British musician Joe Jackson — not to be confused with the Jackson family patriarch who died earlier this year — has just announced that he’ll release his 20th studio album early next year. It’s called Fool, and it’s the follow-up to 2015’s Fast Forward. Jackson has operated in a ton of different styles over the years, and lead single “Fabulously Absolute” sounds like a mash-up of pretty much all of them. Here’s Jackson reflecting on the creation of the album and his four-decade-long career:
When it looked like I’d be recording in late July and mixing around my birthday, in August, it struck me that the only other occasion that had happened was while making my first album. It still took a while for it to sink in: this would be 40 years on… The road to this album is littered with the wrecks of songs and half-songs that didn’t make the grade. There are eight survivors, which I think is enough. How significant the resurgence of vinyl is, I’m not sure, but I did think of this as an album, with two complementary sides of about 20 minutes each…
I never have an overall theme in mind when I start trying to write songs for an album, but sometimes one will develop. In this case it’s Comedy and Tragedy, and the way they’re intertwined in all our lives. The songs are about fear and anger and alienation and loss, but also about the things that still make life worth living: friendship, laughter, and music, or art, itself. I couldn’t have done this in 1979. I just hadn’t lived enough.
Listen to “Fabulously Absolute” below.
01 “Big Black Cloud”
02 “Fabulously Absolute”
04 “Strange Land”
05 “Friend Better”
07 “32 Kisses”
Fool is out 1/18 via earMUSIC.