Since starting this blog in 2017 Courtney Marie Andrews has released three studio albums, establishing herself as one of the most prolific women solo artists of the moment. Each album has been searching, both inwardly and outwardly for a better, more honest life. Musically too she has explored the darkness and the light, touching the edges of genres and influences, weaving her stories into melodies that feel effortless and essential.
Some fans may be worried that this level of productivity suggests she is stuck in the hamster wheel of the music industry content churn (with the consequent inevitable burnout). Luckily for us listeners Loose Future feels more like an exhale. The album is perhaps less sonically ambitious than ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ or emotionally fraught as ‘Old Flowers’ but that well…looseness…feels freeing and refreshing.
On the opening title track the constant grind and expectations of life and love have become a drag, a burden. The pandemic allowed for a slowing down, and the results here sound like Courtney has established a more relaxed attitude to love and her music. She offers instead an invitation to just go with the flow and try not to take things too seriously.
Of course she’s such a great songwriter that the end of the song flips everything back on its head with the admission that this is all a front. ‘Who are we kidding? I’ll keep pretending that I don’t care.’ This ‘loose future’ is a dream, a hope, something to aim for. Playing it cool is never easy, especially for such an emotionally engaged empath.
‘Older Now’ is about knowing yourself, admitting ‘life is better without plans’. The production on these opening two songs is loose too, soft and echoing at times as though she’s not wanting to be tied down musically either.
As a chronicler of real life America, Courtney is as good a songwriter as anyone. ‘On the Line’ has her in hotel rooms, using the minutiae of other people’s lives as a way to understand herself, understand the world and how we ‘cover up the truth’. And the selfishness of her ex is directly addressed with the cutting ‘you only call when it’s your love on the line.’
Despite that experience she’s never cynical and on ‘Satellite’ she gives us one of the most direct love songs she’s ever sung. It’s revealing in its loveliness, using the cosmic metaphor to celebrate the proximity of someone after such separation.
‘These Are the Good Old Days’ is another similar, sweetly upbeat reminder to appreciate the beauty in world. I’m not convinced the production here really does the song justice, being kind of freewheeling to the point of almost sounding like its been recorded in someone’s kitchen but I can appreciate the effect they are trying to create.
Thankfully she returns to the strong Americana sound for the next few songs of the album. ‘Thinkin’ On You’ is the most simple lyric on here, letting the music showcase the strength of her voice. ‘You Do What You Want’ is a more specific, poetic lyric and is her most confident sounding vocal.
Then ‘Let Her Go’ has gorgeous guitars, her voice almost a whisper here, singing of an ‘old soul’ who will help you ‘have fun’ but ultimately be someone you can’t rely on.
The album finishes with ‘Me & Jerry’ which is a little celebration of that ‘good day on earth when love is enough’. She gets out of her mind and back connected to the physical and sexual self. That’s a perfect place to finish off an album which is about trying to free yourself from the past and not caring too much about the road up ahead.
The quiet contentment and confidence shown in the songwriting keeps Courtney Marie Andrews’s star shining bright throughout. Whatever direction she heads now you know the creative results will always be worth hearing. Take a load off and let Loose Future lighten up your listening life.