On her tenth album Blessed, Lucinda Williams takes a deep look into the world around her from the kitchen table of all places. After making a career out of singing about being in and out of love, she takes a moment to breathe and ponder issues that may not have bothered a younger soul.
Williams is a perfectionist when it comes down to it and Blessed is no exception to the rule. Although most of the tracks may seem to drag slowly, there is this feeling of accomplishment as the album begins to close. There is an impression of helping a close member of the family work through a hard time in their life , like seeing something through to the end.
There is no shortage of issues tackled throughout this album. “Seeing Black” is an alt-country ditty touching on the matter of suicide wherein Williams’ bluesy lyrics are coupled with Elvis Costello on guitar. She comes out with some serious conviction and lends an emotional progression to the track that helps the listener grasp all the feelings at the surface and those that lie beneath.
Williams takes the feeling of a girl’s heartbreak that has lasted through the ages and lends her twist to it. “Buttercup” has descriptive wordplay that coincides with a woman fed up and kicking her old man out. The song is upbeat and coupled with a sassy guitar and finger-licking good organ, and has a clear “good luck, now get the fuck out” attitude.
As the album’s acoustic namesake, “Blessed” harnesses good old-fashioned country tunes and outlines all the little things in life that are a blessing.
This injects the life lesson of always being thankful for what you have because you never really know what you do until it’s gone. The song is simple in concept but has a slam poet appeal with the repetitive use of “blessed” throughout.
Throughout the album, Williams digs deep in her satchel of low-key vocals and adds them to each track as an extra instrument. What some songs may lack in excitement instrumentally, her lyrics make up for by adding that slow, dripping molasses feel. It’s like there is a moment when that sweet, dark taste is on the tongue.
“Kiss Like Your Kiss” starts out with a faint cello playing quietly in the background and wakes slightly with the strumming of a guitar. Williams’ vocals kick in and wrap the entire song in sadness. It plays out like a heartbroken lullaby sung up to the sky for that missing someone who will never hear it again.
The real standout on the album is “Soldier Song.” It crisscrosses a soldier’s thoughts on the frontline with thoughts back home. When he’s sitting in the guard tower, his mind starts to wander. Williams captures these thoughts perfectly and in a slow and conscious way that brings the listener back and forth from home front to warzone as the soldier is faced with thinking about his family while killing his enemy. When the song draws closer to the end, it sounds like a letter to the widow of this now dead soldier telling his girls why daddy will never come home.
Lucinda Williams has a way with words. She takes the most poignant realities in life and slaps them together with that slurred blues voice of hers and pours it like a finely aged wine. As musicians are cranking out single serving hits to the insatiable masses, it’s good to know there are still a handful of professionals willing to take the time to do things right.
Lucinda Williams – Blessed Tracklist:
- “I Don’t Know How You’re Livin'”
- “Born to Be Loved”
- “Seeing Black”
- “Soldier’s Song”
- “Sweet Love”
- “Ugly Truth”
- “Convince Me”
- “Kiss Like Your Kiss”