Jilted John by Jilted John

If you know anything about Jilted John — whether you were a British pop kid in the late '70s, or a new wave fetishist — about all that you know is that he had one of the funniest one-off singles of the era, with the eponymous "Jilted John," the story of a boy who was left by his girlfriend for a guy called Gordon. It was a slice of sneering, self-deprecating genius, something that's shocking upon first listen, and remains funny on the 50th spin. Even those that cherished that single assumed that it was a spontaneous, unexpected burst of brilliance, something that Jilted John — otherwise known as Graham Fellows — couldn't have topped, since it was so good as it is.

Certainly, the second- and third-generation listeners that became acquainted with the song through its presence on the seminal DIY series would think that way, since it wasn't even paired with its first-class flip, "Going Steady," which finds Jilted John in love with, and dating, Sharon. Even if they knew that, they couldn't be prepared for True Love Stories, which is one of the great lost albums of new wave. Firmly rooted in Blondie and Elvis Costello, Jilted John's magnum opus is still startlingly original in how it recycles pre-Beatles pop conventions with a punky defiance and a distinctly bent British humor — and, above it all, it tells a story, following Jilted John through his pubescent romantic trials. Throughout it all, the humor is as sharp as the songwriting is melodic, and the concept not only works, it captivates. And if none of the songs are as throat-grabbingly immediate as "Jilted John," there aren't any bombs — it's all catchy, clever (almost too clever, really), and giddily silly. There are few records like True Love Stories, and even if you don't listen to it every day, you're still glad it's there, ready to be played whenever you want to be amazed by how good the obscure paths of pop can be. A true lost classic — and it's even better on Castle's 1999 reissue, since it contains the "Gordon the Moron" single that Fellows wrote as a sequel to "Jilted John"; not as good as "Jilted John," but it satisfyingly completes the package.

Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
AllMusic.com (where you can apparently listen to the track)