Colin Hay

Are You Lookin' at Me?

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Colin Hay wrote and recorded steadily since his departure from Men at Work in the mid-'80s, but he never quite managed to break out of cult status. He good-naturally resurfaced in sitcoms and videos of covers of Men at Work tunes, so he never totally disappeared from pop culture consciousness, but his albums appealed to an ever-more selective audience as he released them independently throughout the '90s. Released in the spring of 2007, Are You Lookin' at Me? is his ninth solo album, but there is a difference in his approach on this record. Here, he sounds relaxed, comfortable with his status as a cult singer/songwriter, so he's not trying to have hits or sound hip, he's simply lying back and writing songs that are wry, easy, and quite charming. There are some echoes of mortality that ring throughout this record -- from the title track, which looks back at his childhood, to passing references to death, or even his acknowledgement that he doesn't think there are better days to come on "Land of the Midnight Sun" -- but this is hardly a dour, depressive album. It's the opposite: it's warm and witty, tuneful and engaging. Even when he's mining a sad vein, he tempers it with his mildly cynical humor, which gives this a distinct lyrical world view, but what really sets Are You Lookin' at Me? apart from his other solo albums is that it gels as a singer/songwriter album. He's no longer trying too hard to be either commercial or introspective; he's letting his music flow easily, and supported by a very good road band, it makes for his best solo album to date.

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