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

Cat Power: Jukebox (Matador)

Cat Power: Jukebox (Matador)

Covers albums can be uneven and most often uncalled for: usually they represent some stopgap measure for an artist, and at their worst seem pretty pointless, like Patti Smith's recent Twelve in... > Read more

Insert Name Here: The Line Between Ocean and Land (Stinkbuzz/digital outlets)

Insert Name Here: The Line Between Ocean and Land (Stinkbuzz/digital outlets)

The nom-de-disque for Wellington's Craig Houghton, Insert Name Here kicks off this fourth collection (accrued over five years) with short slice of Robert Fripp/Eno-esque guitar effect of Exordium... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . SKIP SPENCE: Oar in dark water

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . SKIP SPENCE: Oar in dark water

Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd and Roky Erickson of Thirteenth Floor Elevators don't own the category of "mad Sixties acid casualty" exclusively. Alexander Spence -- aka Skip Spence... > Read more

Ikea's recipe for its famous meatballs

Ikea's recipe for its famous meatballs

Anyone who has been to an Ikea is inevitably seduced into trying their famous Swedish meatballs. We do our own meatballs at home (with just beef, a splash of tough Texas bbq sauce and maybe... > Read more