Lydia Loveless – “Somewhere Else”
Even though it’s only February, it’s been a busy year for Lydia Loveless, having already released an EP earlier in the year and now this full length album. “Somewhere Else” is probably more a return to her country rock roots after the quite commercial and ‘pop’ EP.
This is demonstrated right from the off, with “Really Wanna See You” where it is a rocking country number. As usual, it’s Lydia’s voice which catches your ear from the off. It has a great country twang, and yet still sees her sometimes spitting out the occasional harsh lyric. This song is oe which really could be a big U.S. radio hit.
Then on “Wine Lips”, there is more of a laid back rhythm with some neat harmonies, as it turns into a melodic pop love song. It is probably one of the most commercial sounding songs on the album and is certainly one to have you singing along to the chorus. Whilst “To Love Somebody” has a pop/rock influence and is a bright song with a melodic guitar sound, driving it along.
The album also sees Lydia keeping up her trend of name checking other stars. This time it’s “Chris Isaak”, on a song which has a big, full on, country sound.There is more of a country love song feel to “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud” and it’s full of emotion that gradually fires up with a sense of frustration. “Somewhere Else” builds on this but gives a more epic feel. The maturity of this song and the likes of “Everything’s Gone” actually bring to mind an almost classic Fleetwood Mac esque sound.
“Hurts So Bad” has a slower beat and a more restrained feeling to the music itself. The vocals themselves also perfectly deliver a tale of heartbreak. This song, along with “Head”, form a mid section which suggests that we are experiencing a Lydia who has been through a tougher emotional time than the angry young punk of her earlier releases.
The album’s final track is a great cover of Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know”. It also provides a nice reminder that Lydia hasn’t lost her sense of fun and it’s a neat ‘pop’ end to the album.
On first listen, this appears to be just a natural follow up to previous releases, as the influences of pop, rock and country are all there. However, there is much more to it than that and, in some ways, appears to be dealing with a very different artist. Certainly, the punk/angry side seems to have been toned down and replaced with a more thoughtful and melodic side. It is, dare I say it, a more ‘mature’ album, but that undercurrent of rebellion is still there in the vocal delivery and the lyrics. It could also very easily see her develop a wider appeal, especially in the US. Thankfully, there are also still enough glimpses of that brattish punk attitude to make sure her original fans are kept on board at the same time.