When it comes to the title of Lydia Loveless’ latest album, “Real”, there is no sugar coating or embellishing. That one word sums up the idea, mentality, and mood of the album. It’s Loveless at her realest, and it’s Loveless being brutally honest.
“Real”, the fourth album by the Ohio native, was released in August of 2016 as a follow up to the well received “Somewhere Else”. Where as Loveless retains combination of Rust Belt country, rock, and punk that was present on “Somewhere Else” and her prior albums, “Real” finds her dabbling and experimenting with a more pop and polished sound.
It’s an experiment and test that pays off with some memorable tracks on an overall incredibly strong album.
“Real” opens with “Same to You”, a strong cut that highlights Loveless’ twangy and smoky vocal delivery. With lyrics such as, “If I say another word, it’ll be my last”, and “I can’t move on when I’m five steps back”, the song quick establishes what the listener is in for with the rest of the album.
“Same to You” is followed up by “Longer”, which really focuses on the “country with an edge” dynamic that Loveless has presented throughout her career. It’s a storytelling song about getting over someone, which is a theme that surfaces a lot throughout the album.
The next two songs on the album, “More Than Ever” and “Heaven” are very strong cuts, but they couldn’t be more different. “More Than Ever” is a slow, soulful, and emotional no frills number, while “Heaven” is a poppy radio ready single that really stands out from the rest of the songs on “Real”. The fact it is so different makes it one of the better choices on the album.
With the next song, “Out on Love”, things shifts back to a minimalist tone, a stark contrast to what the listener heard with “Heaven”. After that, though, Loveless gives the listener a great descriptive song in “Midwestern Guys”, a hilarious but punk inspired rant against the region and its inhabitants.
As the album winds down, Loveless plays up the heartache and country with songs such as “Bilabo” and “European”. Things do, however, finish strong with the short but pointed “Clumps” and the last song, “Real”, another single worth cut that deals with longing for someone.
If you’re in the mood for an album that doesn’t pull any punches and doesn’t suffer any fools, “Real” is the one for you. Loveless has put together a collection of songs straight from a emotionally worn but incredibly strong heart.
Here’s the track listing for “Real” by Lydia Loveless with my picks in bold:
- 1. Same to You
- 2. Longer
- 3. More Than Ever
- 4. Heaven
- 5. Out on Love
- 6. Midwestern Guys
- 7. Bilabo
- 8. European
- 9. Clumps
- 10. Real