Monday, 11 August 2014

Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else

Heads Up

This is rip it up and spit it out Country, though more lyrically so than musically, the latter a healthy embrace of rock Country to graceful ballads. The spitting is in the candour of the lyrics that speak of lust and lewdness, though giving head isn’t necessarily lewd, obviously, but it probably is on some Sundry Country radio programmes. I can’t imagine Lydia gives a fuck about that.

Let’s start with the vocal though. Loveless has a gorgeous voice, one that has effortless power and a wonderful natural warble. There are times where it sound like a refined version of Stevie Nicks, and that is offered as a full compliment. It is for me at the most potent and emotive in her lovely not-a-cover of the Little Antony & the Imperials song Hurt So Bad – but it sounds like it could be - where the same title’s repetition in the exquisite melody expresses the clarity of pain as simply as it can be. This is an amazingly good song, whatever the direct or indirect influence. There are other clear echoes of Nicks’ sound and style in the track Head [that doesn’t now need any explaining], Verlaine Shot Rimbaud where an allusion to one naughty relationship reflects on her own, and most notably in title track Somewhere Else that could have been written to a Rumours template, even down to the descending harmonies. Plagiarism? I can’t imagine Lydia gives a fuck about that.

The songwriting is clearly cathartic as well as musically mature, and the lyrics can be as sardonic as brusque, as in her song Chris Issac apparently about a past boyfriend who was a ‘kind of douche-bag dude’ [not in the lyric, but that’s about as candid as one can be] which does contain the line when I was 17 I’d follow men around with my head jammed way in their ass so here she is six years later and jamming that memory where the sun does shine in its illuminating self-reflection and criticism. But Loveless uses regret as the impulse for honesty and renewal, and whilst some might think Poetry is the more natural medium for such self-expression, I think this kind of intelligent Country is a welcome alternative.

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