A Record I’ve Been Enjoying & What Happens Next Has Me Conflicted

Maybe my new thing is gonna be writing clickbaity headlines about mundane things. I feel like I need a new thing.

So recently I fell hard and fast for Lori McKenna’s “The Bird & The Rifle”. The listen to the album in its entirety ten times in a row kind of love. I caught her song “Wreck You” on The Current’s Sunday morning United States of Americana, which as far as I’m concerned is the best two hours of radio every single week.

It was the line, “I keep my change in the car ashtray. I haven’t smoked for years and years, but lately I’ve been craving” that caught my ear. Ruby’s ashtray is filled with change. About 95% of the time I go to a drivethru of any sort I am the exact change queen. I am oddly proud of this.

The song snagged me right away so much so that I made a concentrated effort to catch the singer’s name so I could check her out later. When you have a sort of musical ADD, paying attention to the end of song can be a lot to ask for. Just ask Wolfdogg about that time we drove to Chicago and I controlled the iPod.

When the song was over, I typed ‘lori mckenna’ on a little sticky note on Gladys’ dashboard, where I keep all kind of important information like image sizes, passwords, the FreshBooks time clock, and my library card number. (I think I am the last person who uses Apple’s dashboard, but god I love it).

I did all this and promptly forgot about it because I had to listen to the new Lydia Loveless record a bunch, and to be perfectly frank I’m struggling with it a little. Much the same way I struggled with Jason Isbell’s “Something More than Free.” Mostly this new Loveless’ record is not “Somewhere Else” and so I’m being a bit bratty about it.

Enter “The Bird & The Rifle”. Boy howdy do I love this record. Want the arbitrary number of reasons? Don’t worry, I know that’s what you come here for.

  1. “I get dressed in the dark each day. You used to think that was so sweet.”
  2. “Deep down you know that you’re worth more than this, or the cost of that dinner last night. He’d be driving you home if he was worth half the shit.” (And actually the entire song “Halfway Home.”
  3. “Smells Like Teen Spirit on a tape cassette before we ever heard of the Internet.”
  4. That the song “The Bird & The Rifle” is a short story song and I love short story songs.
  5. She writes really beautifully with concrete images about small town life, which is something I’ve had a penchant for since I fell in love with John Cougar Mellencamp as a kid.

There are more reasons, but I need to get to the WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Now, usually I have a pretty strict, don’t read anything about any singer you like rule. I just don’t want to know. Ignorance is bliss and all that. Generally I don’t need a lot of context for artists I have just discovered. The fact that I like them and they make my ears happy is context enough.

But then I remembered something Bill DeVille said on United States of Americana about this being like her tenth record and how she’d written a bunch of hit songs for a bunch of country people. So I got to googling and I discovered her record producer was the same one Jason Isbell used for his last two records and I was all “right on, right on.”

But then . . .

But then. . .

But then I learned Lori McKenna was a co-writer on the garbage song “Girl Crush” sung by Little Big Town. NOOOOOOOooooooooooooo. I hate this song with such a passion that it makes flames shoot out of my ears and my face grows ever redder until the top of my skull pops off and my brain steams.

To begin with the entire phrase/concept of “girl crush” is homophobic bullshit. It’s like saying “no homo” after you profess some sort of affection for something of your gender and you’re too fucking worried about your sexuality to just let it be. Instead you have to slime all over it with with your “BUT I AM TOTALLY NOT GAY!” in bright blinking bullshit.

It’s okay to just have a crush. I get them all the time. On men, women, objects, ideas. . . you name it. I am a very excellent crush-haver, someone should endorse me for it on LinkedIn. A crush is a crush is a crush and I don’t think my feeling for Samantha Bee or Kate McKinnon are suddenly going to turn me into a lesbian and also, there’s nothing wrong with someone thinking I’m a lesbian, because there’s nothing wrong with being gay. See how that works?


AND SO THIS SONG! This “Girl Crush” garbage ack! The song isn’t even about having an actual crush on a girl. No it’s about having a case of the “Single White Females” because of some stupid guy that this girl has. So the singer is all “I want to have her hair and her lips and her boyfriend” and it’s just 10,000 pounds of ick, Grammy-award-winning ick. But just so much ick!

So now I’m cranky that someone whose record I adore wrote such a steaming pile of garbage. And I’m sure I’ll get okay with it, because I forgave Westerberg fucking “Trumpet Clip,” right?

Let this be a lesson to all of you, do not google anything you like lest humans ruin it by being all human-like.

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1 Comment

  1. Twd 22.Aug.16 at 7:12 pm

    A BIT bratty? I’m sure you’ll come around.


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