WHO ARE THEY? Pop-rock’s most faceless superstars. Seriously. Think about it: Over the course of four decades, the San Francisco chart toppers fronted by the former Hugh Anthony Cregg III have sold 30 million albums that notched dozens of hits — I Want a New Drug, The Heart of Rock and Roll, Workin’ For a Livin’, The Power of Love, Hip to Be Square, Stuck With You and plenty more. They’ve also won a Grammy, been up for an Oscar, travelled the world, worked with everyone from Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe to Thin Lizzy, and even been disturbingly namedropped in American Psycho. Despite all that, I bet 99% of their fans couldn’t name a single member besides Lewis or pick any of them out of a police lineup. How they pulled that off, I’ll never know.
WHAT IS THIS? Their 10th studio album, first new release in a decade, first set of original material in nearly twice as long — and very possibly their swan song as well as their comeback album, now that a sudden and very debilitating case of Meniere’s disease has apparently left Lewis unable to sing, record or tour for the foreseeable future.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Exactly what you expect and want from Huey Lewis And The News. Which is to say: A lighthearted, winning slate of instantly familiar singles that bounce between pop, rock, blues, soul, funk, new wave, country and more — but never fail to include a catchy chorus, a hummable melody, some punchy horns and Huey’s blues harp. The only quibble: At seven songs and 26 minutes, it’s basically a glorified EP.
WHAT ARE THE MOST REVEALING LYRICS? “Do you remember when not so long ago / All we had was time / And the future was the last thing on our minds … Now here we are getting older / Wondering what will be / Life is short.”
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Facing The Music seems a little too glum. But Going Out In Style seems like a good fit.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On a playlist with their old hits — which you likely haven’t heard anywhere besides your car radio in decades.
WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Nostalgic, dependable, upbeat, charming, commercial, warm, easygoing, sincere, fun-loving, old-school.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? They’re all totally enjoyable, but the new wave nugget Her Love Is Killin’ Me, the bluesy shuffle Hurry Back Baby, the slinky Remind Me Why I Love You Again and the vintage doo-wop of Eugene Church’s Pretty Girls Everywhere are standouts.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘There is absolutely no earthly reason why these guys should still sound this great after all these years.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? Frequently enough that you’ll end up having to explain it and/or defend yourself to your music-snob friends.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE AN EVENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? A retirement party where you’re legitimately sorry to see the guest of honour ride off into the sunset.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? It’s worth the price — and besides, it’s not like you’ll be giving them that money for a concert ticket anytime soon.