Backed by the Nashville outfit Los Straitjackets, Lowe kicks off the track with lines that stand in stark contrast to the laidback guitar: “Don’t be nice to me/I’m undeserving of your kind attention.” Later, he takes the point even further: “When I find a rock big enough for me to crawl under/I’m gonna hang a sign outside to the world: ‘Stay away.’”
“Don’t Be Nice to Me” follows the single “Lay It on Me Baby,” a track inspired by sampler LPs invented by CBS in the late Sixties — which he discussed with his friends once night over dinner. “During what might be described as the ‘port and cigars’ part of the evening, we found ourselves riffing on the idea of producing a sampler for an imaginary record label of its imaginary artists,” he said.
Last month, Lowe performed a brief set for Rolling Stone‘s “In My Room” series, where artists play music from home in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accompanied by his son, Roy, Lowe breezed through “Lay It on Me Baby,” “Trombone,” “I Read a Lot” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding,” a classic he wrote for Elvis Costello.