Albums inspired by a musical artiste coming to terms with impending old gitdom are understandably charged affairs - either packed to the brim with miserable drones about illness, death and income tax or ill-advised attempts to have a go at whatever their kids are listening to that week. Here then are five notable “midlife crisis” albums.
Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications: Take one wrecked marriage, a chance meeting with world’s most aggressive producer Steve Albini and a desire “to rock before my bits fall off” and his newly arrived facial hair starts to make total sense. Jarvis says the song, “Caucasian Blues”, is “an attempt to understand the pain of a man whose Honda Goldwing has run out of petrol” which, if you’re talking midlife euphemisms, is pretty much unassailable in our book.
Nick Cave - Grinderman: Four hairy-nosed blokes don’t wash, sleep or eat properly for months then lock themselves in a small room stuffed full of amps that start at 11. Proceed to bitch eloquently about their lack of upendage: “I combed the hairs across my head, I sucked in my gut and still she said, ‘I don’t want to.’” Come out with massive headache and the odd black eye.
Kevin Rowland - My Beauty: Eileen long gone, the forty-something Dexy’s leader is living in a squat, penniless from a tax bill and the hooverage of Pyrenean-sized piles of gak. Cue a covers album that comprises Kev adding his confessional lyrics to classic pop songs, “that happened to speak to me at a crisis point in my life”. Uh oh. On release it sells 500, count ‘em, copies. Take a look at the cover for possible reason why.
Sting - Songs From The Labyrinth: Only Sting’s midlife crisis album could be a more scholarly affair than Stephen Hawking’s schooldays. Elizabethan era "epics" about the king of Denmark and the Earl of fucking Essex. Performed on the lute. That’s one more 200mph supercar parked forlornly in the showroom instead of in a swimming pool, one plasma telly still pristine on its stand in a Swiss hotel bedroom.
David Bowie - Earthling: Original silly old sod sticks britpop union jack on expensive frock coat and engages in heroic/ daft drum and bass experiment after one too many nights out with new bezzie mate Goldie. Has form in this department having released the Ozzy Osbourne-in-a-suit-and-tie racket of Tin Machine a decade earlier. Earthling contains one true claim to fame: "Telling Lies" becomes the first ever downloadable single by a major artist.