Thursday, July 05, 2007

“Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day” / Nick Lowe

It’s hard to pick out just one track to write about from Nick Lowe’s brand-new album, At My Age. As you’d expect from Mr. Lowe, the thing is just chockfull of winning tunes. Still, this unassuming little charmer – and let’s face it, no one does unassuming charm better than Nick Lowe -- has wormed its way into my heart surprisingly fast, and shows no sign of wearing out its welcome.

These days Nick Lowe’s trademark is a laidback, rootsy, less-is-more aesthetic that makes most other music sound fussy and frenetic. On this number, he takes a countrified acoustic tack, spiced with just a touch of horns. (Lotsa horns on this album, which suits me just fine.) Nick’s warm, slightly weathered voice strolls in comfortably: “You don’t know it, but I’ve made my mind up / you’ll wind up / In my arms / First I have to break down your resistance / To my charms.” I have NO resistance to Nick Lowe's charms anyway, but believe me, the light vocal touch he uses on this line is absolutely devastating.

Fiddling with line lengths, letting those rhymes spring up on us, that’s the touch of someone who’s been practicing his craft as long as Nick Lowe has. The whole thing, in fact, is full of easy confidence: “Yes darling, I know it won’t be easy / But I won’t rest until I find a way / Everybody knows that Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Confidence and patience – I’m listening to this, thinking: this is a man who knows how to get to a woman. I suppose I should be scared, given that other song on this album, “I Trained Her To Love Me,” the deliciously snarky confessions of a seasoned cad. But there’s nothing caddish about the way Nick sings this one – just a stubborn conviction that he’s the right guy for her. Or me.

“I’ll offer you protection,” he promises, “Twenty-four-hour loving affection / But it’ll take time to make it right.” Coming from a silver-haired crooner like Nick, that idea of taking time -- not something you often hear in pop songs -- is the voice of experience speaking. I love the fact that the voice of experience is still ready to start new love affairs. Forget that let’s-grow-old-together business; we're still in the market for let's-get-it-on, okay?

With a nod and a knowing wink, he points out, “Just think of what the pharaoh did / When he built his pyramid / Everybody knows that didn’t spring up overnight.” For all we know, Nick is old enough to have watched those pyramids go up. But who’s in a hurry? Not me. I’ll just sit back and listen again, thank you very much. This guy’s really starting to grow on me, y’know?

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day sample


Anonymous said...

Ah yes! A lovely melody and song. Yeah, it's the complete opposite of "Trained Her To Love Me" and quite obvious in Nick's delivery.

It took nearly 6 years for the new record to finally arrive. And it's worth the wait. I think it's my favorite. At least until his next one!

Have a great vacation!


Julie said...

A wonderful song from a great album. I have a new favorite every couple of days, though. The songs are so solid.

Holly A Hughes said...

You know what? It's a genius album. I grow more certain of that every day.