Little Honey: the Highest-Octane Music of Her Career
Like most folks, Lucinda Williams is happiest when she’s … how to put this delicately … gettin’ some.
She’s spent most of her career mourning men who have wronged her, her bad luck with men and various ways men have let her down. Not that she hasn’t gotten a wealth of excellent material out of it, but let’s not kid ourselves. There’s a point at which you have to wonder just how bad her taste in men is and whether she’s ever going to snap out of it. Add death to that, as in last year’s "West," and you wonder if she’s ever going to be happy.
No more, apparently. In a stable relationship with manager Tom Overby, Williams is suddenly producing the highest-octane music of her career. "Little Honey," out Tuesday cranks out rocker after rocker, including an album closing cover of AC/DC’s "It’s a Long Way to the Top." Gone is most of the moping, replaced with love and lust. Lots of lust. "You squeeze my peaches" she belts on "Real Love," a decent song that I nevertheless wished was a cover of the Mary J. Blige classic of the same name. "Now I got your sweetness/ all up in my hair" she howls on "Honey Bee" — um, thanks for that, Lu.
She calms down a bit on "Plan to Marry," which makes a case for love "when leaders can’t be trusted/ Heroes have let us down." Elvis Costello moans along on "Jailhouse Blues." "Well Well Well" is a leftover from ‘92, while "Circles and X’s" and "Wishes Were Horses" date from the 1980s, when Williams’ slow-burn country-folk was defining what became alt-country.
Especially for a gal who made her bones on being all literary ‘n’ all, her lyrics can scan as lazy by half: see also "Honey bee, I swear/ we make quite a pair" and "You tried to steal my truck but/ that’s not what this is about." Ouch.
The epic "Little Rock Star" cautions the Amy Winehouses and Pete Dohertys of the pop world that their death wish is showing. But most of the time the deaths she’s singing about are the little French kind and that’s a lot more fun.
Recommended: "Wishes Were Horses," "Little Rock Star"