23 October 2008

Kevin Rowland - Young Man


Label: Mercury
Year of Release: 1988

Since it now seems to be considered "modern" and clever to refuse to allow YouTube clips to be embedded into blogs, you're going to have to make do with a link for this one, I'm afraid... as if that makes a shred of difference to the situation apart from inconveniencing you, the reader, by making you browse away, and therefore making you less likely to listen to the song or view the vid.

A rant against controlling YouTube users (or in this case controlling record companies) aside, I've always felt this is one of Rowland's finer moments which went totally unnoticed at the time. The album from which it stems, "The Wanderer", is far from being up there with his best, a fact I'm sure he would even acknowledge himself, but if this your worst then perhaps there's not much point in making an issue out of it. "Young Man" is a very simple and direct message to angry adolescents, self-hating teenagers and youthful misfits everywhere, which is uniquely touching in a way Brian Wilson would kill to be in his old age. There is none of Kev's bitter, world-to-rights ranting here (spectacular though that is) and instead it's replaced with gentle reflection and a very affectionate lyric. "You'll be fine", he reassures the listener, making this the only song I can think of (apart from perhaps Mike Reid's novelty disc "The Ugly Duckling", which we'll overlook) which takes a gentle, reassuring look at mixed-up kids everywhere.

It takes a particular kind of genius to be this direct and simplistic and make it seem insightful, although when he sings lines like "There's no need to be the best at everything you do" you are left wondering just how much of this is biographical. I wish I'd heard this at a difficult age, though - I didn't manage to stumble across this track until I was in my late twenties. Ah well.

And where is that new Dexy's Midnight Runners album, eh?

1 comment:

Paperback Tourist said...

Is this from 'Big Train'?