After Mainstream, Lloyd Cole broke up The Commotions, moved to New York City, grew his hair long and started recording his first solo album with a bunch of ringers.
Said ringers included known quantities like former Material drummer Fred Maher & ex-Voidoid Robert Quine, who first intersected on Lou Reed’s Legendary Hearts album, and Blair Cowan, who was the Commotions keyboardist. And on bass and backing vocals, Matthew Sweet, who was still a year away from taking essentially the same band and making Girlfriend.
You can hear it all on the opening track, the sad, elegiac “Don’t Look Back,” a song about being afraid of growing older, an appropriate topic for a man starting his life over as he pushed thirty.
When you’re nothing to no one
And you’re less than you can
And you’re looking for someone
Who won’t cling to anything
So you’re stuck in some motel
With the sound of her sleeping
Don’t you feel kinda old now
Well ain’t that a funny thing
But of course, what really made “Don’t Look Back” sing was the variety of Robert Quine guitar fills, Blair Cowan’s everpresent organ, and Matthew Sweet’s gorgeous “hahhhaaaaaahhh” backing vocals after every chorus.
“Don’t Look Back” would have probably worked just fine with The Commotions, but it also made those of us sad that he broke them up less worried about who he was going to be as a solo artist.
“Don’t Look Back”
“Don’t Look Back” Performed Live, 1990
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