Huey Lewis and the News released a new CD called Weather, consisting of seven songs. The story of Huey’s hearing loss is sad. Even with hearing aids, sound can come and go, and turn into just noise.
Hoping to play shows to support the new music, plans were cancelled when his hearing took a turn for the worse.
He lost most of his hearing in his right ear many years ago, so it was his left ear that carried him along. Then the good ear was afflicted with Meniere’s disease,this is hearing loss and dizziness. Trust me, if you lose your inner ear sense of balance, which I did at one time, you’re grounded. Even laying on the floor with your eyes closed, the world spins in unpredictable directions.
That was in 2018 for Lewis, and that grounded the band. The seven songs were in the works at the time and finished up last year.
These new songs are okay, just not the quality of his 1980s hits that ruled the charts. These songs would be second-tier songs on those excellent albums. They are pleasant and familiar, just rather generic, missing the kind of chord progressions and magic that racked up millions of sales. The arrangements are soothing, rocking, reminding you of past sounds.
I listened to these songs a few times, hoping they would grow on me. They did, a little.
Good times, upbeat and familiar sound. That’s the vibe you get from his music, and the base of fans are older and probably enjoying their golden years.
After the Reagan years, Huey Lewis and the News had leaner times. They continued to tour and occasionally release a new record, but like any band from that era, fans want the hits. They want to relive those days, not generally learn new, and less impressive music. Artists know that when they put a new song or two into the live set, those are bathroom break times.
Five of these new songs mine the familiar, mid-tempo pop-rock sound. The first song on the CD, “While We’re Young” is the best. Good choice to lead with a strong contender. Only one of these songs is over four minutes.
“While We’re Young” is a smooth song with punchy horns and a bouncy beat. This song would called Adult Contemporary, meaning it skews to an older crowd.
“Her Love is Killing Me” A bluesy song with 1960s pop organ, harp and driving bass line. A very Huey Lewis song, if there is a mold, this song came from it. Smartly arranged with all the group’s touches, a lot of room for the instruments to show off a bit.
“I Am There For You” A drum machine? Yes. A mellow, slow rocking ballad. Gentle background vocals. The longest song on the disc.
“Hurry Back Baby” Begins with a gritty electric guitar, then shifts into a smooth, mid-tempo, blues groove. Lots of horn and organ, kind of a Chicago-type semi-rocker.
“Remind Me Why I Love You Again” An R&B inspired song, with a sassy vibe bass line and riffing guitar. The challenges of love. Lots of horns.
“Pretty Girls Everywhere” Definitely, a 1950s rocker, straight from the 1950s. Okay. Nothing too special, just a chance to do an early rocker.
“One of the Boys” A country and Western song. Why?
Huey covers the genre bases of his fans.
The musicianship of these songs is first-rate. That’s one thing you can always expect from Huey and the band.
If you read the reviews on Amazon, this CD scored a 4.7 out of 5.0 score. That’s very impressive. It’s tough to sell music these days, especially to the older generation. I know, I’m one.
Should you buy this CD? Most people don’t buy CDs, that why the music biz went into the toilet. Rent the tunes or buy only what you like. Is it worth your while to do so, these are not close to “This Is It” or “Power of Love” but if you like the basic Huey style, this is as close as you are likely to get. With the hearing loss, this is it.