Sunday, January 15th, 2012
"Cruel To Be Kind"
Letters To Cleo cover Nick Lowe
WikipediaFolks of a certain age got an unexpected thrill this past Thursday night when on Parks & Recreation – assuming they were home watching television (or torrenting it for later) – Adam Scott showed up on their screens wearing a Letters To Cleo t-shirt. LTC were never amongst the A-list of the ’90s college rock scene, or even the ’90s Boston college rock scene, but they held a special place in the hearts of fans of scrappy power pop and to see them getting name-checked out of the blue over a decade after packing it in brought on some warm waves of nostalgia.
A wave which has carried me through their back catalog this weekend – 1997’s Go! remains a personal favourite – and to this week’s selection, which may have represented the band’s commercial peak as it appeared on the soundtrack of the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You, which retold The Taming Of The Shrew in modern terms while introducing North America to the charisma of Heath Ledger, the world to the curious woodenness of Julia Stiles, and somehow spawning a television adaptation almost a decade later (which failed badly). Their reading of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” was probably the best known of their four contributions to the soundtrack but I always liked their take on Nick Lowe’s classic single better; it originally appeared on his 1979 album Labour Of Lust, which was rereleased in shiny remastered form last Spring.