old Magic -- while including some beautifully delivered bitter-sweet songs couched in country-influenced Fifties-like standards -- doesn't have quite the same frisson of delight.

As before he offers some wry explorations of aging (Checkout Time) and a flawed personality (Sensitive Man, "you can hear that in my song, but first impressions could still be wrong") and while Tom T. Hall's Shame on the Rain fits in seamlessly it is a lesser moment in the big picture of Lowe's recent albums.

House For Sale is a rumination on selling up after a marriage break-up but is grounded too much in the standard Cottage For Sale from the Thirties (see here) and the bright Restless Feeling and Somebody Cares For Me feel slight alongside some of the gems that are here. 

And there are, of course, some absolute standouts: The lyrically probing opener Stoplight Roses is a classic Lowe ballad about a betrayer believing cheap, last-minute roses will heal the wound; and the beautiful, slow I Read a Lot ("much more than before you left me, high and dry in a loveless land with nothing but time on my hands") just pulls you in.

Elvis Costello's Poisoned Rose -- from King of America 25 years ago, almost a country standards these days -- is given a typically sensitive Lowe treatment, the closer 'Til the Real Things Comes Along is a pity-me heartbreaker ballad and there are excellent arrangements throughout.

So while this contains some fine Lowe songs and interpretations, this is not the best place to start your learning curve on Nick Lowe, and if you have already fallen for his considerable charms you may feel The Old Magic isn't quite there often enough this time.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

Clive - Oct 22, 2011

This is nice,but not as good as his three previous ones.I think he needs to try someting diff,but not sure what.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

Facing down an avalanche of releases, requests for coverage, the occasional demand that we be interested in their new album (sometimes with that absurd comment "but don't write about it if you... > Read more

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

From the deliberate domesticity of the band name/album title, this album which began as a knockabout home sessions between Neil Finn and his wife Sharon comes with some coy downplaying. I guess... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SONNY ROLLINS INTERVIEWED (2011): The old lion still prowling

SONNY ROLLINS INTERVIEWED (2011): The old lion still prowling

Gary Giddins, the authoritative US jazz critic, said of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins that he was “one of the last immortĀ­als, the most powerful presence in jazz today. He is its most... > Read more

Dee's classic Kiwi cheese rolls

Dee's classic Kiwi cheese rolls

Dee says having spent the first 10 years of her life in Southland, every Kiwi should experience the warming delights of cheese rolls. Winter is a comin' on folks and Dee recommends this simple... > Read more