12 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like short stories in song, Lloyd Cole creates unforgettable characters by infusing just enough information for the listener and then filling in the spaces with tender hooks and broken lullabies. His desolate landscapes (like those inhabited by Raymond Carver, Larry McMurtry, and Bob Dylan) are places where hope is thin and folks do their best to just hang on. There’s the fool who based his life on a literary cliché of how a troubled writer should live only to learn how that life isn’t so romantic (“Unhappy Song”), or the trailer-court gent who’s “livin’ on juice” and “eating out of tuna cans” and can’t ever seem to keep his “dairy queen” happy (the U.K. hit “Like Lovers Do”), or the deceptively tender ode to the one who’s getting away (“Happy for You”). So much of this 1995 album (his fourth solo) is about restraint and storyteller subtexts, while the actual notes—the gently strummed or cascading hooks—can take up residence inside your head for days. The whole thing stings and hums and lasts, just like great fiction.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like short stories in song, Lloyd Cole creates unforgettable characters by infusing just enough information for the listener and then filling in the spaces with tender hooks and broken lullabies. His desolate landscapes (like those inhabited by Raymond Carver, Larry McMurtry, and Bob Dylan) are places where hope is thin and folks do their best to just hang on. There’s the fool who based his life on a literary cliché of how a troubled writer should live only to learn how that life isn’t so romantic (“Unhappy Song”), or the trailer-court gent who’s “livin’ on juice” and “eating out of tuna cans” and can’t ever seem to keep his “dairy queen” happy (the U.K. hit “Like Lovers Do”), or the deceptively tender ode to the one who’s getting away (“Happy for You”). So much of this 1995 album (his fourth solo) is about restraint and storyteller subtexts, while the actual notes—the gently strummed or cascading hooks—can take up residence inside your head for days. The whole thing stings and hums and lasts, just like great fiction.

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