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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Feb 2019 > Don’t Look Back In Anger

Don’t Look Back In Anger

WRONGLY PEGGED AS AN ‘ANGRY YOUNG MAN’, THE EVER-RESTLESS SINGER-SONGWRITER JOE JACKSON HAS DELVED INTO EVERYTHING FROM POWER POP TO JAZZ AND CLASSICAL. NOW HE’S BACK WITH A FRESHLY-MINTED NEW ALBUM AND A TOUR CELEBRATING HIS LAST FOUR DECADES.

Joe Jackson doesn’t strike you as someone who’s all that bothered about anniversaries, preferring to remain in the present rather than return to the past. But 40 years after his debut album, Look Sharp!, perceptively described by eminent critic Greil Marcus as “clean, fresh and just a bit mean”, he’s decided to indulge himself in a spot of nostalgia – on his own terms, of course.

Firstly, there’s a rather brilliant new release, Fool, followed by a spring tour that will mine five albums – each representing a decade – for material. He’s also promised to “throw in a couple of songs from other albums and some new covers”. Jackson explains: “When I realised that it was going to be 40 years since the first album, I didn’t really know what to do because it was shocking.

But then the more I thought about it, the more I reasoned, ‘Well, there’s no point pretending it’s not happening.’ So, if we could use it in any way to celebrate the fact that I’m still around, and have a new album coming out, then we might as well. But it’s not like I haven’t played live in 20 years and it’s some big comeback, because I never went anywhere.” Indeed he didn’t. Since his 80s chart apogee, Jackson has continued to turn out an estimable body of work that has strayed from the post-punk zeitgeist of his early releases onto more elevated terrain, including a tribute to jazz great Duke Ellington and a Grammy Awardwinning symphony.

So, how does he judge his evolution over the past 40 years?

“I just think I’ve got better. I mean, in some ways I feel it’s undeniable. I’m a much better singer, a much better piano player than when I started. I think I’m a better songwriter as well, but, you know, that’s subjective. And you’re always up against the nostalgia factor, where people will say, no matter what you do, ‘Oh, it’s not as good as the first album.’ I don’t lose sleep over it. I’m very much thinking about what I’m doing now and what I’m going to do next, always.”

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About Classic Pop

Issue 49 is on sale now! For our first issue of 2019 we put our head in the lion’s mouth to count down the Top 40 most important pop artists of the 80s. Will your favourite come away with the spoils? As ever, this issue is packed with great interviews including a very rare chat with Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon and we catch up with Joe Jackson as he celebrates 40 years in music with a new album and tour. We meet Dido who is returning to the pop fray and we also feature must-read interviews with Tracey Thorn, Tanita Tikaram and Ladytron. Depeche Mode’s troubled masterpiece Songs Of Faith And Devotion is our classic album and we also serve up a buyer’s guide to punk-pop pioneers Squeeze. As well as our essential round-up of what to look forward to in the pop world in 2019, we take one last look back at 2018 with our second Classic Pop Reader Awards. Our packed reviews section features the remarkable comeback by The Specials alongside new albums by Ian Brown, The Beat featuring Ranking Roger, White Lies and UB40 plus a reissues section that includes Prince and David Sylvian on vinyl, a comprehensive Paul Young singles boxset, Buzzcocks, Bananarama and much more. On the live front, we review gigs by Adam Ant, All Saints, Lily Allen and more.