Can I Make That A Baker’s Dozen?
Pop Culture Detours – By George McGowan
Hey, remember when I gave you twelve women to listen to in 2018? I made a slight mistake. I meant to list thirteen names – because how in the world could I miss Brandi Carlile? Her latest album, “By the Way, I Forgive You” is amazing. So amazing, it may trump the efforts of all of the other wonderful artists I listed for you in January. I will be shocked if it does not end up on many lists of the best music of 2018 and earns a bucket of Grammy awards. And I must confess. Over the years, I dismissed Brandi Carlile as just another folk/rock/country singer, and no one who would set my world on fire. Wow, I was so wrong.
From start to finish, Brandi’s latest is captivating. She pushes her voice to the limit and ends up in Adele territory. She crafts story songs that would shame Willie. She croons and induces swoons like Elvis.
The centerpiece and first single from the album is “The Joke.” You should immediately search for the video. It is as equally entrancing as the music alone and a perfect encapsulation of the song. In it, she tells the story of the marginalized with great empathy and gives all those who feel a bit different some hope as she sings, “Let ’em live while they can, let ’em spin, let ’em scatter in the wind. I have been to the movies, I’ve seen how it ends, and the joke’s on them.” As Kyle “Trigger” Coroneos writes in SavingCountryMusic.com, “It’s one of those songs that doesn’t just deliver audio enjoyment, it changes people.”
After listening to the album (many, many times), I am still thrilled by each of the songs, but completely in love with “The Mother” since it’s about Carlile’s love for her daughter, Evangeline. Brandi doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges of parenthood but rather celebrates how motherhood has changed her for the better in ways she never anticipated. Her words are better than mine as she sings, “The first things that she took from me were selfishness and sleep. She broke a thousand heirlooms I was never meant to keep. She filled my life with color, canceled plans, and trashed my car. But none of that was ever who we are.”
One of my pastimes (once I have found something in the pop culture that I love) is to see what others think about it. I am constantly reading reviews of films, books and music. I couldn’t say what needs to be said about Brandi Carlile and her triumphant album “By the Way, I Forgive You” better than Walter Tunis of LexGo.com. Tunis writes that “This is the record where all of her narrative steadfastness, all of the country/Americana sensibilities that inform her melodies and all of that gale force singing converge. The results are pretty much atomic.” Take a listen and your ears and your mind will go: “Boom.”by