Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lydia Loveless -- Boy Crazy & Single(s)

I wish I could hand out awards for album design because it is difficult to create a more pitch-perfect jacket than this. (I'm also dying to know the context of this photo.) Boy Crazy is a reissue of Loveless' 2013 EP of the same name, along with a few extra songs that have been kicking around. While in her last couple of albums Loveless has been expertly pushing the boundaries of alt-country, it is nice to get a reminder of how she landed on a label like Bloodshot in the first place. Her road-worn attack to her lyrics is comfortable among her beer-soaked lyrics and twangy guitars.

If the EP is new to you (like it is to me), it's a great re-introduction to Loveless as a songwriter. I recently read a eulogy to Tom Petty that commented on his mastery of writing incredible opening lines. I would say that Loveless has taken that mantle comfortably. Observe:
  • "All I Know" -- Well how many times have I lied awake at night/Wishing you were here to start a fight
  •  "Boy Crazy" --  He lives out in Idaho/And his jeans put me just below his hip bone
  •  "Mile High" -- I didn't come here to make friends/But I have no choice
  • "Falling Out of Love With you" -- I wish it was me/Falling out of love with you
  • "I Would Die 4 U" -- I'm not your woman/I'm not your man/I am something you'll never understand

Loveless has made a name for herself for writing agonized and antagonizing songs. Much like the cover photo, these songs are often raunchy, celebratory, and blithely apathetic to social acceptability. Loveless' frank discussion of female sexuality (and I mean really frank -- not simply the shocking idea that women want to have sex but that they actually have it. A lot) pushes back against the EP's title. "Boy crazy" suggest, to me, puppy love -- a summer fling that's the product of a silly girl's heart. Instead these songs address powerful emotions and urges that are anything but inconsequential. Instead, these encounters, however short-lived, come with complex emotional baggage that Loveless insists we explore and handle with care.

Lydia Loveless -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp, Purchase via Bloodshot Records

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