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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Convincer
Format: Audio CDChange
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon September 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Nick Lowe was one of the pioneers of new wave music. He wrote scathingly witty songs that were delivered in a power pop, punkish tones. In recent years he has moved away from that sound and developed into something of a balladeer. The Convincer is full mellow songs crooned by Mr. Lowe. His voice has become more and more of an instrument over the years. Despite the change in styles, Mr. Lowe has retained his wry sense of humor and sharp wit. "Bygones (Won't Go)", "I'm A Mess", "Lately I've Let Things Slip", "Let's Stay In & Make Love" and "Only A Fool Breaks His Own Heart" all retain that classic Lowe writing style. He does an elegant version of Johnny Rivers' "Poor Side Of Town" which may be the best song on the disk.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
This is, first of all, just a great album. If you had a choice, I might recommend "Dig My Mood" first, because that album reaches incredible heights that aren't quite hit with this one, but I have no complaints--this is wonderful songwriting, and the performances by Lowe and his band are of such sublime subtlety. Getting old sounds great here, if it means you can be relaxed and precise, spontaneous and controlled, all at once.
I keep wondering, though, what the hell everybody means by saying this album "completes the trilogy"? Did Lowe ever announce he was doing a trilogy? Did he map out these three albums (with "Impossible Bird" being first, then "...Mood" then this) in advance? Is he finished now, and is planning to move to a new genre? Is he retiring? From what I can tell of his compositional method, he writes and records his albums a song at a time. If his muse gives him another song in this style, is he going to say, "Oh well, I'm done with all that with the completion of my trilogy, so I guess I'll just send this song along to Solomon Burke or someone else."
Well, I hope not. Bring on the four-peat! This is a great, classic musical model that Lowe can do for the next 25 years as far as I'm concerned.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
He's so funny, that Nick Lowe. Gets wittier and drier with every album. I thought Dig My Mood had plumbed the depths to which the deserted male could sink, but The Convincer is colder, leaner and wrings out every drop of feeling like twisting an old dishcloth.
The killer has to be "Lately I've Let Things Slide". "That untouched takeaway/ I brought home the other day/ Has quite a lot to say..." Just what kind of emotional state is this poor man in? What on earth happened between him and Carlene, or whoever she was? We've all been there but, dearie me, there's a lot to learn from these wretched accounts.
Obviously hanging out with Dan Penn has honed Nick's skill even further. The imagery is plainer, more direct . In "What's Shaking on the Hill" ten years earlier, Nick 's lovelorn dilemma was described in terms of social exclusion. Now it's all down to laundry baskets and dirty shirts.Johnny Rivers' "The Poor Side of Town" is a classic, a familiar tale of a lover reclaimed. In "Has She Got a Friend?" we find our hero standing on the sidelines at an early '60's dance, the oh so-nearly nicked guitar phrase from "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" giving the game away. But there is a pared down economy in the writing and a rare tenderness in the vocals on everything here. He is becoming the song writing great he once parodied and every nuance of meaning is carefully delivered.
This new album may not have the comprehensive dazzle of Dig My Mood, but it certainly digs deep. It's leaner, starker and even more - well - hopeless. I'm convinced.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
As with his previous works Nick Lowe delivers a set of brilliantly crafted songs dealing with ups and downs of life and relationships.
This set is darker than his more optimistic last studio work Dig My Mood, but employs the same uncluttered production and instrumentation.
The lyrics and sentiment are crystal clear whether in the relatively dark Homewrecker, the elated She's Got Soul or tender Let's Stay In and Make Love. Another jewel is Indian Queens with a subtle historical touch. The Convincer is a fine example of contemporary song writing with pop and country undertones highlighting concise writing and emotional strength. If already a Lowe fan you'll enjoy. If new to this work I'd take the chance and buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2002
Format: Audio CD
If I could write as well as Nick Lowe, this review would only be about 20 words long, but would perfectly convey my opinion regarding this CD. Unfortunately, there's only one Nick Lowe! After hearing "She's Got Soul" on our local alternative radio station, I bought this CD, and it's now a favorite! Nick has such a way with phrasing - "no one can wreck a home better than you can, and I should know, cause I'm a homeless man" from "Homewrecker", and "smoking I once quit, now I've got one lit, I just fell back into it", from "Lately I've Let Things Slide" are just two examples. Clean production, catchy melodies, and Nick's voice - sounding like he's telling you his deepest secrets - perfection!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is Nick the well-dressed, elegant charmer -- Nick the knife is long gone. No remakes of "So It Goes" or "Marie Provost" here; he sticks close to the torchy, country- and soul-derived crooning of *Impossible Bird* and *Dig My Mood.* This is an album of mellow pleasures, for better or worse. Its fairly soundalike, and a few of the songs seem slight, but the band and Lowe are in great spirits.
Strangely, this record picks up considerably on the second side -- special highlights for me include Johnny Rivers' "Poor Side of Town," "Bygones Won't Go," "Lately I've Let Things Slide" and of course, the damn-near-perfect love song "Let's Stay in and Make Love."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Convincer, after Dylan's Love and Theft and Lucinda Williams's Essence, may be the most indispensable CD of the year for people of -- let's say -- a certain age who still buy pop CDs. (Tony Bennett's Playing with My Friends and Leonard Cohen's Ten New Songs are not far behind.) Lowe is tired (I'm a Mess), has seen it all (Indian Queens), been both betrayed and betrayer (Homewrecker), but in these snapshots from mid-life, he's also come through wiser, still battling, still a bit of a romantic, and with plenty of life ahead. Among the many highlights are Lately I've Let Things Slide, Indian Queens, the remake of the wonderful Poor Side of Town, Bygones (Won't Go) and the lushly romantic Let's Stay In and Make Love. Written in the 40's and sung by the likes of Nat King Cole (the comparison by the Amazon reviewer is totally apt) these songs would have been called standards. Today they are fine pop crooning. Since you'll never hear them on tightly compartmentalized radio stations, getting the CD is your only option. Do it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2001
Format: Audio CD
With its mood-setting cover shot of a dapper-suited, laid-back Lowe, "The Convincer" completes a trilogy of darkly soulful albums that began with 1994's "The Impossible Bird." Minus the rockpile-driving pub rockers of yore but still marked by Lowe's trademark adroit wit, these songs smolder and sting with the pain of human experience. From the bitter "Homewrecker" to the lamentable "Only a Fool Breaks His Own Heart" to the slinky "Let's Stay In and Make Love" to the wistful "Lately I've Let Things Slide" ("There's a cut upon my brow / must've banged myself somehow / but I can't remember how"), these are well-chiseled portraits of lives that have been lived. Lives that only someone with Lowe's whitened thatch could understand. Some of these tracks sound like long-forgotten classics, particularly "Indian Queens" and "I'm a Mess." Of course, one song is a long forgotten certified classic, Johnny Rivers' "Poor Side of Town," and Lowe delivers it in a mellifluous, heartbreaking croon. Years ago, Lowe posed the question, What's so funny about peace love and understanding? On "The Convincer," he's finding his answer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Well, I've read the reviews, and while I do comprehend the issues you raise, and can even agree with some of them, I think you are all missing the point. We can't expect Mr. Lowe to merely rehash his old catalog nor ask him to be inspired by an old muse. Instead, let us allow him to unfurl and continue his musical saga.
Though I too would love him to put out a more rockin' album, I like this one quite a bit. In fact, I like it better than "The Impossible Bird" myself, which I liked as well. It is very laid back, but has some cool songs on it. I think it's one of those records that if you leave it in your player for a couple of days, it really grows on you.
The opening cut "Homewrecker" is a nice one, very subtle. "Only a Fool" has a wonderful hook to it and is quite catchy. "Lately...Slide" is a nice mid-tempo number, kinda old-school-country. Upon first listen I felt "She's Got Soul" was rather weak, but I've come to like it. "Cupid Must Be Angry" is a great song, man! Don't let the mellow mood of this record put you off such great ones. The old Nick shines through on this one for me.
I for one like his version of "Poor Side of Town", but I also may not be "cool" since I wouldn't bother slamming Johnny Rivers either. "Between Dark and Dawn" is another beautiful song that, if given the chance, could compete with any of his compositions. I also like "Has She Got A Friend" and "Bygones" quite a bit. And I also love the feel of "Let's Stay in and Make Love" - a nice romantic throwback.
All in all this album does blend old country, smooth crooning jazz and pop sensibilities, but should not be brushed off as a lame, tired record. Rather, I prefer to think of it as a mood record. For instance, you don't put in Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" when you wanna rock out, do you? Definitely akin to "The Impossible Bird" instead of his earlier catalog (I don't have Dig My Mood). But just as "Bird" has great songs like "True Love Travels On A Gravel Road", "12-Step Program" and "Soulful Wind", so does this one. Don't insult the man; just give him a chance to work his new spell on you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I first ran into Nick Lowe's music through the band Rockpile, which remains one of my favorite groups/albums. I have a Nick Lowe greatest hits CD, Dig My Moods and now The Convincer.
Not having followed his career extensively, I don't have any pre-conceptions of what his music should sound like -- and I really enjoy this CD.
The arrangements are efficient, i.e. not heavilly produced, but engaging. Nick Lowe's voice is extremely smooth and mellow, and the lyrics tell interesting stories that I will want to listen to more than once. I don't really get the lounge sound comparison in some other reviews, as this recording is just good pop. As in popular music vs. Brittany Spears.
The CD has elements of country, jazz, rockabilly and other musical styles. The style changes from song to song, depending on the instrementation and music used for each song; the common element being Mr. Lowe's very fine voice.
While this record will never sell a gazillion units it is a strong, accomplished piece of muscianship that deserves to be heard. Definitely not for everyone but worth listening to, and buying, for anyone who has varied musical tastes. My only disapointment is that the album isn't a little longer.
Highly recommended.
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