A YEAR IN MUSIC: LLOYD COLE – Lloyd Cole (The X Album) (1990)

Review by: Charly Saenz

Well Lloyd Cole is not losing his charm with the years. His voice is even better and his sound is even more classic. This album came out in 1990, after the Commotions split up so it’s an important step in his career. 

“Don’t Look Back” is a somehow laid back beginning with that guitar sweetly jangling along and the classic Cole sound all over, but this time with more punch, the voice and sound is more direct. The female chorus marks the melody hook and the lyrics are the now usual pessimist/realistic Lloyd (“I used to wake up early, now it’s hard to sleep”).

“What Do You Know About Love” is a little darker and it’s a gem the Commotions should have recorded. Great vibe and it must be better when heard on the walkman in the rain. Yeah the walkman. “No Blue Skies” is another radio classic and “Loveless” the easygoing ballad about.. “You fall back into the english way of feeling guilt only ‘cause you feel no pain/You’re crying’ and pleading’ and you’re hell just to be with”, I bet you’re singing to yourself, old boy. Or to me, well, who knows.

Things get a little tougher with “Sweetheart” and a bitter but slightly satisfied goodbye (“I got your letter baby the one that said you’ve been loving me too long/Maybe we should kick it in the head”). But the real winner in this album for me is “Downtown”, an amazing, rolling song where the girls sing their lungs out to accompany an infectious chorus, that killer harmonica and the ever present organ. “Undressed” is another stolen Commotions bit, adorable and engaging.

The rest has some filler, here and there, but the guy tries things, “Mercy Killing” is a great ending with an almost psychedelic vibe and that hanging note in the end.

This is, ladies and gentlemen, first class Pop. LOTS OF HOOKS and a fantastic company for your iced tea (it’s hot like hell in here) or a cool Mimosa if you’re more adventurous.

Don’t let it waste with other trash from its time. Lloyd still has a lot to say, he did electronica, instrumental stuff and more these days. This was only the beginning after a great career with the Commotions. Good pop is like the salt of the earth in music. Let’s drink to that.