Lloyd Cole's `Love Story' has become a staple listen in my player. Some sweet songs, some characteristically spiky, some not so good, but all told this is a heart-warming package to please all of his fans. A better effort I feel than `Songs in a Foreign Language'. For me his best solo work is on `Antidepressant' - such gorgeous, typically wry and telling, if sometimes too-brief songs, topped off with the exquisite `Rolodex Incident'.
The man's an amazing talent with the range and variety of his output over a very long time, and here his song-writing talent rarely fails him - he is of course outstanding with words. I particularly love `Love Ruins Everything', `Sentimental Fool', and the rocking 'Like Lovers Do'. `Happy for You' finds Lloyd at his most magnanimous - don't worry he says, waving goodbye with a re-assuring `That's the best thing to do, Don't you apologise, You don't owe me'.
Strangely woosy orchestrations on the unappealing twosome `Baby' and `Traffic', but things liven up considerably on the bright and breezy `Let's Get Lost'. The album draws to a quiet close with the reflective and plaintive `For Crying Out Loud'.
Nice orchestrations and Lloyd keeps his idiosyncratic `croaking' to a minimum - that proved a little annoying for me on SIAFL. I feel his warm voice is suited to these laid back and gentle reflections, with the warm and resonant arrangements staying fresh and thankfully short of being lush. A nice sprinkling of more upbeat numbers keeps Lloyd in the groove, and all told a very pleasing set.
Lloyd Cole has never made a mediocre, let alone bad, record. While the lyrical shifts have never been too pronounced (doomed relationships/ unrequited love still features as a trademark motif), each LP has a texture and musical direction that gives it its own discrete quality, even if there may not have been an underlying concept. What makes "Love Story" arguably Cole's best work is that it is simply an album of timeless, excellent songs with no rock posturing ("Bad Vibes") or orchestral excursions (Don't Get Weird On Me, Babe"). Stephen Street's production has that lovely midwifery feel to it: not overly pronounced, just assisting in the delivery of each song's potential. And what a collection of songs: there is not a bad track on this record. The album starts off light, happy even, with the gorgeous Trigger Happy, radio-friendly Sentimental Fool, and self-deprecating Love Ruins Everything, but it doesn't take long before we plunge into the exquisite depths of Cole's melancholia. I Didn't Know That You Care is a take of slumber and depression. Baby lulls you in like a winter hymn. Be There is musically reminiscent of Morrissey's "Vauxhall & I" with a lyrical nod to Neil Young ("Everybody knows that this is nowhere", Cole sings). Unhappy Song has become a live staple; its humorous, fast-paced vocals saving it from over-portentousness. Lead single Like Lovers Do is a stunning tale of lost love and regret complete with wistful backing vocals. Happy For You sees Cole attempting to be magnanimous in a failing relationship, urging the other-half to leave him ("that's the best thing to do"), but the hurt is gently seething in his vocal delivery. Despite its brevity, Traffic has an epic quality to it with lyrics like "The world is very old, and the sky is very high, but we're just traffic in between, you and I"). Let's Get Lost sees Cole at his most country heretofore and manages to be genuinely hilarious, despite declaring, "I was so depressed today". The closer, For Crying Out Loud is almost unbearably sad and poignant, packing an emotional punch which is wrenching, closing the album on a sombre, almost desperate, note. Not a party album then, but a work of great artistic merit with hugely melodic songs that sound as good now as in the height of the Britpop madness when it was released. (The US version incidentally features the more interesting cover depicting a calm sea through a broken glass window.)
A solid album from a highly underrated and amazingly talented musician. With compilations flying around the place one may think that Mr Cole has retired but this 1997 CD is further proof that the gift is still very much alive. I guess as progressions go this CD takes him where he has been heading since the first Commotions album. The road that others have travelled more successfully, such as Chris Issacs, but in doing so have displayed less talent and originality than Mr Cole. There are some wonderful songs as always with biting lyrical observations and the usual self deprecating wit. I didn't know that you cared, Love ruins everything and Like lovers do are the equal of anything else he has done but no truly sublime moments like Butterfly, Cut me Down or Sweetheart. I can't complain - overall this is a very strong album probably his most consistent for a while. If you are a Cole fan its must have and if not - what are you waiting for? Your'e missing out big time. This stuff is real music for big people. Buy it and soak in it, you won't have regrets.
If there are two Lloyd Cole albums to buy, Rattlesnakes is the first and Love Story is the second. "My trademark frown has turned into the strangest easy smile" he sings, encapsulating the difference 11 years have brought. The tales of conquest are now defeats. The sensitive observation is still there but a self deprecating point of view has arrived. "I love your hair" the album starts. In the song Summer Time Blues Lloyd expresses admiration and envy for what might be a younger version of himself - who is robbing him at gunpoint, we learn eventually. The lyrics are exquisite; phrases with two meanings, both appropriate, come in time and again. The music is also a delight; but days later it is the words that stick in your mind.
Probably the best Lloyd Cole solo album - for the quality of the songwriting if nothing else. Why he isn't still revered I'll never understand. Warning - if you've had a recent break up you may want to defer listening to this until you're over it .......
Its a very rounded album but mine has a different cover photo to the above. I bought in 1995 so maybe there are two covers nocking around? He sitting in a check shirt on a white sofa. If you like any of his other stuff you would be mad not to buy it. This and rattlesnakes are up there somewhere.
This album is simply Lloyds best solo effort & whilst several albums after this are very good they never reach the class of Love Story. The guitar & melodies on this album are achingly beautiful with many great memorable lyrics.
An underated album that really should have been more successful.