When I Write The Book
Label: Yep Roc Records
Given the scope of his sprawling career, it's impressive how well this double-disc collection captures the varied essence of Nick Lowe. There's the young pub-punk whose biting wit was borrowed by Elvis Costello ("[What's So Funny 'Bout] Peace Love and Understanding"); the mid-career songwriter who made his way through the late '80s with an obsessive interest in Nashville; and the gentlemanly crooner of recent days. At 49 tracks this is a beast, but, by pulling evenly from his catalog, it presents a whole picture of Lowe's pop genius.