There’s about a billion middle-aged people out there for whom Huey Lewis and The News might as well have just named their new record “We’re about to bury you in enough sweet nostalgia to make you crave the 80s.”
Or “Here Gen Xers, have a heaping helping of musical comfort food.” Or maybe “Life kind of sucks so wrap up in this warm sound blanket and drift to sleep pretending things are easy again.”
Huey Lewis and The News’ new record, Weather, is their first record in nearly 20 years. And, perhaps, just in the nick of time. Not just because some throwback optimism is in order, but because this may be the boys’ last.
Lewis recently revealed he suffers from a rare inner ear disorder called Meniere’s Disease, which for years has kept him one ear short of a fully functioning pair. It’s grown worse since 2018, to the point that he may be facing total hearing loss.
But it hasn’t affected his voice, which Weather shows is as soulful and strong as ever. Nor has it affected his enthusiasm, or his drive.
Lewis does what he does and, ironically, sounds freshly boosted after a lack of new material going back to 2001’s Plan B. He sounds great, the band sounds even better, with a lively mix of rock, soul, R&B and wistfulness. Most of all, Weather, recorded in Marin County, is a fun listen for anyone who couldn’t–or didn’t want to—escape Lewis during MTV’s salad days.
The fellas know who they are and how old they are. They also remember what works for their fans. Weather kicks off with “While We’re Young.” It’s a breezy, fun and familiar song on that Lewis makes a point about, while turning 70 this year, he’s not done with the ladies. “We better do it while we’re young,” he sings, “Tell the kids we’re only late. And we’ll need time to recuperate.”
“Her Love is Killin’ Me” is another terribly upbeat effort from Lewis and the News, during which he laments he’s not quite the specimen he used to be and, well, “her love is killing me.”
Middle-aged Huey Lewis is a real rascal.
“I Am There For You” is the News doing Motown, with a mid-tempo shuffle churning fertile ground for warm harmonies, organ and some vintage Lewis harmonica. It’s a great example of the production value of “Weather;” nothing is buried in the mix, especially not the vocals. The R&B vibe remains on “Hurry Back Baby,” with Lewis again trying to embarrass the grandkids, singing about a one-night stand being so great, he just might want a second.
“Remind Me Why I Love You Again” drives home some grooves worthy of Tower of Power, while “Pretty Girls Are Everywhere” showcases those harmonies with some fun call and response
Finale “One of the Boys” is a great send-off, if that’s what it is. The end-of-the-night twangy bar song pays tribute to the brotherhood of the News–truly one of history’s great bar bands and its career, which in the studio stretches back 40 years. “Playing with my friends ‘til the music ends,” Lewis sings, typically cheerful.
If the music really is ending, Lewis has wrapped things up nicely.