I came to Lloyd Cole's music late in the game with my first exposure being his 2000 album, The Negatives, which turned out to be a fantastic CD full of anachronistic '80s music. Cole released 3 albums between 1984-1987 (which makes the title of this compilation a little confusing): all 3 charted in the UK, none charted in the US. All albums are represented here: 5 tracks including a b-side from Rattlesnakes (1984), 5 tracks including a b-side from Easy Pieces (1985) and 4 tracks from Mainstream (1987).
It's great guitar-based pop. Cole's gravelly voice isn't my thing and doesn't do his songwriting justice, but what a stellar collection of songs we've got here. The only reason I can figure that he didn't become well-known in North America is the fact that he didn't have enough synths in his band. Either that or his pretentious "literary" lyrics were too much for US teenagers (you know lyrics have to be over-the-top pretentious for me to even notice them) - I never even heard Cole on college radio. The allmusic review of this album compares the music favorably to groups like The Blue Nile, Orange Juice, and The Beautiful South. I never heard of those groups either, so now I'm off to YouTube to give them a listen.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart but the group's 1984 Rattlesnakes album was included in the 2005 edition of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Tracks: My favorites are Perfect Skin, Rattlesnakes, Perfect Blue, Cut Me Down, Mr. Malcontent, and Jennifer She Said. I usually skip Forest Fire
Personal Memory Associated with this CD:None. These songs should have been part of the soundtrack to my college years, but woulda coulda shoulda. Better late than never.
Previously revisited for the blog:
The Negatives (2000)