Song of the Day #3,870: ‘Friend Better’ – Joe Jackson

Singer-songwriter and all-around cool guy Joe Jackson has released his first new album in four years. Titled Fool, the record is receiving some of his best reviews in years.

I was actually surprised to see Jackson has been relatively prolific over the past couple of decades. Fool is his sixth release of the 2000s, which isn’t exactly a torrid pace but more than I would have guessed, likely due to a lack of publicity.

My Jackson touchstones are Look Sharp!, his punky 1979 debut, and 1991’s Laughter & Lust, a baroque pop album I discovered around the same time as Elvis Costello’s Spike. I always associated Costello’s album with Laughter & Lust, because of the similar vibes of their cover images and the ambition in the songwriting.

After one listen, I like what I hear in Fool. Appropriately, it strikes me as a cross between Look Sharp! and Laughter & Lust, which should put it right up my alley.

[Verse 1]
Have a drink, have a drink, have a drink on me
I can read what you need ’cause it’s clear to see
So you tried and you tried and you made a mess
Got your pride, let it slide, ’cause I’m not impressed

[Chorus]
If you were to use your head
Then you would, just forget her
Listen what what the wise man said
Lover good, friend better
Lover good, friend better

[Verse 2]
I could swear I was there when you hit the ground
Don’t you care, don’t you care that I’m still around
It’s a fact that I lack certain kinds of charm
Come on strong, get it wrong, but I mean no harm

[Chorus]
If you were to use your head
Then you would, just forget her
Listen what what the wise man said
Lover good, friend better
Lover good, friend better

[Post-Chorus]
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah nah
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah nah

[Verse 3]
Have a drink, have a drink, have a drink on me
Pick a card, any card, it’s your destiny
Took a trip on a ship but you ran aground
I declare sorrow shared is a sorrow drowned

[Chorus]
If you were to use your head
Then you would, just forget her
Listen what what the wise man said
Lover good, friend better
Lover good, friend better
Lover good, friend better
Lover good, friend better

[Outro]
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah nah
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah nah

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,870: ‘Friend Better’ – Joe Jackson

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I just started listening to this album this week and I like what I hear.

    I would add to the albums you mentioned Night and Day, Body and Soul and Big World as part of essential Joe Jackson. Blaze of Glory is also quite good, and Jumpin’ Jive is fun Big Band music.

  2. Jeffrey Nuckolls says:

    On the album Rain there’s a song called Wasted Time. It’s a real stunner.

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