Most artists who appeal to adult listeners tend to settle into a comfortable niche, but Lucinda Williams refuses to play it safe. Instead, her music stings like an open wound, as she continues to strip away the protective layers from her art's emotional core. Though Williams has long been prized for the naked honesty of her music, this collection is even rawer than its predecessors. From the down-and-dirty bar-band blues of "Atonement" to the Rolling Stones-style swagger of "Bleeding Fingers" to the tricky balance of debasement and transcendence in "Ventura," Williams leaves the nerve endings of her music exposed. With the band opting for first-take immediacy rather than polish, some of the most powerful material is also the neediest, as the singer addresses lovers who have disrespected her ("Righteously") or abandoned her ("Those Three Days," "Minneapolis"). Though her attempts at rap on "Sweet Side" and "American Dream" might cause diehard fans to wince, her willingness to take creative chances reaffirms her position at the vanguard of a rootsy progressivism that transcends musical category. Simply put, there's more Patti Smith in her than there is Patsy Cline. --Don McLeese
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Member CD Reviews
from ATLANTA, GA
Reviewed on 8/15/2010...
Sometimes it is almost embarassing to listen to Lucinda Williams. This stuff is just too honest. This can be painful to listen to, and the pain in enhanced by her hard lived, truly beautiful (yet not pretty at all) voice. This is no "Gravel Road" but it is a deeply moving, very smart album.
from ARNOLD, MD
Reviewed on 6/4/2007...
lucinda williams is an acned siren; she evokes the tender spots of desire that depend on those little stretches of desperation tenderized by isolation and alcohol, and which fade with sobriety and responsibility, or, simply, daylight. harder to evoke than you think.
(countrygal) from SAINT FRANCIS, AR
Reviewed on 4/11/2007...
Did you only want me for those 3 days... and Sweet Side - great stuff on this one.
Raw Female Power
Alastair N. Mcleod | San Diego, California | 11/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of my favorite albums. Ms. Williams has, in my opinion, matured as a poet in the course of her career, and the title song, World Without Tears, is a remarkable piece of lyricism: "If we lived in a world/Without tears...How would broken find the bone?" This is an album about pain, and though that pain is peculiarly female in its quality and expression, I (a male) find it irresistible in its power, and magic in its expression. I cannot resist quoting a phrase from another song, Ventura, which describes the feelings of a lonely, loveless woman looking out at the Pacific at the end of day, searching for solace. "I wanna watch the ocean bend/The edges of the sun in...." Male or female, we've all been there, I guess. Ms. Williams is backed up by a band that can range effortlessly from a lilting country twang to a drawn out acid screech. Some beautiful reverb on a couple of cuts. Complex, intimate lyrics and strong tunes. I have the tour version, which has some salty language, though only a little. But who cares? How do you express this kind of anguish without cursing?"
So honest and beautiful
Barry J. Middlebrook | 12/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a blues album. It's both beautiful and raw and touches that part of you where old flames lie. I find her voice so unique and emotional. It's perfect for the type of music she writes. I don't know about it being "too honest". Sometimes that's the kind of music you want to hear. I love the combination of deep emotional themes coupled with her sexy voice. Great stuff!"