Reason #328 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Nick The Knife

nick the knifeI am a big fan of Nick Lowe. Huge. I’m pretty sure I have everything he has ever done, thanks to the internet, Amazon, and a select friend and fellow music fanatic that shall remain nameless. Over the course of Lowe’s career the man has released 13 proper albums, a Christmas LP and at least one official live one. There has been a box set, an album of rarities and 2 official Best Of’s.  In between he has been responsible for producing efforts by Elvis Costello and The Damned, among others, was an integral participant in the great roots rock band Rockpile in addition to being a founding member of the seminal pub rock band Brinsley Schwarz. Oh yes, and in 1985 he formed the supergroup Little Village with John Hiatt, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner. It’s no small exaggeration to say that the man is a genius and should be in everyone’s music library.

Most Nick Lowe albums contain 90%-100% killer tunes, but all contain at least a large handful of classics. His brilliant first albums (‘78’s Jesus of Cool and ‘79’s Labour Of Lust) weren’t released in the ‘80’s, unfortunately, so they won’t be discussed in length here. Luckily there are plenty of quality Nick Lowe albums (5, in total) that were released between the years of 1982-1988 that we can discuss. We might as well go in chronological order and start with Nick The Knife.

Yes, this effort is not as consistently and mind-bendingly great as Jesus and Labour, but it has it’s fair share of tracks that are the equal of the best on those 2 disks. Heart, Burning, Queen Of Sheeba, Too Many Teardrops and Stick It Where The Sun Don’t Shine are all brilliant, and even though the rest may not measure up quality wise, you need to remember just how damn high the man sets his bar of excellence. A sub-par Lowe song is miles better than most artists career high points.

If you’re new to Nick then start with Labour Of Lust, then give yourself over to Jesus, then go in any random order you feel like diving through his discography. By that point it won’t matter. You’ll be hooked.

Resistance is futile.