by: leigha stuiso

After a major shift in her life, including a divorce and personal upheaval, Lydia Loveless returns with Daughter, her first album in four years via Honey, You’re Gonna Be Late Records. Across 10 songs, she goes beyond her comfort zone to tell her story through heartfelt lyrics. This is a new side to Loveless, but all a part of her journey. With her unmistakable voice and alt-country sound, Daughter is the cathartic release that’s been trapped inside all along. On the album, Loveless explains, “I felt frustrated with myself for going straight from my tumultuous teen years into a marriage so that I could feel safe, and right when I was getting out of the situation, people around me were settling down and having kids. I felt lost and inexperienced, meanwhile the political landscape was turning even bleaker. Many men were coming around to feminism because they had just had a daughter. I’d see billboards on the side of the road imploring people not to hurt women because they were somebody’s daughter or sister or mother. And I was living as an individual for the first time, and don’t have maternal desires. My family was in turmoil so defining myself as a daughter or sister didn’t give me much comfort.”

Starting the album with “Dead Writer”, Loveless wastes no time getting right into the fallout of her divorce. The track is mellow and the lyrics address the end, which previews the vibe for the rest of the album. The singles “Wringer” and “Love Is Not Enough” have already started to gain praise from fans and critics. The singer-songwriter struggles with conflicting desires on “Can’t Think”, continually building until the end of the track. In working on this album, Loveless found unexpected inspiration in learning new techniques and gear and it shows. “Never” can be traced back to her George Michael phase, built on a foundation of synthesizers. The title track can be described as a meditative song where she reckons how her place in the world is defined. “September” is a somber, piano-led arrangement, featuring cellist Nora Barton and guest vocals from her friend Jane Grace. Finally, “Don’t Bother Mountain”, the longest track on the album, is built on drum machines and keys. Her sound is refined and all of the different elements blend together to create a collection that exhibits the true Lydia Loveless. 

Lydia Loveless has found a new side of herself and it only is up from here, for both her personal and musical journeys. Daughter was recorded at The Loft in Chicago with Tom Schick (Wilco, Mavis Staples, Norah Jones). She has gained an untapped sense of self that shines throughout the album, unable to hide the emotion behind the lyrics. There always is a light at the end of the tunnel, and Daughter is Loveless’ light.

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