Release Date: Aug 19, 2016
Record label: Bloodshot
“Don’t wanna be lonely…” Lydia Loveless wistfully croons as “Bilbao” wafts to its close. Loveless has built her songwriting career working out that reconciliation between everyone’s fundamental desire to have someone to love and the recognition of when a personal relationship sours and cutting that cord. To Loveless’ credit, she shows no fear in her frank admissions that that cord often requires bolt cutters more often than it does simple craft scissors, particularly in the world of Midwestern small towns where it’s nigh on impossible to outrun gossip and supermarket run-ins.
If any artist can get away with calling an album Real, it's Lydia Loveless -- from her earliest work, her songs have always been smart but utterly fearless in their honesty about what's happening in her head, heart, and soul. 2016's Real is Loveless' fourth album, and it's her most mature and polished bit of studio craft to date. While most of Loveless' music has walked a line between honky tonk country and raucous rock & roll, Real finds taking a few steps back from her twangy roots and embracing a more pop-oriented sound that still puts the emphasis on guitars but boasts a cool sheen that's decidedly different than her sound on Boy Crazy or Somewhere Else.
At only 25 years of age, singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless sings with a voice befitting someone well advanced in years. Not a weary, ragged with age type of voice, mind you, (though her Midwestern twang does sound a tad whiskey-soaked at times) but rather a lifetime’s worth of experience. Over the course of two previous full-length albums, she’s written and sang about love and loss, small-town bleakness, and hopeful yearning with an intensity and focus rarely matched by those in the country-rock community, let alone those in her age bracket.
Reality is old news. Magic and make-believe are where the money’s at. But Ohio-living singer and guitarist Lydia Loveless and her band make an argument in defense of real life on LP4, Real, a record about the difference between right and wrong. The verdict? Maybe there is no difference. Bringing ….
I'll admit it: I used to think Lydia Loveless's songs were melodramatic (and a little crass). But fuck it, feelings can be intense, and Loveless, a Columbus, Ohio-based alt-country rock'n'roller, writes and sings like she knows it, both as an observer and firsthand.Real, Loveless's confident and poppy fourth album, builds on what Loveless and her band were doing on 2014's grittier Somewhere Else. But while that album sounded a bit like Wilco's A.M.
If Lydia Loveless were famous, the supposed confessionalism of songwriters like Taylor Swift would be revealed as the shallow cultivation of a public persona that it is. Loveless's exes don't just break her heart; they leave her in emotional desolation, which she responds to not with starry-eyed pining for the next guy to come along, but with very bad decisions. She seemingly has no filter when recounting debaucherous, boozy nights and painful memories, rendering them with a sharp tongue and take-no-shit attitude in a drawl that's awfully pronounced for someone from Columbus, Ohio.
Over the course of her four albums, 25-year-old Lydia Loveless has undergone a metamorphosis. After the fairly traditional, albeit rambunctious, alt-country of her debut, Loveless came into her own with 2011's Indestructible Machine, a raucous, rabble-rousing country-punk album filled with drinking, debauchery, and an indomitable firebrand spirit. Two years later, Somewhere Else found Loveless matured, for lack of a better term.
The Only Man Indestructible Machine. Somewhere Else.
The notion of authenticity is a strange thing, especially in art. Evaluating authenticity means making large assumptions about an artist's emotional experience, which is problematic because the act of transmitting a feeling through a voice or instrument involves some amount of mediation and artifice. By using authenticity as an evaluative tool, you presume to have comprehensive knowledge of an experience that was not yours.
Lydia Loveless specializes in what’s best described as Rust Belt alt-country. The Columbus, Ohio, musician and her band rough up twang-bent guitars, mewling pedal steel, and lilting vocals with scruffy classic rock signifiers. As a result, Loveless’ music (especially on her 2014 breakthrough album, Somewhere Else) sounds like it belongs on a dusty dive bar jukebox—the 7-inch-filled, non-digital kind, thank you very much.
Lydia Loveless says that “Real,” her third full-length album for Bloodshot Records, differs from her earlier work: “whereas our previous records could be described as blunt or raw, this one I wanted to be known as honest, as true, as real [rimshot]. ” “Real” still comes across as pretty blunt and plenty raw nonetheless. Loveless continues to manifest a remarkable combination of bruised vulnerability and desperate longing, alongside a tough, self-deprecating resilience, but there’s more of the former and less of the latter this time.
Since Lydia Loveless's solo debut, 2010's The Only Man, she's been lumped into the increasingly lazy "saviours of country music" genre, along with acts like Sturgill Simpson. Of course, country music never needed saving, and Loveless isn't interested in continuing a tired conversation. While her past releases have landed somewhere in the realm of country - her wild, passionate vocal twang makes damn sure she'll always have a touch of honky-tonk - new album Real changes course.
"Real" is the fourth studio album from singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless. Lydia Loveless has a way of cutting out all the euphemisms and coping mechanisms that humans routinely use to get through a crisis. "But if self-control is what you want," she sings with rueful hint of a laugh, "I'd have to break all of my fingers off." That sort of brutal honesty — skirting self-pity and finger-pointing — underlines each of Loveless' songs about teetering relationships and messy breakups on her fourth studio album, "Real" (Bloodshot).