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© Brian St. Clair
As the prime architect of the power duo conceit, Local H’s Scott Lucas has created a body of work that has, over the years, been met with considerable critical acclaim. But the Chicago-based rock minimalist stresses that he’s no elitist when it comes to his own listening habits. “There’s lots of records I love that aren’t considered ‘cool,’” he says. “In some way, that makes me love them more.”
A mainstay on Lucas’ iPod is one of the first records he ever bought – ABBA's Arrival. Although the Swedish quartet are now lauded for their infectiously catchy pop songcraft, during their active years, particularly the mid- to late ‘70s period that saw them land hit after hit on the charts, they were derided for what was then seen as a slavish devotion to commercial formalism.
“I could never figure out why people made fun of ABBA,” Lucas says. “They were right on the money. So the records were slick – big deal. In my mind, I thought it was fine to be into this sugar-pop band with unbelievable songs. I held onto those records and kept loving them.”
Lucas' affection for radio ear candy extends to current pop queens Katy Perry and Rihanna, and he counts himself as an admirer of Madonna's early work, as well. "With them, it's more on a song-to-song basis," he says. "I remember the scene in Reservoir Dogs where they’re talking about Madonna, and one of the characters says, ‘I liked her stuff like Borderline, but after Papa Don’t Preach, I tuned out.’ And they sat there and debated her relevance, which says a lot about her impact. I agree that Borderline is a great song, so there you go."
On the following pages, Lucas counts down and discusses his not-so-guilty pleasures, albums that aren't necessarily in his wheelhouse, but they're ones which he dutifully defends. “I don’t feel the least bit embarrassed about liking any of them," he says. "They’re great records, and I can prove it.”