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Colin Hay

Are You Lookin' at Me?

(Compass; US: 24 Apr 2007; UK: 21 May 2007)

Hard to believe, but this marks Hay’s ninth solo record (and first in over five years) since his Men at Work heyday. It’s also his best (and probably one of the year’s best singer/songwriter discs). As opposed to earlier efforts, which sometimes sounded like Hay was trying a bit too hard, Are You Lookin’ at Me? sounds completely relaxed. Accompanied by a sympathetic band, and his wife Cecilia Noel on backing vocals, Hay offers up a collection of gentle, wry songs that show a remarkable lack of regret or bitterness. Starting off with the title track, which charts Hay’s life from childhood through stardom and its quiet aftermath, Lookin’ often touches on age and mortality, and casts an appreciative eye to the past with likable modesty (“I had myself a moment / A day out in the sun”). Stylistically, Hay makes some very nice choices, such as ramping up the horns in “Lose to Win” and “Pure Love”, and arming “This Time I Got You” with Dire Straits-like guitar tone. There are a couple of missteps, most notably the overly jaunty “What Would Bob Do?”, but at its best, Are You Lookin’ at Me? takes on a fluid, organic feel reminiscent of Crowded House.  If only more musicians with memories of superstardom were so well-adjusted.

Rating:

Andrew Gilstrap is a freelance writer living in South Carolina, where he's able to endure the few weeks each year that it's actually freezing (swearing a vow that if he ever moves, it'll be even farther south). Aging into a fine curmudgeon whose idea of heaven is 40 tree-covered acres away from the world, he increasingly wishes he were part of a pair of twins, just so he could try being the kinda evil one on for size. Musically, he's always scouring records for that one moment that makes him feel like he's never heard music before, but he long ago realized he needs to keep his copies of John Prine, Crowded House, the Replacements, Kate Bush, and Tom Waits within easy reach.


Tagged as: colin hay
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Colin Hay performing on Scrubs
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