Daniel Handler, And His Friend, On The New Lloyd Cole Album

I gave her the new Lloyd Cole album.

I told her the same thing I’m telling everyone: Listen to it.

A few days later she called me up. I was going across the bridge, she said, with the traffic trudging along and the dark all over the windows and the buildings full of people working late.

The usual, I said.

It wasn’t the usual, she said. I mean, I was going through a bad time, but right then everything fit. It all fit together.

So it’s all right?

It’s better than all right. It’s fantastic. The strum and the noise, the rhythm and the twang, the whisper and the growl, the whole thing. The way it’s smart without being arrogant and sad without being creepy. It sounds so careful but so free, like you can hear it alone in your living room or crowded up in a club. I was going across the bridge in the night and every moment the balance was right, each new verse curling into the chorus, like strong coffee, strong tea, strong whiskey, like talking it over with a friend and hearing everything startling and familiar.

You like it?

Damn right I like it, she said. The whole thing. Heartbreak, misery, loneliness. All the cynical dreams and the bitter longing, all the glory when it all goes wrong, all the sadness in every smile. The lyrics and the music. It’s the best since–

Don’t say Rattlesnakes, I said.

It’s the best since forever, she told me. It’s not the usual. A great night listen, driving on a bridge. Great in the daytime sitting around the house. With friends, by yourself, happy at the world or sad how it all turns out.

Lloyd Cole, Broken Record.

You can say that again.

Lloyd Cole, Broken Record.

Lloyd Cole, Broken Record, she said. It’s a great time.

Publication date: 26/01/11