Lucinda Williams- West (Lost Highway)

The Arts — By on February 23, 2007 at 1:05 pm

“All the magic vanished into the misty air…” sings Lucinda Williams on “Everything Has Changed”, one of many downbeat songs on her latest album, West. And while this seems to be a drastic statement to open a review of the record with, it is at least partially accurate. Despite being called West, the album instead conjures the leisurely pace of the deep south- Williams’ birthplace. The opening track “Are You Alright?” sets the tone, oozing out of the speakers with it’s hymnal hues and Lucinda’s trademark spiked-honey voice. But the resigned stroll of “Mama You Sweet” does not make for an effective second step, and things never really seem to get back on track from there on in. This is not to say that there are no highlights here. “Come On” is a bitter kiss-off to a lousy lover that would even make Jagged Little Pill-era Alanis say “Oh snap!” “Learning How To Live” would have fit well on Williams’ 1998 watershed Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, and “Wrap My Head Around That” is pretty darn funky at times (though it probably doesn’t need to be nine minutes long). Overall, West‘s biggest problem seems to be one of pacing. Some of the thirteen songs would work better on a more balanced record- perhaps sandwiched between tracks with a bit more bounce. They could have been interesting rest stops on an album-length road trip, but instead they end up stalling out the whole affair. Better luck next time, Lu.

RATING (1-10): 5

    2 Comments

  • sandbeckjim23 says:

    I was wondering Mr. RC Cola if you could let me know how long you listen to these CDs u review. I’m just curious, because it often takes a more comprehensive listen to grasp the essentials of a performance.

  • Rob Cee says:

    Ha! Listen to CD’s? Me? I’m a believer in osmosis! I put the CD on my forehead Karnak-style!

    Minimum three listens for a review. Also, I generally have it playing on my stereo as I write the review in case I need to verify details I’m going to write about (e.g. “Was it track 7 that had the line about giving his hamster a Hot Carl?”). One or two listens can be deceiving, but after three I feel I’ve got as good a grasp on the material as I need to express my impressions of it.

    Lucinda in particular got about five listens because, as a fan, I really did want to like it… but I feel like she should’ve left this one in the oven a little longer. Maybe the six years she took to record Car Wheels On A Gravel Road wasn’t THAT outlandish after all…

    Thank “u” for reading.

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