Nick Lowe: At My Age 

The first thing to notice about Nick Lowe's new CD, At My Age, is the cover art: a drawing depicting Lowe with a head of snowy white hair.

Lowe is 58 now. It's been over 30 years since he released his first solo single. Back then, he was leading the charge of "New Wave" music along with Elvis Costello, Dave Edmunds and Rockpile and Little Village.

Now, as Lowe is approaching senior citizen status, At My Age seems an appropriate album title. He's older and, by design, his music has aged too.

Quoted in a recent New York Daily News article, Lowe said, "I didn't want to become one of those thinning-haired, jowly old geezers who still does the same shtick they did when they were young, slim and beautiful."

That's not the case on this CD. His catchy phrasing, wit and sarcasm are still evident, especially on "I Trained Her to Love Me" and "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day." However, the album feels overproduced.

The tunes on At My Age are layered under added strings, horns and other effects that detract from the basic song. With all that lush styling, you'd think these were songs for someone, um, around Lowe's age.

He has not lost his songwriting touch, however. The album opens on a high point with "A Better Man." On it, Lowe sings, "In my life I've done things I'm not proud of / And too often watched my dreams turn to sand / But it looks like I might have turned a corner / You make me want to be a better man."

It's a song you will be happily humming later, and that's what you'd expect from Lowe. Unfortunately, it's the exception on this album. All the other songs feel weighed down by extra embellishment they don't need.

Maybe I'll be able to appreciate this phase of his music career when I'm more mature myself. Until then, I'll keep listening to his older stuff. At my age, Lowe's "same shtick" is fine with me.

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