PURE POP FOR NOW PEOPLE by Nick Lowe (1978) An amazing record. Lowe couples well played radio ready pop music in a variety of different forms with the most bizarre surreal lyrics, a mishmash of weird stories and tongue and cheek humor. Lowe is a brilliant songwriter. He is “nutted by reality”. I wrote more about this record here http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2009/03/30-years-of-pure-pop-for-now-people.html
CALL ME by Al Green (1973) Green’s remarkable run of great records from the late 60’s to the early 70’s was capped by CALL ME his highwater mark. His voice massages, pulls, and works the music whether it be a cover version (“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”) or an original (“You Ought to Be With Me”) and his backing band is incredible.
ALL MOD CONS by The Jam (1978) Hard to pick one great Jam album as I think all six of their records are brilliant but this one is probably Paul Weller’s best collection of songs. They show all of his ever changing moods, his updating of Ray Davies as a slightly harder lyricist, and his unswerving faith in rock and roll as tradition, as a non-hypocritical way of telling the truth about what’s going on. Plus as a trio they really rocked.
I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT by Richard and Linda Thompson (1974) Thompson’s songwriting is front and center here. Less guitar solos, spare backing. The songs’ despairing outlook on life might be an influence of British folk or something more original, a harbinger of punk to come. Linda and Richard’s voices are excellent conveyers of emotion and Richard does a good job writing in Linda’s “voice.”.
PINK FLAG by Wire (1977) Short does not necessarily mean simple as Wire packs amazing lyrical and musical complexity into the briefest of tunes, cold, compelling and vital. The Minuteman based much of their career on this record.