Huey Lewis & The News
BMG Rights Management (US) LLC
It’s interesting enough that Huey Lewis & The News has just released its first new set of original tunes in close to two decades. But it’s bittersweet too – as the frontman’s diagnosis of Meniere’s disease has come to a point where he can no longer hear the music he’s making. Huey’s latest news is that this is quite possibly the last album from him and The News.
It makes opener, While We’re Young, all the more poignant with lines about aging and the concerns of the future and how so much of youth is wasted on the young. These might just be clichéd lines in a charming wee pop-filled soul tune. But with the very real news that this could be the last recording in a four decade career…well…it hits a bit harder. Same with the other bookending track, a country peddle-steel weepie that Lewis wrote for Willie Nelson called One Of The Boys. It creaks along nicely with memories of falling in love with the stagecraft of performing music. Hard to keep your eyes dry really.
There are seven songs here – it’s a mini-album of 26 minutes; the best of what the band had in the can. And it feels like vintage Huey Lewis and The News. Her Love is Killin’ Me takes you right back to The Power of Love and Hip To Be Square and Lewis is in fine voice, just enough gruffness.
I Am There For You is a classic-sounding soul ballad, replete with Steve Cropper-styled guitar licks to lead us into this warm, Ashford & Simpson-esque charmer. Again, you’ll think back to when the band was at the peak of its commercial powers and this song could have slotted right in there on Fore!
Hurry Back Baby (which sounds like late period Stevie Ray Vaughan) and Remind Me Why I Love You Again feel like they might have been sitting on the shelf for 20-30 years; both are mighty fine blues-soul grooves but have rather dated lyrics; Remind Me’s meant to be tongue in cheek of course but lyrics about a woman not being able to use the washing machine or cook and clean just don’t deserve the time of day in 2020, if ever.
Pretty Girls Everywhere, a 1959 hit for Eugene Church, continues the band’s love affair with rock and soul covers (their last album – a decade ago – was all cover versions).
Weather is as good as you could hope for from Huey and his band. A reminder that there was something special about the rock and pop approach to blues and soul – and that even after the elevation of the band in the mid 80s thanks to Sports and then the Back To The Future connection they never stopped working. This latest (last?) album shows that the material never stopped working either. A class act all up, deceptively simple playing that’s always in the pocket and great, great singing.
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