Are you ready to be heartbroken? Rarities, b-sides and covers from seminal eighties songwriter
A box set of with a 59-track collection of b-sides, rarities and covers comes from seminal eighties singer/songwriter Lloyd Cole. Perhaps an unfortunate name for this collection of work as if somehow he were scraping the bottom of the barrel releasing them, which most isn’t the case. The promotional version unfortunately only contains ten of these tracks, b-sides. This is a shame as I was very keen to hear Cole’s covers of Lou Reed, Marc Bolan, Leonard Cohen and Burt Bacharach. I imagine Lloyd would avail himself well of Chelsea Hotel No 2, Children of the Revolution, Vicious, Like Lovers Do and Morning is broken. As it is ‘The L’ Word,’ and ‘She’s A Girl And I’m A Man,’ are familiar openers. ‘Radio City Music Hall’ has a fairly repetitive refrain and the lyrics don’t do him justice. The same is true of ‘Artificial Tears.’ The bluesy ‘Slider,’ is more interesting with searing looping riffs and the snarey percussion compliments his distinctive vocals. ‘The Steady Slowing of the Heart,’ sees him go alt country as he muses on age. Pertinently he declares ‘a crisis in midlife is only natural.’ ‘Julie got a facelift she’s only 33. Jesus may I give thanks for Brigitte Bardot.’ Nice to see he’s still referencing film stars. While ‘Most of the Time’ is as good a b-side as you’re going to get. ‘Claire Fontaine,’ is reminiscent of his earliest work.

I’m not ready to be heartbroken either by the quality or inferiority of this collection. It’s certainly no ’Rattlesnakes’ but perhaps an interesting peek into the man’s back room.

Publication: Subba-Cultcha

Publication date: 14/04/09