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Labour of Lust Import

4.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Labour Of Lust
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Audio CD, Import, May 24, 1995
$38.75 $7.50

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Master Producer's second album was a grand overture to the masses who finally caught on to his schtick by reworking basic melody lines and concepts into a new tune with a sense of humour. Includes the Top 40 Hit 'Cruel to Be Kind' (later to be the theme song of the film '10 Things I Hate About You'), 'Cracking Up' and 'Switchboard Susan'. Both Lowe's and Partner-in-crime Dave Edmunds' solo albums at this time were actually fronts for their group Rockpile, which would only have one album issued later under that moniker.

As busy as Nick Lowe was as staff producer for Stiff Records during the late 1970s, it's amazing he had the time to turn out his own impressive collection of work. Labour of Lust, his second album, bristles with sharp, witty lyrics and driving guitars that crackle from crisp, economic playing. It's full of essential, slightly twisted, always amusing three-minute gems such as "American Squirm" (as in, "I made an...") and "Born Fighter." In a perfect world, "Cruel to Be Kind" would have only been the first in a series of Top 10 singles from this record. "Without Love" indicates the country-pop direction he would follow in the '80s, while "You Make Me" and "Without Love" foreshadow the thoughtful, mature approach that characterizes such '90s releases as the superb Dig My Mood. It's simply impossible to recommend this record highly enough. --Percy Keegan

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cruel To Be Kind
  2. Cracking Up
  3. Big Kick, Plain Scrap!
  4. Born Fighter
  5. You Make Me
  6. Skin Deep
  7. Switchboard Susan
  8. Endless Grey Ribbon
  9. Without Love
  10. Dose Of You
  11. Love So Fine

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 24, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Demon Records UK
  • ASIN: B00000117M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,884 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
A local radio station specializing in music of the 60s, 70s and 80s (after recently dropping its 50s playlist and "Oldies" tag) included Nick Lowe and his "Cruel to Be Kind" on a recent "One Hit Wonders" weekend. Technically, that's true I guess. But for those of us whose perspective on rock music goes a bit further than the U.S. Top Forty, Nick Lowe deserves a little more respect and recognition than this benighted station was bestowing.
Anyone with at least a passing knowledge of rock history knows that Nick Lowe was a seminal figure in late 70s New Wave. As a producer, solo artist and band member (Rockpile), his contribution to that underappreciated genre (more tuneful than straight-on punk, truer to the spirit of rock 'n' roll than all that arena rock junk) cannot be emphasized enough. As good a songwriter and performer as Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson, he never got the recognition he deserved--at least on this side of the Big Pond.
"Cruel To Be Kind" was indeed pure pop for now (and "then") people, but the album itself was much rockier, and thematically edgier than the hit single might imply. "Born Fighter," "Switchboard Susan," and "Skin Deep" are bristling rockers. "Big Kick, Plain Scrap," a cooler, slower talk-song is a fairly frank, non-condemnatory drug song (not TOTALLY condemnatory anway) which probably didn't exactly enhance the likelihood of the album's getting more extensive airplay. Neither do the numerous not-so-ambiguous double-entendres in any number of songs on the record.
Nick Lowe seems to be enjoying a comeback of sorts as a dapper elder statesman of rock 'n' roll. I caught him at a festival last summer on his tour backing THE CONVINCER. The audience didn't need much convincing, however. As rockers go, Nick Lowe is the genuine article.
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Format: Audio CD
It says something about the state of the world that this classic pop-rock album is now apparently available only as an import. According to the track listing, this import includes "Endless Grey Ribbon", a B-side ballad not on the U.S. release, but lacks "American Squirm" one of the best songs on the album. If this is true it would be a shame, but if you can't find a used vinyl copy this is still worth it. If the freak hit "Cruel To Be Kind" drove you crazy in 1979-80, songs such as "Cracking Up" or "Dose of You" or "Love So Fine" should take the curse off, and are each worth the price of admission alone. Layered acoustic and electric guitars, snappy melodies, excellent drumming, hooks galore, and (this being Nick Lowe) double entendres, puns and sick jokes all make for a hugely enjoyable, obsessively replayable album. Aside from "Cruel To Be Kind" Lowe's brand of pop irony never caught on with the public, but critics at the time assumed he would continue to release albums of this level of quality. Eleven years later, he did, with Party of One.
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By A Customer on December 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Jesus of Cool was a jukebox, spinning out a series of perfectly crafted - and decidedly quirky and subversive - pop singles. In contrast, Nick Lowe's second album, Labour of Lust, is the work of a bar band, in this case Rockpile, playing the hell out of the same type of songs. Naturally, the result is a more coherent sound that may be a little less freewheelingly eclectic, but it is no less brilliant. Recorded simultaneously with Dave Edmunds' Repeat When Necessary, Labour of Lust benefits from the muscular support of Rockpile, who make Lowe's songs crackle with vitality. Working primarily in the roots rock vein of Brinsley Schwarz but energizing his traditionalist tendencies with strong pop melodies, a sense of humor, and an edgy new wave sensibility, Lowe comes up with one of his best sets of songs. Not only is his only hit, the propulsively hook-laden "Cruel to Be Kind," here, but so are the rampaging outsider anthem "Born Fighter," the tongue-in-cheek, Chuck Berry-style "Love So Fine," the wonderful pure pop of "Dose of You," the haunting "Endless Grey Ribbon," the druggy "Big Kick, Plain Scrap!," and the terrific "Cracking Up," as well as his definitive version of Mickey Jupp's "Switchboard Susan." It's an exceptional collection of inventive pop songs, delivered with vigor and energy, making it one of the great records of the new wave. - Stephen Thomas, AMG
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Format: Audio CD
There is nothing more perfect than that "two minute" beauty. Mr. McMannes said it was easy to write the lengthy drone, but to create the perfect two minute song, well that is brilliance.
I have never understood why Nick Lowe was never embraced as a PopGod kind of guy. Who else writes the best pure pop for now people?
I came to the conclusion that we (ok, society) simply cannot embrace perfection, even broken, while pure and alive.
As usual, the Grand Poets universally embraced all had to die first.
Well, consider your first pilgrimage to a future grave.
But have fun along the way and buy this album.
Even tonight, in a STORE, I heard "Cracking Up," but not from Nick.
It was simply grand.
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