Joe Jackson — Mike’s Murder

We only lived in Presidential Plaza in Syracuse for a year, yet there is so much music that I directly associate with that apartment. This album is definitely part of that.

Mike's Murder front cover
Mike’s Murder front cover – somehow, the guy isn’t Mickey Dolenz

In part, it has to be because of the time of our lives. That was our first apartment after college, our first apartment together (as just the two of us), our first apartment as a married couple. In fact, we were married in that apartment. It’s the last apartment that I was ever drunk in.

This album came out in September 1983, the very month we moved in, and I probably bought it right around then as I have very strong associations of this album and that autumn. I was starting a new job, we were living in a lovely place (clean and convenient, anyway), we were getting ready to be married. I bought it new (where, I don’t recall) on the strength of my newfound love for Joe Jackson.

I did not then or ever have any interest in the movie it was made for; apparently neither did anyone else. The album, however, continued some of the sophisticated sound of “Night and Day,” with “Cosmopolitan,” the urban blues of “Laundromat Monday,” and the driving “Memphis.” And it introduced Jackson’s compositional capabilities with several lovely instrumental themes. Much of this album appeared on my mix tapes of the day.

We played this a lot in that one year we spent in that apartment, and in the years after. It still sounds fresh to me, even though I also strongly associate it with those first years of our marriage. Like a lot of things I’ve written about here, it fell out of rotation when I moved to digital. But now, listening again, it’s still an excellent album.

Mike's Murder back cover
Mike’s Murder back cover
Mike's Murder A&M label
Mike’s Murder A&M label

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