Lydia Loveless – “Somewhere Else”

February 23, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  23 Comments



Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to be Lydia Loveless.

Not that Lydia’s parental units have anything to be ashamed of, but the type of unhinged, binge-fueled and bawdy rhetoric Lydia Loveless imbibes in is probably not something any parent has in mind for their little princess while she’s having tea parties at a knee high tables with Queen Piggy and Mr. Frog. Lydia Loveless isn’t just empowered, she’s uninhibited. Subtly and coyness are shades she rarely paints in. Instead she opens her mouth and the truth comes out unfettered, refreshingly honest, and many times, R-rated, revealing her sinful tendencies and struggles with self-admitted inadequacies that sometimes veer her towards self-destructive behavior.

lydia-loveless-somewhere-elseLydia wet our whistles for new music with an EP released late last year called Boy Crazy. Where that project was a fairly lighthearted, hair-twirling affair with a bright yellow cover and devil-may-care attitude, her latest album and second LP from Bloodshot Records Somewhere Else is decidedly a more dark project with moments of real depth not seen before in Lydia’s young career.

The describers for Lydia’s sound out there are all over the place, from a cowpunk princess to an alt-country savant, but I’ve always thought of Lydia solidly in the realm of a garage-like power pop band with many of the earmarks thereof: economical guitar work, potent melodies, and a punk-like attitude that doesn’t sacrifice the prettiness of the music. Despite where you may see the appeal of Lydia’s music reside, you have to search for the country elements.

The one problem with Somewhere Else is that the instrumentation lacks a bit of imagination and diversity, specifically in the guitar work when looking at the project as a whole. It’s just a lot of strumming of chords, calling on many of the same tones throughout the album in songs that seem to hover mostly around the same keys. No specific songs is worth chastising; in fact on their own they each work just fine, and its more a problem of composition than a knock on the band itself. But altogether, the songs tend to bleed into each other and into the songs of the previous EP.

Those specific concerns aside, Lydia Loveless shows great maturity, depth, and diversity in her songwriting that really shines through whatever shortcomings, and makes Somewhere Else a project certainly worthy of your ears.

“Verlaine Shot Rimbaud” about the two famous decadent era poets and their torrid relationship juxtaposed into the complications of a modern relationship is a brilliant little piece of writing.  “Everything’s Gone” is Lydia’s crowning achievement thus far in her career, showing remarkable insight, and delivering a vocal performance that fills as much emotion as humanly possible into the vessel of a story—any more and it would fall apart under its own weight. Both these songs also offer exceptions to the musical diversity issues.

“Wine Lips” is also an enjoyable little tune, and really all of Somewhere Else‘s offerings are embedded with smart little turns and juicy melodies that earworm themselves quite deep. I just wish there wasn’t such a gulf between where Lydia’s writing is, and the sonic palette that she’s pulling from to clothe her tunes. At the same time the young Ohioan is only 23-years-old. She’s got a whole lifetime of music to create, and if Somewhere Else is any indication, it’s going to be productive, fulfilling, and enjoyable.

1 1/2 of 2 guns up.

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23 Comments to “Lydia Loveless – “Somewhere Else””

  • Lydia Loveless has a captivating voice and writes with a candor that few female artists do. While this album may not be revolutionary, it is a solid effort. I’d love to hear her experiment a bit more but I suspect that will come in time.


  • Tell me y’all didn’t hear that name and thought of Patty Loveless


    • nope,…I thought of Linda Lovelace, but hey…different era maybe ;)


      • Great Music too, she sounds just as real “live”!


  • I’ve been hearing “To Love Somebody” on ‘The World Cafe`’ lately — pretty rockin’ track. (I’d also like to mention she does a fun version of Kirsty MacColl’s oft-covered “They Don’t Know.” I love that song!) :)


  • Great news, j’ai hâte d’écouter cet album.


  • Hmmm… a real farm girl that grew up playing instruments. I pastor father that owned a bar. And, Hank III listed as an influence. I like the sound of all that.


  • The two songs posted above remind me of Stevie Nicks, especially her song “Edge of Seventeen”.


  • Listen to her first CD and you won’t have to search for the country elements – she reminded me of a Little Darlin’ era Johnny Paycheck. While the twang that I prefer is largely gone, there is no denying that she is a major talent and this is another fine effort on her behalf. .


  • I’ve listened to the album about 4 times. I’m listening again right now. There is something good in there, but I just can’t get over the poor production and horrendous mix.

    Thematically, I think it could work, if not for the poor sound. But musically, it falls way short.

    After the first time, I can’t listen to the whole album in its entirety. It gets monotonous. Loose, jangly, repetitive guitars. Uninspired bass lines pushed way up in the mix. Nondescript drumming. The vocals pushed back too far in the mix.

    As Eric said above, my first listen through I heard a bit of Stevie Nicks, so there’s that.

    I think she would be great live, but this album, I would not give as many guns up as Trigger.


    • Gotta say, I’m not really hearing a poor mix on this, and wouldn’t say the production is poor beyond maybe the lack of imagination in it. The album doesn’t sound bad, in my opinion, though it may not have top notch production value like a Music Row record.

      As for it being monotonous and having repetitive guitars, or not being able to listen through the music to the message of the songs, these are concerns I can understand with this record.


      • I guess I should not have commented halfway into listening to the album, which is about two songs after I start getting fatigue from it.

        Gave two songs a fresh listen this morning. To clarify a bit, the sound on the record,for me, is too one dimensional with no sense of depth or color. That is what I mean by poor production and/or mix. Not the quality of the sound, but rather the lack of anything textural. It’s all one long, jangly, meandering piece that would make great background music while doing something else. But for listening purposes, it falls short of the mark.

        Which is a shame, because there is some meaning in the lyrics. But, hey, that’s just this guy’s opinion.


        • I like the album and I’m definitely no sound engineer,but every time I listen to it,I find myself wishing I could turn up her mic.


    • For me, the singing is too quiet, but a lot of pop music is mixed that way now. not sure why, if you put work in on your lyrics, don’t you want to make sure they can be heard easily.

      She’s young, high energy, she has a great voice, she’s smart, and has things to say, she writes good melodies, and she’s probably great to see and hear live.

      I like her.


  • Great review. I think Lydia has yet to find her voice and this album is just part of the continuing maturation process with her best music to come. The difference between the EP and album was staggering. I always thought of EPs as previews of forthcoming LPs.
    I was hoping you’d address the song ‘Chis Issak’ in regards to Indestructible Machine’s ‘Steve Earle.’ What’s this tonge-in-cheek pattern about?


    • Yeah, I understand what she’s trying to do here with “Steve Earle” and “Chris Issak” but it came across as somewhat transparent.


    • Chris Isaak got its name because it sounds like a song by him, not because the content of lyrics is like Steve Earle was.


      • Do a little research. “Steve Earle,” is a story/song about a guy who followed Lydia for over a year at all of her local shows. He referred to himself as the, “Steve Earle,” of Columbus. He wanted her to team up with him to form a band with him and that is what the song is about.

        “Chris Isaak,” is a story/song about an old friend/boyfriend who tried to seduce her over the years by playing Chris Isaak songs and serenading her when she and her band would play in his town.

        These are musical stories, they are not veiled attempts at anything.


  • Lydia is a goddess.

    She is probably my favorite female singer-songwriter.

    I agree that this offering isn’t as good as her prior work.

    I would bet that she puts on a great live show and that it is quite a high energy performance.


    • I’ve caught her live show twice. The first time she caught me unexpectadley with her new and different sound at The Nelsonville Music Festival in Ohio…the second time she surprised me by having the same great sound in a small venue. I welcome her musical difference!


  • If I understand correctly Boy Crazy was an EP of songs that she didn’t think fit on this album. It was an awesome EP and one of my favorite releases from last year.

    Having listened to Somewhere Else, I now wish that she included those songs on the album to break up the sonic monotony a little bit. Throw 4 of those tracks on this album and strip out 2. That would be a pretty solid piece of work.


    • Though I hate to second guess an artist’s decisions on how to release their music, I tend to agree. That is why I always frown upon and discourage EP’s. I think it would have been better if she had released all the songs on one album than this EP / LP combination. In my opinion “Boy Crazy” was the best album Loveless has put out, and it will always be diminished in her body of work because it is an EP. I think this release cycle for her was a little over-thought. I think the seriousness she approached “Somewhere Else” caused a more critical eye to be brought to her music, where with “Boy Crazy” you just sat back and enjoyed it.


  • I had the opportunity to delve into quite a bit of music over the weekend. I listened to some pop, some rock, some indie, some americana, some glam, some country.

    I stand by my original post:

    This album has good songs with great lyrics but is horribly produced and mixed. Because of the production and the mix, unfortunately, I don’t think this album stands a chance outside of her hardcore fans. And that’s a shame.

    It’s a hard listen. It takes effort to get to the meat. I like the songs…..in a playlist of about 200. As an album it’s unlistenable except as background music.


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