May 16, 2009

The Songs I Cannot Live Without, #2


Lloyd Cole and The Commotions' My Bag is a pop song for linguists. I've always loved a lyric that was constructed like a puzzle (think REM's It's The End Of The World...). There are plenty of Lloyd Cole songs that affect me on a more emotional level; Jennifer She Said, No Blue Skies, Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken are all stunning. But My Bag is unique. At the time of its release, the single was a radical change in style from the previously alternating jaunty/morose tunes of this Scottish band (Cole is British).

No less than François Kervokian remixed it and the video linked below is all "face," mimicking the stunning cover for the Mainstream album, above, released in Fall 1987. When he was young, Lloyd had an extraordinary face. All cheekbones, deep-set eyes and alabaster skin set against shiny black hair. The scan above is poor, with scratches on the sleeve where it should be all back.

Absurdly, the TV performance versions of this song replaced the line "excuse me one moment whilst I powder my nose" with "excuse me one moment whilst I launder my clothes." Almost as inane, the record label has disabled embedding for this video (thanks, how helpful), but...

the My Bag video is here

Lloyd Cole My Bag

Hey, I was walking my bag
through a 20-story nonstop snowstorm
Pirrelli calender girls wrestling in body lotion
My head's swimming with poetry and prose
Excuse me one moment whilst I powder my nose
Me and my good thing are about as close as can be
We gave up sleep at the age of 17
My world's getting bigger as my eyesight gets worse
I can't see the lines on my idiot board
What above love?
I don't let that stuff in my house
This is the glamorous life, there's no time for fooling around

Lord have mercy I know what I'm doing
I don't need an alibi, I need a fire escape, an open window
It's my problem, nothing I can't deal with
I'm not chasing anything, just jogging baby
What's your bag?

Hundred million dollar jam
Got some traffic yessir in my nose
Motorcycle speed cops burning up my dust roads
My baby left me heck ain't that a shame
She's over in the corner with my new best friend
I'm doing fine with my whiskey and wine
And meet me in the john john, meet me in the john john

Lord have mercy I know what I'm doing
I don't need an alibi I need a fire escape and an open window
It's my problem it's nothing I can't deal with
I'm not chasing anything just jogging baby
What's your bag?

Spin spin whiskey and gin I suffer for my art
Bartender I got wild mushrooms growing in my yard
Fix me a quart of petrol ooh clams on the half shell
Feels like prohibition, baby give me the hard sell
More give me more, give me more more more
I'm your yes man, yes maam, I'm your yes man

Lord have mercy I know what I'm doing
I don't need an alibi I need a fire escape, an open window
It's my problem, nothing I can't deal with
I'm not chasing anything just jogging baby
What's your bag?

_________________________________

My Bag is available on most iTunes. It's from the group's 1987 near-perfect album, Mainstream.

Below is a photo taken a few years later, in 1989, for the art supporting his first solo record. He is 28 here and almost looks like he is - which he is not - a mix of Scottish and Native American. Beautiful boy.

3 comments:

Michael said...

Lloyd Cole was not blessed with the greatest voice but his songwriting is amazing.

Haven't really followed him in recent years, unfortunately.

Matt said...

Of course Tori covered this hotness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMbBrzjoTw

Yeah, Lloyd was the less poppy Morrissey, but the same floppy black hair/literate artfag in a sweater that made my teenage heart go all a-flutter.

I also throw Roddy Frame/Aztec Camera in the group too; looooove this song as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3JAC7oeX8U

Vinny Vero said...

"Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken" and "My Bag" are two of my LC&TC faves. Have you ever heard Sandie Shaw's version of "...Heartbroken"? Phenomenal!