M&M by Various ArtistsToday is, of course, the official birthday of one Jesus. However you celebrate it, or don’t celebrate it, I hope it’s a good day for you. Tomorrow is the 5th birthday of my daughter Maddie. Here’s a picture of her and her younger brother. She started the picture, but someone older (not me) finished it off.

I had a rather round-numbered birthday a few days ago. Presents included a print by a local artist, books, and a rather retro music CD. The CD format itself is retro, and not my usual medium for music these days, but this year’s reissue of Nick Lowe’s Jesus of Cool album has enough in the way of artwork, liner notes, etc., for me to ask for it.

The album originally came out 30 years ago. In the USA, it was called Pure Pop For Now People, for fear that the original UK title would offend. Here’s a track that didn’t appear on the album, but appears on the reissue in the form of the demo version. “Cruel to be Kind” includes one of my favorite rock rhymes: “You say your love is bona fide/ But that don’t coincide/ With the things that you do.”

Peace, Love, Understanding: Lost in Translation and Other Covers

I was getting out of a rather grumpy mood until I became aware that Crosby Loggins covered “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” and, like a dumb teenager in a horror movie, had to investigate. Crosby Loggins is the son of Kenny.

Young Loggins (Twiggins, as I can’t help thinking of him) murdered the song in the first week of the MTV show Rock the Cradle. He went on to win, the other finalists being Jesse Money and A’Keiba Burrell-Hammer. Perhaps they should form a trio: Twiggins MoneyHammer.

Twiggins’ is the fourth-best version of the song I have heard. (You shouldn’t have to ask how many versions I have heard). Seek it out if you must. It is described on the show’s site as an “Elvis Costello tune.” Well, in a way it is, but surely someone should have pointed out that it was written by Nick Lowe.

For second place, it’s a close thing between Nick Lowe himself and Bill Murray’s karaoke in Lost in Translation. Bill’s version is dreadful, and brilliantly so.

In first place is the great Elvis. In the video, he is such a desperate nerd that I wonder why I didn’t identify with him more closely at the time.