Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions - 1984-1989 (1989)

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions were a British pop band that formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1982. Between 1984 and 1989, the band scored four Top 20 albums and five Top 40 singles in the UK. After breaking up in 1989, Cole embarked on a solo career but the band reformed briefly in 2004 to perform a 20th anniversary mini-tour of the UK and Ireland.

The band were formed whilst Cole (who was born in Derbyshire, England) was studying at the University of Glasgow. After signing to Polydor Records, the band had a Top 40 hit with their debut single "Perfect Skin" (UK #26) in Spring 1984. Following a near-miss with their second single "Forest Fire" (UK #41), the band released their debut album, Rattlesnakes, in October 1984. Produced by Paul Hardiman and featuring string arrangements by Anne Dudley, the album peaked at #13 in the UK and was certified Gold for sales over 100,000 copies. Although initially thought of as something of a "student bedsit classic", it is now more highly regarded. NME included in its Top 100 Albums of All-Time list, and the title track was later covered by the American singer Tori Amos. The Welsh band Manic Street Preachers included the album amongst their top ten list.

Due to the insistence of their label[citation needed], the follow-up album, Easy Pieces, was produced by Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley (who had previously produced Madness, The Teardrop Explodes and Elvis Costello and the Attractions). Released in November 1985, the album was a much quicker commercial success than its predecessor (entering the UK album chart at #5 and certified Gold within a month). The singles "Brand New Friend" and "Lost Weekend" were the band's first and only UK Top 20 hits (reaching #19 and #17 respectively).

Two years later, the band released their third and final album, Mainstream. Produced by Ian Stanley (former writer and keyboard-player of Tears for Fears), the album peaked at #9 in the UK and was also certified Gold, but contained only one UK Top 40 single, "Jennifer She Said" (#31).

In 1989, the band decided to split up and released a "best of" compilation, 1984-1989, which was their fourth Top 20 album (UK #14) and fourth Gold certification. Following this, Cole embarked on a solo career with the release of his self-titled album in 1990.

On the first two Commotions albums, Cole was the band's main songwriter (though he co-wrote several songs with various bandmembers). The third album is credited to the band as a whole, though Cole remained the sole lyricist. Particularly notable were Cole's knowingly pretentious lyrics (he was studying Philosophy at the University of Glasgow when the band started) and namedropping the likes of Norman Mailer, Leonard Cohen, Arthur Lee, Grace Kelly, Truman Capote, Simone de Beauvoir, Nancy Sinatra, and Eva Marie Saint as well as referring to Sean Penn (somewhat sympathetically) as "Mr. Madonna"

Lloyd Cole (v/g), Blair Cowan (k), Lawrence Donegan (b), Neil Clark (g), Stephen Irvine (d)

Track listing

1. "Perfect Skin"
2. "Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?"
3. "Forest Fire"
4. "You Will Never Be No Good"
5. "Rattlesnakes"
6. "Perfect Blue"
7. "Brand New Friend"
8. "Cut Me Down"
9. "Lost Weekend"
10. "Her Last Fling"
11. "Mr Malcontent"
12. "My Bag"
13. "Jennifer She Said"
14. "From The Hip"


"Jennifer She Said" (Live performance at Wakefield Opera House for 'Rock Steady' TV show 1900)

perfect Skin (Lyrics)

i choose my friends only far too well
i'm up on the pavement, they're all down in the cellar
with their government grants and my i.q.
they brought me down to size, academia blues

louise is a girl, i know her well
she's up on the pavement, yes she's a weather girl
and i'm staying up here so i may be undone
she's inappropriate, but then she's much more fun and

when she smiles my way
my eyes go out in vain
she's got perfect skin

shame on you, you've got no sense of grace, shame on me
ah just in case i might come to a conclusion
other than that which is absolutely necessary
and that's perfect skin

louise is the girl with the perfect skin
she says turn on the light, otherwise it can't be seen
she's got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin
and she's sexually enlightened by cosmopolitan and

when she smiles my way
my eyes go out in vain
for her perfect skin
yeah that's perfect skin

she takes me down to the basement to look at her slides
of her family life, pretty weird at times
at the age of ten she looked like greta garbo
and i loved her then, but how was she to know that

when she smiles my way
my eyes go out in vain
she's got perfect skin

up eight flights of stairs to her basement flat
pretty confused huh, being shipped around like that
seems we climbed so high now we're down so low
strikes me the moral of this song must be there never has been one

julie said we drink far too much coffee
wine and cigarettes and we never get no sleep
i first met them at a riverboat party
both of them were speeding i would say

i lived on the edge of all this indulgence
taking notes and trusting in prudence
julie said to jim why don't we jump in
while the water is cool and we are still friends

some say that they o.d.'d on leonard cohen
well i can see that river whenever i think about them
the river is cruel and the water is deep and blue

i was working then on my great unfinished novel
"please let introduce myself my name is ronald"
i was okay there until i lost my cool
now let me introduce you to the rest of the crew

it wasn't my style to find surf in my eye
it was much more my style to find sand in my eyes

though there is absolutely no truth to be discovered
albeit truth then is nothing to be found
we academics are not easily discouraged
lloyd you know wits they come three to the pound
julie said to jim look at the state we're in
it was never her intention to conclude anything

it wasn't my style to find surf in my eye
it was much more my style to find sand in my eyes
it was just not my style to find surf in my eye
it was much more my style to get sand kicked in my eyes
sand in my eyes

The Best of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

track listing

1. "Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?"
2. "Perfect Skin"
3. "Forest Fire"
4. "Rattlesnakes"
5. "Perfect Blue"
6. "Brand New Friend"
7. "Lost Weekend"
8. "Her Last Fling"
9. "My Bag"
10. "Jennifer She Said"
11. "From The Hip"
12. "Mr Malcontent"
13. "No Blue Skies"
14. "Don't Look Back"
15. "Downtown"
16. "A Long Way Down"
17. "Undressed"
18. "She's a Girl and I'm a Man"
19. "Butterfly"
20. "There For Her"


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