Lydia Loveless Lends Vulnerable Lyrics to a Poppier Sound on ‘Daughter’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

As music fans, we often want our favorite artists to continue doing the same sort of thing that made us fans in the first place. On the one hand, it’s understandable. On the other hand, it’s unfair to the artists. After all, they experience different things as they move on their lives, and those experiences affect the music they make. With records like Somewhere Else and Real, Lydia Loveless made a name for herself in the alt-country world. With her new album Daughter, Loveless shatters the expectation of releasing another album like her previous ones. While there was a theme of recklessness on her previous albums, this one shows her at her most vulnerable.

Perhaps most notably, this album features a distinct shift in sound from the alt-country of her previous albums. There is still a big rock component to her music, but this album also incorporates a lot of pop sounds. There has always been an ache in her voice, and that hasn’t changed on this album. However, it’s a different, darker ache here. Rather than an ache of yearning, this album carries an ache that sounds like mourning a lost relationship. You can hear it when she sings lyrics like, “Love is not enough. I shouldn’t have to bleed you dry to fill me up.” Even more powerful are the lyrics in “Daughter”, when she sings, “I want to be a part of you, but it’s not enough. If I gave you a daughter, would you open up?” The weight of the lyrics makes each song feel like a glimpse into Loveless’s personal journal. “Can’t Think” is an interesting song simply because the sound is quite a bit different than you’d expect from Loveless. The guitar tone and the layering of the vocals give the song a moody sort of 90s shoegaze sound.  

When you get to the end of this album, you realize that, while you may not have experienced exactly what inspired these songs, you definitely feel the weight. That is a testament not only to Loveless’s strength in writing lyrics, but also to her ability to evoke emotions in the listener. While the mood is subdued and even brooding, this is a powerful album where you feel the story in each song.

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