At first blush: Lucinda Williams’ “West”

As a Valentine’s gift to myself I bought Lucinda Williams’ new album “West”, and I am in love. I’ve listened to it nonstop since downloading it yesterday morning. This album is breaking my heart in all the right ways.

The first song “Alright” could have been ripped from my very own secret diary. She sings, no laments in her broken voice:
Is there something been bothering you?
Are you alright?
I wish you’d give me a little clue.
Are you alright?
Is there something you wanna say?
Are you alright?
Just tell me that you’re okay.
Are you alright?
‘Cause you took off without a word.
Are you alright?
You flew away like a little bird.
Are you alright?
Is there anything I can do?
Are you alright?
‘Cause I need to hear from you.
Are you alright?

Which is, of course, something that I could ask 99.9% of the men I’ve had relationships with. It’s the kind of song that hits me so hard that my eyes sting with tears. Later she goes on asking if he has someone to hug and kiss him.

Oh, it slays me. That’s just some kind of pain that I’ve never been able to articulate so succinctly, the pain of having someone you were digging just disappear into thin air without an explanation. The wondering is the worst. If I had my druthers, I would choose the knowing that he had someone else someone he liked more than me, then the not knowing at all.

And that’s just the first song, it gets better from there. I wish I had the time to sit down and write all the lyrics down. There’s googobs of pain and suffering and looking for joy in here. While my bones and inner bits can feel that, my brain needs those words for reassurance. I keep catching random phrases that make my pulse race a little, For you I might even change my name. . . See? See? She’s practically reading my mind.

In my wild imagination I have decided that each and every song is about St. Paul Westerberg. Because in my imagination where things are way more better then they are out here in the real world, Lu and Paul are having a torrid, wild, passionate affair. And since Paul’s a Minnesotan he has to keep going back to his wife and kid despite his burning love for Lu.

This of course, makes the record all that more meaningful to me.

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4 Comments

  1. UH 15.Feb.07 at 12:11 pm

    I was going to complain about “alright” versus the correct “all right” but I realized no one but me cares.

    Reply
  2. david 17.Feb.07 at 10:30 am

    Given the hype and all the talk about the production values of the album, I was prepared to be disappointed, but Lucinda’s voice and poetry won me over yet again.

    Reply
  3. Jodi 17.Feb.07 at 9:31 pm

    I think this might be one of those times where not being a music geek pays off. I had heard nothing of the hype or talk about the production. All I knew was that a new album was coming out — which was probably all I needed to know.

    I am so in love with this album it’s pathetic.

    Reply
  4. lou 22.Feb.07 at 9:04 am

    A friend of mine is a musician in the Americana/Folk vein and he gave me a mixed disc with a couple of her tracks. They really blew me away. There’s a cool local radio station that runs kinda alt/folk and they’ve played Alright – I get the song and like it more for that but the repetition of Are you alright? constantly kinda wears on me.

    Also I’ve done that disappearing thing a couple of times – it shames me that it doesn’t bother me as much as it should that I’ve done it. If that makes any sense, but I understand it little enough myself.

    Reply

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