I came late to the Nick Heyward bandwagon; I wasn’t a Haircut One Hundred fan in the eighties. However, as soon as I heard the song ‘Kite’ I was on board with the quickness. From Monday to Sunday was a Christmas present for me in 1993 (Christmas ’93 in the Kee household was compact disc filled, as I believe I only asked for music). I was immediately enamoured with the album and impressed with Nick Heyward as a pop songwriter. I honestly put Andy Partridge and Neil Finn at the pinnacle of pop song writing, but on this album Nick Heyward writes a pop song as good as anyone ever could. He’s also gifted with a great voice.
The album starts off with ‘He Doesn’t Love You Like I Do’ the kind of unrequited love song that was my life as a teenager. Internal pleading for someone to realize that I was the right person for them, not the one they were with. To no avail, of course. Next up is ‘Kite’, it’s pop brilliance shines through like a 90’s Penny Lane. A well-crafted song that drew me in and rewarded me with a brilliant album. It was also able to remind me that I, too, was young and far too serious. And I’m a sucker for violins.
‘Into Your Life’ continues the Beatlesque comparisons then continues to ‘Caravan’ and ‘Ordinary People’ songs that means more to me as a forty-something than an early twenty-something. Even then, though, I could still respect the great song writing. More reflective comes the song ‘How Do You Live Without Sunshine’, which takes on the love song from a different angle. It’s an unrequited love song that remains upbeat, despite its nature.
As much as I think ‘Kite’ is a perfect pop song, it was ‘January Man’ that made this album for me. Like many people of my generation, I made many mix tapes in my day (which later became mix cds). Unlike Peter Quill, my mix tapes weren’t named Awesome Mix, they were called Jim’s Kool Musik (JKM for short). It wasn’t until Volume VII that I made “The Jim Tape.” It consisted of all the songs that I considered somewhat biographical. ‘January Man’ was the first song on side two. It begins with an insistent guitar riff that powers through the whole song which is of course a song of love lost. It’s clear that Nick was way more into the girl than she was into him, which is where the biographical parallels come from. Nick does his best to try to reconcile his lost relationship with lines like “I was such a fool not to admit
To my best friends that I was Taken blind with her good looks I swore that it was her mind” to come to the conclusion we both faced “Then what did I mean to you? Was I just the man who kept your meter Running till another mister.”
I’m not too sure of the coincidence of the next song being called ‘Mr. Plain’. I’m sure it’s not, but I always imagined it as the narrator from ‘January Man’ having a bit of schadenfreude that the next mister had similar results. While still sympathetic, he’s still just a little happy to take a slight dig at the one he lost the girl to.
Easily my second favorite song on the album is ‘These Words’. It’s a happy love song, with horns and everything. Kinda. The first two-thirds of the album sets up a whole opposites attract feeling. Showing examples of how different these two lovers are, but all along you know that “these words” are “I love you.” You’re left wondering what could have happened that he doesn’t want to use those words again, and why he swore he’d never use those words again. Until the last act where you find out that “these words” are not “I love you” but are in fact “I don’t love you”. Ahh, there’s the rub. It all comes clear; I’d never want to use those words either. They are just as devastating as being dumped.
‘All I Want You to Know’ deals with the loss of love a little different than many break-up songs. There’s not a ton of bitterness, more of a sadness that things didn’t turn out right. Accepting the blame, but not all the blame. It’s a refreshing bit of honesty, more bittersweet than bitter. More “I’m sorry,” than “you’ll be sorry.” Honestly, though it’s the guitar parts that I appreciate most.
‘Diary’ is, subtly, one of the best written tracks on the album. It isn’t an immediately flashy song but it’s a well written track. On the surface one could assume that it’s just another melancholy love song, but it really is so much more. There are flashes of confidence that one doesn’t necessarily get with a song that starts with the lyric like “diary of a broken heart”. If I were a were to guess, I think that Mr Heyward appreciated this track too, as it’s where the album title gets its origins.
The album ends with ‘Everytime’. I’ve never been able to pinpoint what it is, but there is something about this song that seems familiar to me. Maybe something about the harmonica, maybe something about the way he sings the phrase “every time that I…” just seems like I’ve known it forever.
Nick Heyward has a phenomenal voice. I don’t remember how this album was reviewed at the time of its release, but for me it is an absolute classic. He can write a song and a hook as great as XTC or Crowded House and that puts this album equal to any of those, which is high praise if you know me. While I wasn’t part of the Haircut 100 fandom, I appreciate the fact that his former bandmate Les Nemes was still an integral part of the making of this album, too.
Also, I could go for the breakfast on the cover of the album, too.