Lydia Loveless “Real”
Lydia Loveless may not be a household name over here in the UK (although this album could easily change that) but we have been following her career since her first release. She arrived on the scene with a bunch of punky country flavoured songs. Subsequent albums have then seen her style growing but still retain a sense of a fiery spirit. We were therefore intrigued to see where her sound would go on this new album.
There is a big and bold sound to first song “Same To You”, which almost gives a sense of increased confidence. It’s a typically reflective song with the boldness of the sound contrasting with the vulnerability in the lyrics. It’s a similar story with “Longer”, a track with a neat chugging guitar line as the song grows into an enchanting chorus.
On songs like “More Than Ever” and “Mid-Western Guys” Lydia pulls off the trick of delivering a song which could easily be just a traditional country song but gives it a truly ‘contemporary’ flavour. That’s taken even further on “Heaven”, which sees her adopting a funk feel and an almost electro style arrangement. That’s the beauty of Lydia Loveless, a willingness to push things beyond the ordinary.
The other thing that songs like “Out Of Love” have, is a genuine sense of tenderness. Weirdly, that song sounds to us like one of Madonna’s brilliant ballads (people often overlook some of the great songs the queen of pop has done). Indeed, that raises an interesting point about this album. Songs like “Bilbao” and the title track “Real”, could easily be massive U.S. radio hits. Shit, in her early days, Taylor Swift would, and probably did, sell her soul for those songs.
You kind of sense, however, that Lydia Loveless may be a bit too ‘hot’ for a conservative major label to manage. Through all her songs, you get the sense of a strong willed songwriter who would not bow to the industry bullshit. Thankfully, it also means she can define her own style and easily switch from the upbeat hoe down of “European” to the more raw and emotive sound of “Clumps”.
Is maturity a dirty word in reviews? The truth is that this album marks a further move on from her earlier releases. Those were dominated by a more snotty and brash approach. Now, all the passion and emotion is still there, but it is delivered with a sense of assurity and confidence. So, yes, this is a more ‘mature’ album but, that doesn’t stop it being impressive. Indeed, it just emphasises the strength of the song writing throughout the entire album.