I know that some of these songs were already posted when I did my Nick Lowe mix during the Halloween Party, but here are his first two albums in their entirety.
Pure Pop For Now People-A/K/A-Jesus of Cool
On the cover of his solo debut album Jesus of Cool, Nick Lowe is pictured in six rock & roll get-ups -- hippie, folkie, greasy rock & roller, new wave hipster -- giving the not-so-subtle implication that this guy can do anything. Nick proves that assumption correct on Jesus of Cool, a record so good it was named twice, as Lowe's American record label got the jitters with Jesus and renamed it Pure Pop for Now People, shuffling the track listing (but not swapping songs) in the process. As it happens, both titles are accurate, but while the U.K. title sounds cooler, capturing Lowe's cheerfully blasphemous rock & roll swagger, Pure Pop describes the sound of the album, functioning as a sincere description of the music while conveying the wicked, knowing humor that drives it. This is pop about pop, a record filled with songs that tweak or spin conventions, or are about the industry. Only a writer with a long, hard battle with the biz in his past could write "Music for Money" and much of Jesus of Cool does feel like a long-delayed reaction to the disastrous American debut of Brinsley Schwarz, where the band's grand plans at kick-starting their career came crumbling down and pushed them into the pubs. Once there, the Brinsleys spearheaded the back-to-basics pub rock movement in England and as the years rolled on the band got loose, as did Lowe's writing, which got catchier and funnier on the group's last two albums, Nervous on the Road and New Favourites of Brinsley Schwarz.
In retrospect, it's possible to hear him inch toward the powerful pop of Jesus of Cool on the Dave Edmunds-produced New Favourites, plus the handful of singles the group cut toward the end of their career -- it's not far cry from the Brinsleys' stomping cover of Tommy Roe's "Everybody" to the shake and pop of Jesus -- but even with this knowledge in hand, Jesus of Cool still sounds like an unexpected explosion as it bursts forth with blindingly bright colors and a cavalcade of giddy pure sound. Lowe is letting his id run wild: he's dispensed with any remnants of good taste -- well, apart from the gorgeous "Tonight," the only time the album dips into ballads -- and indulged in a second adolescence, bashing out three-chord rockers and cracking jokes with both his words and music. This reckless rock and pop works not just because the tracks crackle with excitement -- not for nothing did Nick earn the name "Basher" in this period; he cut quickly and moved on, the performances sounding infectious and addictive -- but because it's written with the skill that Lowe developed in the Brinsleys. He knows how to twist words around, knows how to mine black humor in "Marie Provost," knows how to splice "Nutted by Reality" into a brilliant McCartney parody, knows how to pull off the old Chuck Berry trick of spinning a tune into two songs, as he turns "Shake and Pop" into the faster, wilder "They Called It Rock." That latter bit picks up a key bit about Jesus of Cool -- it's self-referential pop that loves the past but doesn't treat it as sacred. It is the first post-modern pop record in how it plays as it builds upon tradition and how it's all tied together by Lowe's irrepressible irreverence. It's hard to imagine any of the power pop of the next three decades without it, and while plenty have tried, nobody has made a better pure pop record than this...not even Nick (of course, he didn't really try to make another record like this, either). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
1.So It Goes
2.I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass
5.Heart of the City
6.Rollers Show How can you not love a song about the Bay City Rollers?
7.They Called It Rock
10.Nutted by Reality
11.36 Inches High
12.Music for Money
Labour of Lust
Pure Pop For Now People 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
Review from allmusic.com
1.Cruel To Be Kind
3.Big Kick, Plain Scrap
5.You Make Me
7.Switch Board Susan How many dirty phone metaphors can you get into one song?
8.Dose of You
11.Love So Fine