Whoever said “let’s put the cunt back in country” probably never heard Lucinda Williams’ seventh release. Williams should put the “try” back in country, as in, “try again.”
If you enjoy sipping froth off a double latte-espresso-mocha-quadruple-swirl and tethering your neck with a lavender cashmere shawl while sporting a staple clamped on your right eyebrow – then Lucinda Williams’ smug and mostly taciturn “World Without Tears” should be your cup of joe. The album is as tedious as it is listless. It plods instead of galloping. It yawns instead of guffawing.
The album is not a total wash, however. The lyrics keep the album afloat by dog paddling: They’re good, but the music needs to come through. “Atonement,” “American Dream” and “Sweet Side” have their moments. In “Atonement,” Williams gets her bluesy cadence rambling along sufficiently enough to merit another listen.
The final number, “Words Fell,” churns out a soothing melody in quiet, unpretentious grandeur. Yet it barely redeems the 12 previous tracks that stand precariously close to a teetering cliff during a stampede of 15,000 agitated longhorns. There better be two gurneys waiting outside when you’re through with “World Without Tears”: one for you, and one for the poor stereo that had to endure the distress of spewing dangerously dreadful music.
When Williams prepared to sully the stage at the Bridge School Event, everyone petered out to the exits to snag a cold beer. The disgruntled fans waited for the nittier, grittier country rocker Neil Young to appear. Instead of rockin’ in the free world, “World Without Tears” would more likely be rockin’ Grandmamma to sleep on the easy chair.
[Eliav Appelbaum is more apt to neck tethering with 100% Egyptian cotton. Less chafing, you know.]