On Album Covers, Judgement and Objectification

Jenny Lewis’s new album has a striking cover picture of her wearing a cut out dress. The image was a glamorous twin of her cover for previous album ‘The Voyager’. On that album she had worn a rainbow suit inspired by Gram Parsons and the headless shot focused all our attention on that outfit. The ‘On The Line’ cover is almost an identical shot but this time Jenny is in a satin jumpsuit, her hair styled and her cleavage exposed. Those in the know connected the images together and understood that the new album cover was a metaphor for Jenny freeing herself from the past, glamming up in response to all the dark times she had gone through. Later she acknowledged the image was also in honour of her late mother, a Vegas lounge singer who wore similar stage outfits designed by Bob Mackie and who had a mole in the exact same spot on her chest. Continue reading “On Album Covers, Judgement and Objectification”

The Ryan Adams Reckoning

I want to start this by saying: fuck you Ryan Adams. I believe every word of your victims and I imagine there may be many more out there. You have let down everyone who knows you and all your fans and you should be ashamed. Your attempt at an apology was complete bullshit too. Making amends cannot be done with a tweet.

I admit I haven’t suffered like the women who actually knew him but I am hurting today. I feel like a victim too and I know many other fans will be there with me. I am waking up to the fact I have been in a toxic relationship with this artist for nearly twenty years. But I’m done defending him, excusing him, overlooking his behaviour because the music matters to me. I’m done being in denial. I’m done. Continue reading “The Ryan Adams Reckoning”

Album of the Year: Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain

At the end of her recent live show in Glasgow, Courtney Marie Andrews parted the crowd and jumped down off the stage to meet her people. In the centre of the room she began singing the title track to her album ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ entirely unplugged. Without amplification the already epic song somehow grew in sound and stature. We stood round her in awe, smiling and wiping away tears. When she finished she received a roar from the crowd, all of whom were thankful to be witness to this musical moment of sense and sanity in an ever spinning world.

Courtney Marie Andrews is a songwriter who asks questions – of her listeners and of herself. She makes us consider the importance of kindness, compassion, love. The power and presence of her music in my life this year has been such a gift and thus there was only one possible choice for the Highway Queens album of the year. Continue reading “Album of the Year: Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain”

Favourite Songs of 2018

Choosing favourite songs of the year is always an enjoyable experience where you get the chance to savour and celebrate the music that has been the soundtrack to your life over the last twelve months. What I find tricky is trying to rank the songs in some kind of order, as if art can be reduced to a competition. Still I think it’s an interesting challenge to try and compose a chart so I have made an attempt to play favourites. There were so many golden songs this year that really I could have written this tomorrow with an entirely differently order!  Continue reading “Favourite Songs of 2018”

Musical Lowlights of 2018

I am an advocate of reviewing music with kindness, positivity and respect. Nothing upsets me more than people ripping through artists and songs just for the sake of it, or to further their own narrow vision of what is ‘good’ music. Still that doesn’t mean it’s possible to like all the music you hear and I think it’s important from a critical perspective to be honest about what you didn’t enjoy or what disappointed you. So, with a heavy heart, here are my musical lowlights of the year. Continue reading “Musical Lowlights of 2018”

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