Rahm's and My Pick This Week: Lucinda Williams

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I'm not a Rahm Emanuel stalker, even though it might seem like it based on how frequently I've been referencing him recently (although I couldn't figure out how to fit him into my Justin Bieber post), but he has been consistently presenting himself in a musical way lately.  This past week on WXRT's Chicago Day (is that a real day or did they make it up?), Rahm was interviewed in the XRT studios. 

During that interview, Rahm mentioned that he had read a favorable review of the new Lucinda Williams album, "Blessed", in the Wall Street Journal that morning and was excited to listen to it.  Really, that's where he's getting his information about music these days?  Ironically, I was enjoying the new Lucinda Williams album this week, which demonstrates that he and I are completely in sync musically.  I'm so excited for my appointment to his cabinet in the capacity of Music Expert so that I can advise him directly and he won't have to rely on the WSJ for his reviews!  At the very least I think I would make a great consultant (only on the music I enjoy listening to, of course).

Anyway, if you're at all familiar with Lucinda, you know that she's not usually known for her peppy, chirpy demeanor.  I'm a tiny bit concerned about Rahm listening to such melancholy music when he should really be in a celebratory, can-do frame of mind.  The interesting thing about this album, however, is that the songs still have that same soulful, emotional sound that Lucinda is known for, but if you listen closely to the lyrics they're more positive than they have been in the past.  This (relatively) more upbeat outlook may be attributable, at least in part, to the fact that Lucinda has gotten married within the past couple years and might not have as much gloomy material to work with as she has in the past. 

Lucinda's father was a poet, and she was raised in an environment that she describes as "culturally rich, but economically poor".  As a result, her song lyrics have a very artistic sort of feel to them.  She has a lovely quote that sums up the overriding theme of "Blessed": "I had this image in my mind of how a stranger can affect you, and you them, at the same time. We have this concept that someone who is less fortunate than we are in some way has nothing to offer us, and that's not true at all. Everyone has a gift to give as long as you're willing to accept it, from the girl selling flowers at a Mexican restaurant to the homeless man on the street. It's all about the hope that there's good in humanity if you look for it - which is really the feel of the whole album."  It's definitely the theme of the title track, which was one of my favorites.

This album will not make your pre-party mix, but it is a thoughtful and often beautiful collection of songs that I appreciated more and more as I listened.  The song that struck me most was "Seeing Black", which is actually about questioning a friend's decision to end his life.  Although that obviously sounds depressing, it doesn't come off that way, instead having a more contemplative feel.  Both "Sweet Love" and "Kiss Like Your Kiss" have a very haunting sound to them. 

Enjoy the album all together or sample the tracks for those that strike you.  There are numerous covers to this album, some of which I've included below.  Enjoy!

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