I figured I’d do a monthly ‘what I’m listening to’ kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it’s my blog! So there!
These may or may not be newly released disks. They might not even be a good disk – just what is been in heavy rotation in my car (as usually the iPod is playing anywhere else).
I’ve loved Lucinda Williams for well over the fifteen years that I’ve known her music. I know Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is widely considered to be her best disk. I like it a lot – but for me, Essence leads the pack of her work.
Williams’ new disk, West, is leaps and bounds better than her last studio disk, World Without Tears. Where the latter disk had some good stuff on it, the sub-standard stuff was BAD. At least on West, it might not all be good or great, but there is no bad material. Ok. Maybe one song. Unfortunately the bad song is the lead one. It’s repetitive and just downright boring. It is the only song I use the ‘skip’ button on. The next song is the second weakest, but I let it play through.
After that the disk just gets good. No highlights are clumped together and some take repeated listenings to be deemed highlights. But to be fair, I find that true of most music I like and you can probably see this recurring theme in many of my Record of the Month entries.
The stand-out cuts include: “Where is My Love” (great subtle guitar), “Unsuffer Me” (great subtle strings….and a great title, if I say so myself), “What If”, “Rescue” and “Wrap My Head Around It”.
From a vocal and songwriting perspective, Williams doesn’t differ that much from her previous efforts – but the production by Hal Willmer might be the difference. As alluded too above, it is the subtle nuances of the songs and arrangements that make the disk better than her last.
Admittedly, after World Without Tears, I didn’t run right out on day one and buy or download this disk, and I am not a fan of the 30 second snippets you get at iTunes (they always feature a bad part of the song). Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I dove in and got the disk without really hearing a single note. Risky? Sure. But this time it was well worth it.
iTunes and amazon.com sell the digital or actual disk for under $10. How can you really go wrong?