Hey, what gives? No pretentious title, cheap cover art? This is the same band right?
Unfortunately, yes. Kowalczyk's lyrics are worse than before, and the production is once again crappy (this time veering towards the dynamic-drained ultra-compressed sound of modern rock). On the upside though, the songs aren't as generic and dull as those on The Distance to Here
- it's spring, so catchy choruses are in again!
But I'll take a moment to mourn the passing of Kowalczyk's sanity. Apparently he now fancies himself to be 'down' with the 'black folk', so he's penned a rap to stick into "Like a Soldier", an otherwise decent track. The lyrics, as printed in the liner notes, are Let's go to Ray's, not to Pizza Hut, let's go to The Pig, not to Starbux, let's vote for Nader, what are we waitin for? I'm gonna live to be a hundred and sixty four. To the crib, then back to the studio to write a song so good make a midget grow from the North Pole down to Mexico. If you don't know the words, fuck it! Let's go!
What the hell does that even mean?
He also wrote another terrible bit of commentary called "The Ride", which features the pithy line In the West we think we're the best. We've shown the whole world that money is all we care for now
. Hey Ed, you're the one who's sold millions of albums, so don't go pointing your finger.
But enough bitching about lame lyrics! The actual music isn't too bad, and sometimes it's even quite good. "Forever May Not Be Long Enough" is especially notable - because it was co-written by Glen Ballard, it doesn't sound like Adult Contemporary mush! Also, "Overcome" is a gorgeous piano ballad, and "Transmit Your Love" overcomes the typically silly lyrics with some nice synth parts. The funked-up "OK?" however, is awful.
That's enough of this crappy band. Thank you for your time Ed, just go free Tibet or something - I'll get my music elsewhere.Rated:
by Reviewer: Cole Reviews
Posted: Tuesday 19th Sep 2017 8:39 PM
A glance through the sleeve notes creates the expectation that - even before I press play - this album is going to be good ...
With songwriters who'd provided some of the finest moments in Alison Krauss & Union Station's output suggests that Lonely Runs Both Ways
is not going to be a radical departure from the band's previous work. And that's good, because the band which defined the sound of contemporary bluegrass raises the bar in acoustic music with every new album.
Robert Lee Castleman - who we have to thank for the exquisite title track from Krauss' Forget About It
album, along with other beauties like "Let Me Touch You for a While" and the Grammy-winning "The Lucky One", provides four of the songs here. Sweet and simple melodies allow Krauss' soaring vocal to deliver those killer lines about love that never quite meets expectations, such as I don't know the answer, but I know who to blame
on "Doesn't Have to be This Way".
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings - who wrote the elegantly heartbreaking closer on Krauss's previous studio album, 2001's New Favorite
- provide another bed for the bittersweet harmonies of Dan Tyminski and Krauss, with "Wouldn't Be So Bad". But this time there's none of that 'special guest' business to disturb proceedings. Even former band member and banjoist Alison Brown doesn't get a look in on the track she co-wrote with Krauss, "This Sad Song".
Perhaps it's the determination not to mess with the chemistry that makes Union Station the tightest band around. A virtuoso fiddle player blessed with uniquely angelic vocals, as a band leader Krauss is a perfectionist who plays to her trusted musicians' strengths. And when she's backed by Barry Bales on bass, dobro ace Jerry Douglas, and guitarist and vocalist Dan Tyminski, why change?
Consequently, all the tracks - whether sprightly bluegrass written by Del McCoury like "Rain Please Go Away", or the old Woody Guthrie favourite "Pastures of Plenty"- have that Union Station stamp that seems to get slicker with every album they put out. Krauss has even put on a posh frock and had her hair done for the cover. Perhaps she's anticipating more awards ceremonies.Rated: no rating
by Reviewer: BBC Music
Posted: Wednesday 20th Sep 2017 6:37 PM