Monday, July 23, 2018

"My Life" by Iris Dement (150 Albums by Women #142)

NPR compiled a list of the 150 greatest albums created by women. I've decided to listen to these albums, from #150 all the way up to #1. But to give myself a bit of forward momentum and have a sense of when I was "done" with each album, my method is to listen to the album one time all the way through, then with each subsequent listen, I'd remove my least favorite. This lets me listen to the best ones most frequently without having to sit through too many that didn't work for me at all.

Album #142 is Iris Dement's "My Life," released in 1992. This is the first country album of this project, and the instant I started playing it I was thankful it wasn't any longer than 10 songs, because country is such a tough thing for me to get into. To my pleasant surprise, there were a few songs I did end up enjoying. Dement's a great songwriter, even if I don't love the style of her music, and there are some great songs, so I was pretty happy with my ending top 5.

5. Easy's Getting Harder Every Day. There are a couple really good sad lines in there. ("We make love and then we kiss goodnight / He rolls over and he's out like a light / But I ain't mad about it, we got nothing to talk about anyway.") Overall it's a longer song and it doesn't catch my attention like some of these others do, but it's a nice one.

4. Calling for You. One of the few that I was drawn to primarily because of its music, rather than just its lyrics. It's a very pretty melody and a very pretty little sad love song.

3. You've Done Nothing Wrong. If nothing else, I want to hunt up some of Dement's other break up songs, because she really knows how to write 'em. This is the second song on the album so it caught my attention early on, and it just kept making me pay attention whenever it came on.

2. My Life. This is one of the more optimistic songs on this album, and I found myself really drawn to the chorus, summing up the good things she's done in life: "I gave joy to my mother / And I made my lover smile / And I can give comfort to my friends when they're hurting / And I can make it seem better for awhile." These understated declarations of positive interactions with others are lovely.

1. No Time to Cry. From my first listen, I was pretty sure this would be my #1. Despite being over six minutes long, it's one of the most heartbreaking songs I've ever heard, just about the sadness of life and having to shoulder on past it. For some reason "There's so many people trying to get me on the phone" broke me a little bit every time. This is a song that's going to stick with me for awhile. I'm glad I got to heard it.

The albums I've listened to thus far in this project, in order:
1. The Roches - The Roches
2. Robyn - Body Talk
3. The Breeders - Last Splash
4. Patty Griffin - Flaming Red
5. Iris Dement - My Life
6. Alicia Keys - Songs in A Minor
7. Oumou Sangaré - Moussolou
8. Terri Lyne Carrington - The Mosaic Project