“The Convincer” still holds out for Nick Lowe’s toughest critic – himself


Nick Lowe has the heart of an artist.

This month, the acclaimed singer-songwriter celebrates the 20th anniversary of his album “The Convincer” with a brave reissue. When he originally entered the soundscape, the critically acclaimed LP had it all except timing. “The Convincer” was released on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

The original release may have been overshadowed by international tragedy, but for Lowe, “The Convincer” has aged particularly well. That says a lot for the musician, who has repeatedly proven to be his worst critic. As he told me in a recent conversation, “I really don’t think I’m very good at all because everything is always listening to the beholder.”

In a career that produced the solo hit “Cruel to Be Kind” and, as a mega-anthem for Elvis Costello, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding”, he has had his share of success. . But when it comes to his own work, Lowe keeps coming back to “The Convincer”. He even goes so far as to admit that it is his “favorite record”.

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It is a remarkable admission from the same artist who told me: “I am always disappointed with what I do. It’s never good enough. And I judge every record I’ve made on the degree of failure. By Lowe’s highly critical standard, “The Convincer” does admirably because, in his opinion, “it’s not bad”, making it “the best record I’ve ever made”.

Admitting that he “painted a bit dark picture” of the recording process, much like Nick Lowe, the musician attributes the sonic returns of “The Convincer” to the painstaking experience of his original production. He fondly remembers developing the record in advance with co-producer Neil Brockbank and fellow musician Bobby Irwin, “cheerleaders” who previewed the songs on user-friendly pasta bowls.

By this point, Lowe had already worked hard on the compositions, working until he was able to “take it all out of me” – all “my little tricks and vanities” – until the song was over. been so reduced that he feels “like I’m singing a cover.” It wasn’t until then, when he excoriated all the “flim-flam” and removed the “fat from the bones,” that ‘he believes the song is once and truly written.

“That’s when I love my stuff,” he said, “when I feel like it’s something someone else wrote and I have nothing to do with it. “

As for the studio, Lowe was backed by a superb band for “The Convincer”, with Geraint Watkins on keyboards, Steve Donnelly on lead guitar and Robert Treherne on drums. For Lowe, the studio is all about capturing the moment.

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“What I was trying to do was more akin to making a jazz record,” Lowe said of capturing the best performance in the heat of the moment. “That’s when it turns into a pop record, so you can put on so many overdubs and backing vocals and everything, but the essence of it was alive.”

With the reissue of “The Convincer”, the results speak for themselves. From the opening swagger of “Homewrecker” and the cool optimism of “Let’s Stay in and Make Love”, Lowe’s voice sparkles with gentle confidence. The album is well served by a trio of bonus tracks, including a roaring cover of “Mama Said” and “A Different Kind of Blue”, Lowe’s revealing take on his creative state of mind.

With albums like “The Convincer”, Lowe found himself “excited again”, as if he was dealing with “something we had never heard before. It’s all been done in pop music,” observes he says, but “I always want to do something that creates a whole new sound”, even though it can invariably fail. In songwriting, Lowe reminds us that “it is the cross that you must carry”.


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