“If I say another word, I know it’ll be my last/ I can tell by the color of your face you’re mad.” These chilling words kick off Real
, which—if there’s any justice in this phallocentric world—should be the breakthrough album for Lydia Loveless. Her blunt, achingly emotional lyrics coupled with a powerfully vulnerable voice get bolder with each album. Musically, she’s becoming more sophisticated as well. Where 2014’s Somewhere Else
featured a tendency to build two-chord riffs that bloomed into a fuller chorus, this album finds Loveless wearing her musical influences on her sleeve a bit more. The Brit-pop shimmer of “Heaven” beautifully supports a vocal swimming in reverb. “Longer,” with its chewy guitar and snappy drums, sounds like a Nick Lowe song he forgot to bring to Rockpile.
Less thrashy than Somewhere Else
, this album has a more textured, pop feel to it. But Loveless is hardly pulling punches: “Sitting in the dark, talking about my plans/ To anyone who can hear over this shitty Indianapolis band.” In the darkly hilarious “Midwestern Guys,” she spits her disdain for men who “want to make love, not fuck” as they go out after dark to look at the stars (“You sure know the way to my heart, honey.”)
Like Lucinda Williams, Liz Phair and other women before her who kicked in the door of music’s boys club with brutally honest poetry, Loveless continues to fearlessly examine the dark corners of her own soul while she grants no quarter for the culprits responsible for that darkness.
Lydia Loveless opens for Drive-By Truckers at the Wilma Wed., Sept. 28. Doors at 7 PM, show at 8. $27-$35.