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Five Lloyd Cole songs you need to hear (and he might play this Saturday night at the Rio Theatre)

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A request letter from a longtime fan

Hi Lloyd,

Longtime fan here. It’s been awhile since you’ve come through town, and I’m looking forward to the show this Saturday night (June 18). Best of all: it’s within walking distance of my home, and over by 11! My kind of rock show, these days.

Anyway, I read on the Rio Theatre’s website that you’re restricting the songs in your setlist on this tour to 1983-1996. Sounds good to me! If you get a chance, I wouldn’t mind hearing the following. Perversely, there’s only one from Commotions-era, maybe because I’ve played all that stuff to death.

“Jesus Said”

Always loved this one. One of your best b-sides, I used to play this to death along with the other b-side track (a different take on “Perfect Blue”on the Brand New Friend 12”). It’s got this lovely, lilting melancholy thing going on. It takes me back to my first apartment, the only place I’ve ever lived in with wainscotting.

“Ice Cream Girl”

Your first solo album always takes me back to the run-down bro-house I lived in when I first moved to Vancouver. From that album, “Ice Cream Girl” always had a certain something that stood out – a kind of carefree, beret-and-Gitane kind of thing maybe. I never much cared for the line “You want to crucify my feelings with your fingernails” (a bit over the top!) but I love the one that follows: “And leave the loneliest boy in the Western world/Cruising the streets for an ice cream girl.” Also: great Robert Quine guitar solo.

“Wild Orphan”

Another great b-side, this one from 1990, the b-side to “No Blue Skies”. Best line: “You look a little like Jodie Foster/Twelve years old but your eyes are 35.” Beautiful melody, fabulous strings and another mellifluous guitar line from Robert Quine.

“Morning is Broken”

A powerful album opener (from 1993’s Don’t Get Weird On Me, Babe). One of my favourite songs in the “cad-gets-his-comeuppance” subgenre. Yet we never learn.

“Like Lovers Do”

Love the word-pictures (“Julia came/Eating a tangerine/Friday the third/Four thirty/She tore out a page/Of a magazine/And she went away/Like lovers do”) on this Love Story (1995) track, and its general feel of “That’s Life“-type sangfroid.

And a sixth bonus request if you’re feeling generous even though it’s from 2002…

“Fool You Are”

Another rain song! You know what I’m talking about. Still, one of your best, I think. Love the chorus: “The fool you are in Manchester/The fool you are in Maine/The lies you tell in Liverpool/Will follow you to Spain.” There’s even a mention of London, Ontario!

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