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Nick Lowe - The Convincer (20th Anniversary Reissue) Music Album Reviews

Nick Lowe - The Convincer (20th Anniversary Reissue) Music Album Reviews
A new reissue of the the master craftsman’s 2001 album offers the quintessential portrait of his third act, showcasing a fascination with the places where genres intertwine.

Nick Lowe was never known for his finesse. They called him “Basher” back in the days when he produced seminal records by the likes of Elvis Costello, the Damned, and the Pretenders. Most of the time, he was satisfied after the first or second take, moving on to the next thrill, a breakneck pace reflected in the music he made with and without his band Rockpile during the late 1970s. His tempos were reckless, his hooks were heavy, and he relished every harmony and joke. On the back cover of his 1978 solo debut Jesus of Cool, Lowe sported a replica of the Riddler outfit from the 1960s Batman TV series, and the suit fit: He was a pop prankster on the run from sincerity and maturity.

Time waits for no one, and, after his pop stardom slipped away during the 1980s, Lowe decided to act his age. A quick glance at the album cover for The Convincer, Lowe’s newly reissued 2001 album, conveys just how many years had passed since he was a shaggy-haired scamp, cracking wise about how it’s “Cruel to Be Kind.” Staring directly at the camera, bearing a wry grin, Lowe is clean-cut, grey, and dapper: The rock’n’roll ruffian has turned into a debonair charmer. Musically, The Convincer is the quintessential album of Lowe's third act. Its unfussy, minimalist production enhances the deliberate craft of its songs: There are no unnecessary elements, only what’s needed to bring the song to life.

Discussing his creative approach at the time of The Convincer’s release, Lowe told No Depressions’s David Cantwell, “I work on it like mad until it feels like I’m singing someone else’s song and I can take any kind of liberty with it I want.” Cover songs have long been a trademark of Lowe’s work, and the selections of “Only a Fool Breaks His Own Heart,” originally cut by jazz singer Arthur Prysock and popularized by the calypso vocalist Mighty Sparrow, and Johnny Rivers’ “Poor Side of Town” serve as mile markers, illustrating where Lowe had been and where he was headed. Both of the songs date from the middle of the 1960s, right in the swinging heyday of the British Invasion, but they speak to a time when professional songwriters composed malleable standards that would sound good in the hands of pop, country, or R&B singers. Lowe aimed for this sweet spot with his original material, echoing the stylish, composed lilt of the Brill Building while incorporating the homespun craft of Nashville's Music Row.

Lowe wasn’t interested in stylistic exercises; he wanted to find the places where different genres intertwined. Underneath Lowe’s pre-Beatles craft, his band cooks with the simmering intensity of Memphis soul. The smoldering opener “Homewrecker” makes this influence plain, unfolding in suspended tension until the southern groove snaps it into focus. Lowe’s compositions play to these juxtapositions: Witness how the surly “Has She Got a Friend?” gets sweetened by a soaring, soulful bridge that flips the song’s rockabilly on its head. Sometimes, Lowe lets the twists lie within his stories, as on “Indian Queens,” where the narrator recounts misadventure after misadventure. Lowe’s flair for exquisitely rendered details comes to a peak on “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide,” a weary chronicle of a relapse: “There’s a cut upon my brow/Must have banged myself somehow/But I can’t remember now.”

Maybe there's a connection between “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide” and the wild carousing of Lowe’s youth, but the song, while rendered with specific imagery, doesn’t feel autobiographical. He’s not wallowing in the darkness—he’s savoring a song so finely sculpted that he can perform it with the freedom of an actor. In this song, Lowe gives his best vocal performance on record, snarling punchlines (he delivers “Let’s cut to the chase, pal” with barely concealed contempt) and milking drama from even the quietest moments. These are well-worn showbiz tricks that hardly felt modern in 2001, and they sound even more old-fashioned 20 years later on this reissue, accompanied by a bonus acoustic EP (largely covers, all worthy, including the original “Different Kind of Blue”) that was originally included with the album’s first pressing. Still, The Convincer doesn’t seem dated so much as suspended in time. Its mid-century points of reference are so far in the past that they now sound fresh, providing the essential elements for a master craftsman who can carve them into music that only sounds sturdier and more distinctive with time.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Nick Lowe - The Convincer (20th Anniversary Reissue) Music Album Reviews Nick Lowe - The Convincer (20th Anniversary Reissue) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, September 27, 2021 Rating: 5

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