2008-10-15Kicking things off with the rocker "Real Love", which has the snarl of a classic Pretender’s track, Lucinda Williams takes us on another tour through the angst and triumph of her mixed up life. When she’s happy, she’s very happy as evidenced by the salacious "Honey Bee" where she extols the virtues of her lover over a punk rock beat. But, as is the custom with her recent discs, it doesn’t take long for melancholy to find its way into the mix regardless of whether she’s on top of the world, "Tears of Joy" and "Knowing", overwhelmed with sadness, "Circles and X’s", regretting letting her own fear of commitment drive another lover away, "If Wishes were Horses", marveling at the resilience of love in the face of a dishonest, unforgiving world, "Plan to Marry", or wondering why she can’t sustain the good times, "Well Well Well". The downbeat vibe would grow wearisome in the hands of a lesser talent but Williams makes it compelling. Much of the credit goes to her crack band that rocks when needed but more importantly adds just the right amount of atmosphere and twang to make William’s aching heart beat in your chest. While the trials and tribulations of her love life make up the bulk of this release, she also sends a postcard from the road on AC/DC’s "It’s A Long Way to the Top", muses about the reunion with her mother that awaits her in Heaven, "Heaven Blues", and takes a stab at mothering the rock stars who seem bent on their own destruction, "Little Rock Star" (which heavily echoes "Drunken Angel" from her Car Wheels release). Overall, a fine addition to William’s catalog of a bumpy, broken life where there are no Disney approved happy endings. Smitty
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